Tips to Approach Home Builders and Re-Inspection Services

Tips to Approach Home Builders and Re-Inspection Services

A home re-inspection is a way to prove that defects identified in an inspection report have been properly repaired, that the conditions of the pertinent components or systems now pass muster. This verification home inspection is usually limited to those items specifically negotiated between buyer and seller that were to be corrected prior to closing. Naturally, it only makes sense for the client to hire the same home inspector he used in the first place, for otherwise he would be contracting (and paying) for a second complete inspection. The only real issue is whether or not the inspector charges an extra fee for this service.

The (main) home inspection, now a common contingency placed on real estate purchase contracts, is one of many tools buyers use to protect themselves from getting stuck with a money pit. Buyers are being very picky right now because (a) they can afford to be and (b) there is still a lot of market risk out there. I have had customers who terminated the purchase agreement because of what I considered significant defects but not serious enough to be deal breakers. I expect to see the verification walk-through and re-inspection to be utilized more often in the near future.

What distresses some buyers is that the home inspector is not omniscient and that he may not have the definitive answer to every question that may arise about their prospective new residence. He is a generalist, he does not do invasive testing, and he can’t divine a problem for which there is no evidence in plain sight (or smell). Furthermore, it is a conflict of interest for an inspector to offer to make repairs on defects he calls out (unless a year or more elapses first). So the inspection report often recommends further evaluation and/or repairs to be done by a qualified professional.

Another danger is the (extra) liability an inspector may inadvertently incur. If the seller hires a layman to make repairs, the defect might be fixed in appearance only. Then, when a problem flares up down the road, the client probably won’t be able to go after the layman (who in all likelihood has no financial protection), so he will come after the inspector. For this reason, some home inspectors won’t do re-inspections at all, while others use exclusionary language to minimize liability, such as signing off on the repair only if the seller proves that a professional did the work.

I offer to perform a re-inspection for no additional fee. My choice is predicated on my general agreement about perceived conflict of interest and already-paid-for service. However, I also make it clear to my clients that the re-inspection provides no warranty or guarantee and neither does the original inspection.

For home building services, I suggest using general contractor email list to try the maximum number of options for the best results.


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