The Importance of the Home Inspection

Due diligence: it’s a phrase you hear a lot in real estate. Most agents toss it around, assuming their clients understand the concept. Many don’t.

In a nutshell, due diligence describes the expectation that homebuyers will take the steps necessary to inspect and investigate the property before binding themselves to its purchase.

While there are a number of ways to perform due diligence – reviewing the survey, checking that building permits were issued for any improvements – the most important step of all is that of obtaining a professional home inspection. 

The Idaho Code requires sellers to complete a property condition disclosure form. This form outlines all defects known to the seller. It is up to the buyer, however, to discover if the property has latent defects and that process requires the assistance of a home inspector.

Many homebuyers confuse the appraisal with the home inspection. The appraisal is performed, at the behest of the lender, to determine the home’s current market value. While the appraiser may take measurements and check certain aspects of the home, the process does not replace the home inspection and none of the information gathered is shared with the buyer.

Another common misconception is that the home inspector will find every possible defect in the home. Home inspectors, first of all, aren’t there to look for problems. The inspection is to let you know the condition of the home at the time of the inspection.

Furthermore, inspectors perform a limited examination of only the visible and accessible areas of the home. While the inspector will remove access panels to major systems and perform a visual inspection, he or she will not dismantle anything to find out if there are problems. There is no way he or she can tell you what lies within the walls or under the foundation of the home.

That said, the home inspection will provide you with a great deal of the information you need to make an informed decision about purchasing the home.

There are no state-mandated licensing requirements for home inspectors in Idaho. This makes finding a qualified, experienced inspector quite challenging. Ask those that you interview about their membership in the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) and check with ASHI to ensure the inspector is certified with them. To become certified, an inspector must pass rigorous exams, have a certain number of inspections under their belts and then maintain their certification by attending continuing education classes.

ASHI maintains a database with contact information for their certified Boise area home inspectors.

Feel free to email or call me with any questions about the home inspection process or how to find a local inspector.