How To Look At A House

McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of  

site-built, mobile/manufactured and modular homes

The seller gave me a report from a previous home inspection. Should I use it or get my own inspector?

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

At the beginning of a home inspection in Cedar Key a few years ago, the seller, an older woman, met us at the front door with an imperious gaze. “I want you to know that there were only three things wrong with this house,” she stated, before even introducing herself. “And we fixed two of them. Perhaps...perhaps you will be able to find the one we didn’t.”

    Two hours and over 40 defects later, including mold, a roof leak, and multiple electrical safety issues, we were done. The deal was dead, and she stormed out onto the patio, mumbling under her breath, while we packed up to go.

    Sellers have a high regard for their property, even when it is not accurate, and often produce old inspection reports, building permits, magazine clippings, contractor invoices, and before-and-after photos to prove the superior quality of their home. While they are all worth taking the time—and doing the seller the courtesy—of looking at, it should only be a starting point in your investigation.

    The only thing you should take seriously is the condition of the home at the moment you are buying it, which is why we recommend having an inspector that you have hired and paid examine it carefully and issue an up-to-date inspection report. The items the seller provides may prove helpful, based on your review of them, when alerting the inspector to your concerns before the inspection.

    Also see our blog posts What if my home inspector has already inspected the house recently for someone else? and Is a seller responsible to disclose defects found in a previous home inspection to a new buyer? and What are the problems with buying a house sight unseen? and Should I trust the Seller's Property Disclosure Statement?

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  To learn more strategies for getting the best possible home inspection, here’s a few of our other blog posts:

How can I make sure I don't get screwed on my home inspection? 

How thorough is a home inspector required to be when inspecting a house?

Can I do my own home inspection?

How can homebuyers protect themselves against buying a house over a sinkhole? 

    To read about issues related to homes of particular type or one built in a specific decade, visit one of these blog posts:

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1940s house?

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1950s house?

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1960s house?

• What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1970s house?

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1980s house?

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1990s house?

What problems should I look for when buying a country house or rural property? 

What problems should I look for when buying a house that has been moved?

What problems should I look for when buying a house that has been vacant or abandoned?

What are the most common problems with older mobile homes?

What do I need to know about a condo inspection?

What are the "Aging In Place" features to look for when buying a retirement home?

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