I have a friend of mine who was a head chef at one of the top resorts here in Las Vegas. A few years ago he decided he had enough of the corporate way of life. He moved into a small beach house in Pacific Beach in San Diego and opened up a gourmet food truck. I admire him a lot, not only for chasing his dreams but for actually attaining his dream. We were discussing his venture when he told me, “It’s nothing like the food truck that you see on reality TV. People think what they see on reality TV shows is real and nothing could be further from reality.”
I can completely relate. I have a similar problem. Many home buyers believe that what a certain home inspector (Holmes on Homes) does on reality TV is what they can expect when they have their home inspection performed. What they don’t make clear on TV is that Mr. Holmes performs intrusive / destructive investigations.
He performs these services for the home buyer who has given him permission to make holes in the walls and ceilings, tear off siding, etc… A Real Estate home inspection is a non-destructive, visual inspection. Here, in Las Vegas, home inspectors are forbidden- by law from damaging any surface in the conduct of their inspections. Could you imaging a Real Estate home inspector walking into a home and start tearing out sections of the wall? The Seller would come unglued!
There are two types of defects that exist in homes: patent defects and latent defects. Patent defects are visible, latent defects are those defects that are hidden from view. The scope of service for a Real Estate home inspector excludes any potential latent defects that may exist. It is beyond the Real Estate Inspector’s ability to discover latent defects. Advanced equipment such as infrared thermal imaging can increase the potential for a diligent inspector to discover latent issues but it cannot be guaranteed.
When a home buyer believes that their Real Estate inspector should find everything the inspector on TV would find it creates an unrealistic expectation where disappointment is sure to follow. More than just causing disappointment an unrealistic expectation of the home buyer can wreak havoc on a real estate transaction and cause a buyer to walk away from a home that they loved enough to submit an offer to purchase.
It behooves real estate agents to take the time to sit down with their home buyers and discuss the scope of the inspection and the differences between deferred maintenance issues and issues of greater significance. The buyer should be aware of the limitations involved and know what is included in the inspection and (equally as important) what is not reviewed in the scope of the service.
Setting realistic expectations in the home buyer will not only benefit the home buyer but all other parties to the transaction.