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THE REPORT

Know What Really Matters

Buying a home can be a stressful process. A home inspection is supposed to give you peace of mind, but often has the opposite effect. You will be asked to absorb a lot of information in a short time. This includes a written report, checklist, photographs, environmental reports and what the inspector himself says during the inspection. All this—combined with the seller's disclosure, and what you notice yourself—makes the experience even more overwhelming. What should you do?

Take a deep breath and relax. Most of your inspection will be maintenance recommendations, life expectancies and minor imperfections. These are nice to know about. However, the issues that really matter will fall into four categories:

  1. Major defects. An example of this would be a structural failure.

  2. Things that lead to major defects. A small roof-flashing leak, for example.

  3. Things that may hinder your ability to finance, legally occupy or insure the home.

  4. Safety hazards, such as an exposed, live buss bar at the electric panel.​


Anything in these categories should be addressed. Often a serious problem can be corrected inexpensively to protect both life and property (especially in categories 2 and 4).


Most sellers are honest and are often surprised to learn of defects uncovered during an inspection. Realize that sellers are under no obligation to repair everything mentioned in the report. No home is perfect, so try to keep things in perspective. It would be a shame to kill your deal over details that don't really matter.