The Home Inspection: Cavemen, Home Inspectors, And The Way It’ll Always Be
In prehistoric times, when a family was considering a move to a different cave (Hey… who wants to stay in the same old cave their whole life?), they probably communicated with their cave-dwelling neighbors to get an opinion as to whether or not their new cave was up to par… whether or not their potentially new abode was in satisfactory condition… whether it was prone to leak… or to leave them out in the cold.
There were likely some fellow cavemen that had a bit more experience with the evaluation of caves than others. So, they were sought out to give their opinion even though that opinion might have been delivered through a series of gestures and grunts… since they didn’t have any hand-held PDA’s, touch-screen computers, or highly developed language to convey their thoughts and findings.
And, no doubt, there were various levels of professionalism among the acknowledged and preferred cave assessors that led the cave-dwelling masses to choose one assessor over another in their search for new shelter… some combination of combined experience and ability to effectively communicate (Arghghhh… Urgghh… Hyrpthmblomsit) that separated them from some other creature. It’s the same way today with modern Home Inspectors… although most can communicate in their native dialect and most use computers, some sans the touch-screen, of course. Some are good, some are not so good, and some are, well… pretty darned good.
While a fairly high percentage of most all modern Home Inspectors do a reasonable job of assessing the physical condition of a home, they can be generally divided into 5 categories or types:
- The Nit-Wit Inspector – This is the inspector that advertises the cheapest prices (sometimes referred to a Cheap Charlie) and gives the least value to his clients. They speak as little as possible (perhaps out of necessity), deliver their poor hand-written reports in a week or so after being repeated prompting, and rarely engage in anything approaching a high degree of critical thought process beyond how to get home as quickly as possible. Often, they often have little knowledge or concern about the rules and standards that pertain to their field of work. The Nit-Wit inspector is sort of like the cockroach on the wedding cake… and is best avoided by everyone.
- The Gloved Inspector – This is the inspector who, while perhaps technically competent, has no intention whatsoever of reporting on anything that might damage their chance of future client referrals. They perform the ole’ soft-shoe routine, dancing around any potentially troubling issues, and deliver their candy-coated findings in such a way as to offend nobody at the sometimes partially disguised expense of inferiority. This inspector should be avoided almost as much as the Nit-Wit inspector
- The Alarmist Inspector – This is the inspector who just can’t seem to control themselves when it comes to describing issues. Their description is usually accompanied with flailing arms, a red-faced demeanor along with the occasional emotional fit, and a general tendency to scare the ever-lovin’ bejeebers out of everyone within a three block radius including the home-buyer, the real estate agents, the home-seller, and the guy standing on the corner down the street. Everything’s a disaster just waiting to happen and they’re really eager to be credited for saving someone from certain and impending doom. Be careful with this type of inspector because they may burst into flames at any time
- The Professorial Inspector – This is the inspector who is technically competent, is probably a reasonably effective communicator, and knows what they are supposed to do… but insists on relating, to anyone within earshot, everything they know about everything they’ve ever had the occasion to learn about anything. Sometimes, too much information is, well, too much information. Form your own opinion about this inspector… although, you may actually end up getting a pretty thorough Home Inspection
- The Professional Inspector – Not to be confused with the Professorial Inspector above, this is the inspector that will provide the very best value to their clients even if their clients have to a pay a bit more to get that value. They’ll fully and calmly explain what they are going to do, how they are going to do it, why they’re going to do it a particular way, do it, and then explain what it is that they have done. They’ll welcome client questions and participation, and they’ll understand that the amount of time it takes to inspect the home is time for which the client is providing payment and not the other way around. They won’t participate in alarmist reporting practices. They won’t try to impart a lot of information that is not pertinent to the Home Inspection and the home being evaluated. They’ll be courteous to all those present and they’ll be fair to the home; they won’t inspect or report upon a 100 year old house as if it were somehow expected to be brand new, and they’ll possess a thorough knowledge and understanding of their profession. They’ll be an active member of a national Home Inspectors organization such as the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI).They’ll accurately convey the findings of their inspection, in accordance with their applicable Standards of Practice, in an even-keeled and informational manner while making reasonable and proper recommendations based upon their observations. And, they’ll convey their findings in a good, readily understandable Home Inspection report
Some things never change and so it likely goes with Home Inspectors. Home Inspectors, as with any other types of professional service providers now or as it likely was in the day of the caveman, will vary widely insofar as their knowledge, level of education, communications skills, inspection methodologies, and the delivery/explanation of their findings are concerned; it’s always been that way and it’ll likely always be that way.
For the very best Home Inspection experience, actively seek out a Home Inspector with the demeanor, education, experience, and professionalism that will provide you with the highest level of comfort and confidence.
Urghh… Arguff… Hyrpthmblombsit!