Sunday, November 17, 2019

Inspectors: A Necessary Evil?

If you are buying and/or selling real estate you will come in contact with building inspectors. I'm not talking about the ones from the local government that tell you what you can and cannot do with your own property along who can do it. That is a discussion for another day. We are looking at the inspectors buyers hire to check out a piece or real estate before they commit to closing.

They can be somewhat annoying even when checking out a property you wish to buy but they can be extremelhy helpful. They are the ones who squeeze into crawl spaces under the house and skulk about in attics so I don't have to. In fact, you will not find me creeping around two foot high caverns dodging sewer pipes, air ducts and the usual assortment of critters that populate such environments.

I say annoying because most have a fetish about finding every real and imagined flaw in the property down to cracked swith plates and missing screws that are scheduled to be replaced anyway. I must say that I somewhat solved this problem with an arrangement with an inspector friend of mine when we agreed that he would not give me the book, but would just hit the things I really had to fix. It worked out great. I saved a bit of money and he did not have to document every unimportant detail many of his colleagues thrive on. 

You may wonder why I deal with inspectors when I buy since I seem to have an aversion to their work. The fact is, if I plan to sell the property, I want to know what the next guy is going to ding me for. Which brings us to the question of them being a necessary evil, Here we get a little more philosophical. Nothing that is necessary is evil and nothing evil is necessary... ever!

These guys have saved me some money and they have saved me from buying a money pit. This is why I like to be present when the inspectors are going through a house I am looking to buy. A couple hundred dollars is not a bad price for this and I want to get my money's worth.

When I sell, it is another story. I don't want to be around when my buyer's inspector comes around. I don't want to give the impression that I am colluding with him or intimidating him. (I wouldn't want Adam Schiff or Robert Mueller wasting my time coming after me.) Beyond that, the practice may well keep me out of trouble and preserve the physical well being of the the guy picking apart our completed work... even though, knowing they will be around helps us do better work.

So, like them or not, they are part of the real estate business and since we must deal with them, we may as well understand how the game is played and use them to our best advantage.