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Richard Mize: Deal killer? An inspector weighs in

by Richard Mize Published: June 14, 2014

Here’s the fourth and final (?) installment of a series that started with my musing over the ups and downs of “deal breaker” and “deal killer” home inspectors, and misunderstandings and disagreements between inspectors and Realtors.

Jack L. Werner of A to Z Inspections, 3625 N McKinley Ave., was the only inspector to weigh in. Knowing him to be meticulous in these kinds of detailed matters, I yield the floor. This is an edited version of his lengthy email:

“Inspectors are REQUIRED by the CIB (Construction Industries Board), our governing agency, to comment on the life expectancy of all appliances. Several inspectors were at the CIB meeting several years ago when this was addressed. Inspectors did NOT want this task, but the attorney representing the CIB explained that we have the responsibility. The language you cited, ‘system is near the end of its expected life span and you may want to budget for replacement ...’ is appropriate.

“As a two-time past president of our state association and an attendee at the specific CIB board meeting addressing ‘Appliances: hot water tanks, dishwashers, heat and air units, etc.,’ I believe it is required.

“Sometimes we try to make things so precise and technically/legally correct instead of simply asking, ‘What is right?’ The buyer is probably making the largest single investment of their life. If the buyer is your son or daughter (remember buying a home and it seemed like you had to scrape together every penny you could find and there were always a few more expenses than you initially thought?), do you really want them buying a house without being told that a $10,000 component works now but, based on its age, you may have to come up with that much money in a year or two?

“Richard, there are two other things I would like to mention here:

“1. I frequently hear inspectors meet with the criticism from real estate agents that ‘that is not part of the contract’ or ‘he does not inspect according to the contract,’ meaning the real estate contract. YES, that is true. We are not part of the real estate contract. We have our own regulations, standards of practice and ethical obligations we should follow.

“The appliance at the end of its useful life is an example; another would be CSST (corrugated stainless steel tubing). Both of these things are mandated/required for inspectors to write up — even if they appear to be working properly and then, guess what: ‘He is not inspecting according to the contract.’ That’s right. We do not. If we did, we would be in violation of the law, regulations and standards of practice set out for home inspectors.

“2. The most professional real estate agents want, welcome, and encourage the most thorough inspection available. Who would not want as detailed, comprehensive analysis as possible on a property that is perhaps the largest single investment they have ever made? A good inspector absolutely and only works for the buyer, not the real estate agent. The bottom end of the bell curve, the least professional real estate agent, wants no inspection or a ‘quickie’ light inspection.

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by Richard Mize
Real Estate Editor
Real estate editor Richard Mize has edited The Oklahoman's weekly residential real estate section and covered housing, commercial real estate, construction, development, finance and related business since 1999. From 1989 to 1999, he worked...
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