Demystifying Home Inspections: Insights From Local Inspectors

looking down at two feet and a welcome mat with the word home spelled with a heart


Veronica Theriot
By Veronica Theriot Broker RE/MAX Key Properties

First published in the Source Weekly

Buying a home can be an exciting yet nerve-wracking experience, especially for first-time buyers navigating the labyrinth of real estate transactions.

Among the crucial steps in this process is the home inspection, a pivotal moment that can illuminate both the strengths and weaknesses of your prospective investment. To shed light on this integral aspect of homebuying, we’ve gathered insights from two experienced local home inspectors, Mike Wilson of Central Oregon Inspection Services and John Schwencke of Porch Light Inspections.

Understanding the Role of Home Inspections

One common misconception among buyers is the expectation that sellers are obligated to address all issues uncovered. But Wilson emphasizes the purpose of a home inspection is not to enforce repairs but to provide buyers with a comprehensive understanding of the property’s condition. In Oregon, while recommendations are mandated, there’s no obligation for sellers to undertake repairs beyond ensuring smoke and carbon monoxide alarms meet minimum standards.

According to Wilson, when reviewing inspection reports, buyers should focus on whether significant issues were uncovered that may have influenced their initial offer. If so, negotiations can ensue, but it’s essential to differentiate between minor maintenance tasks and major structural concerns. For instance, while a known issue like a deck in need of refinishing might not warrant seller intervention, discovering a looming roof replacement is a game-changer.

Schwencke emphasizes the impartiality and objectivity of a good home inspection. Home inspectors serve as unbiased observers, identifying whether systems in the house function properly. He reiterated that while they may offer recommendations, they lack the authority to mandate repairs. Their focus lies in determining whether defects compromise safety or functionality.

Ultimately, the overarching goal of home inspections is to equip buyers with comprehensive insights. By understanding the purpose of inspections and addressing concerns surrounding repairs, buyers can navigate the process with confidence.

Concerns Surrounding Repairs

Regarding repairs post-inspection, for Wilson, the question arises: Who will conduct these repairs? He recommends qualified, licensed contractors to ensure proper execution and address any unforeseen issues.

A recurring issue is homeowners attempting repairs beyond their expertise. Not all repairs are suited for DIY attempts, and involving professionals ensures safety and quality standards are upheld. Additionally, disparities between inspection reports and repair requests can create ambiguity, potentially resulting in inadequate resolutions. It’s crucial to articulate repair needs clearly.

“When it comes to real estate, we are not code compliance inspectors,” says Schwencke. “The building code is not retroactive and considered the minimum for modern construction. My main concern when I see a house defect is, ‘Does it serve its intended purpose?’ Porch Light works by the standard that if the item is potentially unsafe, doesn’t function properly or could prematurely fail, then it is documented for our clients’ knowledge.”

By understanding the purpose of inspections and addressing concerns surrounding repairs, buyers can navigate the process with confidence.