From time to time I have home buyers ask me if they should buy the house I am inspecting. In fact, I had an inspection this past week where I was pulled aside before the inspection and asked to please give them (the buyers) an indication prior to completion as to whether the house was a good one or a “dud” and should be avoided.
My response was that she was asking me to do something I could not do and that she should ask her Realtor or an appraiser for that kind of advice. It really is an unfair question. My job is “defect recognition” and home “evaluation”, not home “valuation”. People think that because we (home inspectors) see a lot of houses, we are qualified to comment on the particulars of their deal. While I do feel competent to comment on new construction costs and some repair costs, I cannot comment on a fluctuating used home market and whether a home purchase is a good “deal” or not. There are simply too many factors to consider that I am either not privy to, or, am not exposed to frequently enough to be expert in them.
This does not diminish the importance of having a home inspected by a professional home inspector prior to purchase. You want to know the condition of the property you are considering purchasing before buying it. The true cost of a property is the repairs needed to bring the property up to “average acceptable condition” added to the price you are paying. Then, using your Realtor’s comparison values (prices of comparable “sold” properties), and anticipated future appreciation/depreciation, you can come to an understanding of whether you are making a good investment. It’s more art than science as average acceptable condition is not easy to define, comparison values take some interpretation and who really knows what the housing market is going to do? This is where you have to rely on a good experienced Realtor!