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4 Home Inspection Myths

The following appeared in the Boston Globe Magazine special real estate issue on March 14, 2010.

4 Home Inspection Myths As the president of National Home Inspection Service in Newton, Christopher Monahon has conducted some 18,000 home inspections over 30 years. The most common misconception buyers have about the process, he says, is that once the inspection is done, sellers will "pony up the money or fix all the things in the report, including the broken lock on the bedroom door." Most often, they do not.

Other false assumptions include:
1. Home inspections are required for all purchases. Home inspections are not mandatory in Massachusetts, so it's up to the buyers to hire an inspector on their own. Real estate agents are supposed to give buyers a home inspection brochure published by the state consumer affairs office.

2. Agents for the seller can refer buyers to their favorite inspector. Under state law, agents are not supposed to recommend a particular inspector unless they are officially acting as the buyer's agent. In practice, Monahon says, a buyer's agent typically gives buyers a short list of licensed inspectors they've worked with in the past.

3. Home inspectors routinely provide a tally of how much identified repairs will cost. State law prohibits home inspectors from giving cost estimates. Yet the first question Monahon usually hears is, "How much will this cost to fix?" He says he may respond verbally with a ballpark range for something like a new furnace, but avoids venturing a guess on more tricky problems such as mold or water damage.

4. Home inspections always include checks for radon and pests. Actually, the reverse is true. Inspections for radon, pests, lead, and mold usually cost extra and may requiring hiring another professional.

from Boston Globe Magazine issue from 3.14.10.

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