Without fail, nearly all of my home inspection clients tell me the same thing as I’m going over a home’s defects with them. They tell me, “I’m not concerned about the small stuff; I’m just concerned about anything major.” At times, I can’t help but feel like my job should consist of only inspecting what most people consider to be “major” problems (a bowed or collapsing foundation wall, an active roof leak, a major electrical hazard, etc. And my job would certainly be much easier if that were all it entailed! BUT, then I realize how important the so-called “small stuff” has turned out to be to many of those same clients, and I’m reminded of the incredible importance of what we inspectors actually do in providing our clients with a detailed and comprehensive overview before they make such a major and long-term investment.
It’s not until after you’ve moved into a home and started actually living in it that you realize how significant those seemingly “minor” issues can actually be. You may think nothing of a missing handrail at a stairway, until you happen to fall and instinctively reach for a handrail to quickly discover there isn’t one. That slightly misaligned window that won’t quite fully close and seal shut may seem like no big deal, until a bitterly cold day strikes and you’re the victim of a constant and uncomfortably cold draft. Deteriorated caulk in a bathroom may seem like a mere unsightly annoyance until you discover that the underlying wall or floor structure has been slowly rotting away over a long period of time and will now cost a lot of money to repair. The missing lock on a bathroom door may seem like something you can easily put off, until someone accidentally walks in on you while you’re using the bathroom!
The list of supposed “minor” defects goes on and on, but sufficed to say that most people end up actually being far more concerned with the small things than they imagined they would be once they’ve started living in a new home day in and day out. It’s certainly good to focus on defects that are obviously major and that diminish the safety, durability or function of a home; but it’s typically a mistake to ignore the many other defects listed on your home inspection report. They may just prove to be more significant than you anticipated after all!
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