(中文版)

当您在验屋之后发现房子还有问题,您会对验屋感到烦恼和失望。


阶段性或隐蔽性问题

房子的有些问题只有您在入住之后才会被发现,而在短短几个小时的验屋过程中不可能被发现。比如:有的淋浴房只有在人们站在里面冲淋时才漏水,而如果仅仅是打开龙头测试就不漏;有的屋顶和地下室也只有在特定的情况存在下才会漏水;有些问题当只有把地毯掀起,挪走家具,或装修拆掉后才能发现。


无迹象

有些问题可能在验屋的时候已经存在了,但没有任何迹象表明它们的存在。验屋师的检查是基于研判房屋过去已发生的表象。如果已有的问题没有迹象可循,要验屋师预测将来发生的问题,未免有些不切实际。


遗漏一些小问题

有人认为我们在报告中没有提及所有的小问题,会遗漏一些,缺乏一致性。需要说明的是,我们在查找重大房屋问题的同时,会留心发现一些小问题,出于友好,在报告中提及它们。验屋的目的并非去找出只有200元费用以内的问题,而是试图查找到花费2000元或更大的问题。这些才真正影响人们是否决定买这套房子的缘由。


承包商的建议

对验屋师的不满评价主要来源于客户听从了那些承包商的意见。因为承包商的出发点和我们验屋师是完全不一样的。如果我们说这个屋顶只需小小的维修保养就可以再维持几年时,您不必惊讶会碰到三个屋顶承包商都说您的屋顶一定要换掉才行。


“最后一人”观念

尽管我们验屋师给您的的建议是最优的省时省钱的举措,许多承包商仍不情愿认同去做这样的维修。这是因为“最后一人”的思想在作祟。他们担心自己是动到屋顶的最后一个人,如果屋顶漏了,无论这种漏水是他们过错导致与否,都会被扣上担责任的帽子。因此他们不愿意只是小小的维修一下而担负这么大的责任风险,而是,愿意翻新整个屋顶,赚到更多的钱并减少被追究责任的可能。当然这是可以理解的。


最新建议为优

这种观念比刚刚提及的“最后一人”更为普遍。作为业主,自然而然会相信最后一个“专家”的意见,即便这意见与之前他人的完全相反。作为验屋师,我们不幸成为这一堆人当中的“第一人”,结果则是我们的意见常被后来者否定。


为何我们没发现这些问题

承包商们或许会说“我简直不能相信您的房子做过检查,居然连这个问题都没发现”。但您看了以下的解释,就清楚其实他们言重了:


1.验屋时的情形

业主很难记得清当初验屋时的情形,没几个业主能记得那时正下着雪,地下室到处堆着东西,或者那时正开着制冷空调而无法调试供暖系统,等等。承包商们当然更无从知晓验屋时的情形。


2.事后诸葛亮

当问题已经显现出来,谁都会一清二楚。当您看到地上积了2吋的水,谁都会知道地下室漏水。但预见一个问题的存在,则完全是两码事了。


3.长时间检查

如果我们花半个小时在厨房水池下看,或花45分钟来拆卸供暖炉,我们会发现更多存在的问题。但事实上如果真这样查法,验屋可能要花上几天时间,那验屋费,可想而知有多贵了。


4.我们是通才

我们是通才,而非专才。供暖承包商要比我们在查供暖系统上更专业一些。


5.侵入式查看

有些问题在掀开地毯,去掉墙板,移开柜子或设备后,很容易被发现。但验屋是一个肉眼观察的过程,我们不会进行破坏性或侵入式的测试。


并非保险

总之,验屋是帮助您提高买到好房子的几率,而非帮您消除所有风险。因而,您不要把验屋当成一项保险。保险公司房屋保险,那种无免赔额、无限责任、无期限的那种业务收取的保费要比验屋费用大得多了。况且还不会包括验屋带来的附加值。


以上内容,供您查悉。

(请往下翻,参见英文原版)



When Things Go Wrong After the Inspection


There may come a time that you discover something wrong with the house, and you may be upset or disappointed with your home inspection.


Intermittent or Concealed Problems

Some problems can only be discovered by living in a house. They cannot be discovered during the few hours of a home inspection. For example, some shower stalls leak when people are in the shower, but do not leak when you simply turn on the tap. Some roofs and basements only leak when specific conditions exist. Some problems will only be discovered when carpets are lifted, furniture is moved or finishes are removed.


No Clues

These problems may have existed at the time of the inspection but there were no clues as to their existence. Our inspections are based on the past performance of the house. If there are no clues of a past problem, it is unfair to assume we should foresee a future problem.


We Always Miss Some Minor Things

Some say we are inconsistent because our reports identify some minor problems but not others. The minor problems that are identified were discovered while looking for more significant problems. We note them simply as a courtesy. The intent of the inspection is not to find the $200 problems; it is to find the $2,000 problems. These are the things that affect people's decisions to purchase.


Contractors' Advice

The main source of dissatisfaction with home inspectors comes from comments made by contractors. Contractors' opinions often differ from ours. Don't be surprised when three roofers all say the roof needs replacement when we said that, with some minor repairs, the roof will last a few more years.


Last Man In Theory

While our advice represents the most prudent thing to do, many contractors are reluctant to undertake these repairs. This is because of the "Last Man In Theory". The contractor fears that if he is the last person to work on the roof, he will get blamed if the roof leaks, regardless of whether the roof leak is his fault or not. Consequently, he won't want to do a minor repair with high liability when he could re-roof the entire house for more money and reduce the likelihood of a callback. This is understandable.


Most Recent Advice Is Best

There is more to the "Last Man In Theory". It suggests that it is human nature for homeowners to believe the last bit of "expert" advice they receive, even if it is contrary to previous advice. As home inspectors, we unfortunately find ourselves in the position of "First Man In" and consequently it is our advice that is often disbelieved.


Why Didn't We See It

Contractors may say "I can't believe you had this house inspected, and they didn't find this problem". There are several reasons for these apparent oversights:


1. Conditions During Inspection

It is difficult for homeowners to remember the circumstances in the house, at the time of the inspection. Homeowners seldom remember that it was snowing, there was storage everywhere in the basement or that the furnace could not be turned on because the air conditioning was operating, et cetera. It's impossible for contractors to know what the circumstances were when the inspection was performed.


2. The Wisdom Of Hindsight

When the problem manifests itself, it is very easy to have 20/20 hindsight. Anybody can say that the basement is wet when there is 2 inches of water on the floor. Predicting the problem is a different story.


3. A Long Look

If we spent 1/2 an hour under the kitchen sink or 45 minutes disassembling the furnace, we'd find more problems too. Unfortunately, the inspection would take several days and would cost considerably more.


4. We're Generalists

We are generalists; we are not specialists. The heating contractor may indeed have more heating expertise than we do.

5. An Invasive Look

Problems often become apparent when carpets or plaster are removed, when fixtures or cabinets are pulled out, and so on. A home inspection is a visual examination. We don't perform any invasive or destructive tests.


Not Insurance

In conclusion, a home inspection is designed to better your odds. It is not designed to eliminate all risk. For that reason, a home inspection should not be considered an insurance policy. The premium that an insurance company would have to charge for a policy with no deductible, no limit and an indefinite policy period would be considerably more than the fee we charge. It would also not include the value added by the inspection.


We hope this is food for thought.