Home Inspections… Just Another Expense?

Congratulations! You’ve found the perfect home, and now it’s time to do the offer and close the deal. If you’re like many people, you may be feeling a cash crunch by this time. You may be wondering why you would want to incur yet another expenditure, such as a home inspection. A valid consideration!

In my experience, a home inspection can do two important things.

Firstly, you will have an unbiased, professional opinion of the overall condition of the home, and an understanding of any areas of concern. You can be made aware of hidden or unrecognizable defects or potential problems in the home.

Secondly and equally important, is the opportunity to have a thorough explanation of how to operate and maintain the home. The inspector can give you a wealth of information about the different types of systems and components in the home. He or she will also cover how each system works, life expectancies, current conditions, and advice that will help you to move in and live more successfully in your new home.

As a purchaser, you can use the inspection as a seminar in home ownership.

10 Tips for Best Value:

Here are some tips on how to get the maximum out of your home inspection:

1. Recognize that from a structural or mechanical point of view there are few, if any, perfect houses. Don’t be disappointed if the inspector indicates numerous items in the house that are in need of repair, maintenance or monitoring. Most of these items will likely be minor in nature. Only a small percentage of homes have significant structural or mechanical deficiencies.

2. Ask questions. If you’re not sure – stop the inspector and ask. Inquire about timing for suggested repairs. Should they be done immediately, or can they wait a month, or a year? This will help you determine your budget more accurately.

3. Ask for possible solutions for any areas that need repair. There’s usually more than one way to make a repair. The more options you have, the better the choices you can make for yourself.

4. A pre-purchase inspection can be used to view the house more objectively. And this can assist you in being more comfortable with your purchase.

5. Realize that the age of the home may have an impact on the condition of the systems and components. However, “older” does not necessarily mean problematic. Many older materials and workmanship are of high quality, and have longer life expectancies than their modern replacements.

6. Do your research and choose an inspection company wisely. Not all companies offer the same services and levels of professionalism.

7. Look for someone who is a professional home inspector. Even an architect or an engineer is not automatically a good home inspector.

8. Inquire about the level of experience of the individual inspector. Finding the symptoms and clues of problems, and deducing their meaning can’t be learned by building new homes, or doing renovations. On-site practical experience is proven to be the best preparation for inspecting resale homes.

9. Look for an inspector or company you feel comfortable with, in terms of their ability to communicate with you. An inspector should be able to empathize with your individual situation – otherwise you may lose a valuable opportunity to learn the most about your new home.

10, Finally, if you can hold that any problems or defects are not something “terribly wrong” with the property and look at them simply from “how much will it cost, in terms of time or money” to correct things – then you’ll have a better, and more objective understanding of the true nature of the situation.

The Bottom Line:

A pre-purchase home inspection won’t eliminate all the risk associated with home ownership. It can however, be a value-added, information gathering process that gives you a better understanding of your new home.