Rethink Your Home Inspection
Home inspections are a normal part of the move. If you are selling a house, buying a house, or otherwise interested in the condition of a property, home inspections will absolutely be part of the process. And it makes sense. If you are going to spend a huge amount of money on a purchase that will impact your life for decades, you had better have a pretty good understanding of its condition. With that said, what should you look for in a home inspection? Should you use a general inspector? Or will you be better off hiring professionals for the areas needing inspection?
Traditional Home Inspectors
Traditional home inspectors will come out and review an entire property in just a few hours. In theory, they should examine all of the critical elements of the home. The roof, the foundation, the structural stability, the plumbing, and the electrical systems will nearly always be part of this inspection. However, the quality of the inspection job can vary greatly. Because they are looking at so many different systems in such a short period of time, there is always the possibility that something will be missed. For example, it is quite common for buyers to have a home inspected, have nothing show up on the home inspection as needing replacement, and at the next rainfall discover that they have a leaky roof. This can leave you in serious financial trouble.
Moreover, there are not a whole lot of options for you when this happens. Most inspectors are only liable for the cost of their inspection. If you paid 500 dollars for an inspection, you might potentially get some or all of that back, but a roof repair could easily be 20 times that. SOme home inspectors often do a poor job checking electrical systems as well. In order to do a full assessment of the homes electrical system, a qualified professional will need to spend a good amount of time removing colors, testing voltage, and looking at the wiring of the home. Many home inspectors will simply do a cursory look, perhaps testing one or two elements.
While it can be more expensive, if you really want to get a good idea of the condition of a house, your best bet is to pay several different professionals for their time to come out and do a thorough examination. The additional cost might be a deterrent, but when compared to the cost of the home purchase, this can serve as a great insurance policy. Spending a bit more money now is far preferable to being hit with a huge and unexpected bill later.
Speaking of insurance, if you are looking to purchase homeowners insurance after you move into your new home, their underwriters will want to have a good idea about the condition of the home. They will usually do their own inspection. In this case, it is absolutely in their interest to have a really good idea of how safe your home is. Insurance inspectors can be pickier than generic home inspector, because their companies have huge incentives to be thorough. This means that even if a general inspector says that your wiring is good, you may find that you need to spend thousands of dollars in repairs in order to become insured after moving in. To help prevent this, call a professional and have it done right. Know what you are dealing with.
Therefore, if you are looking to close on a house, make sure that you have done your due diligence in ensuring that you don’t end up regretting your financial decisions. If you have every reason to believe that the house is in great condition, you might be able to get away with a general home inspector. However, if it is an expensive property, or the house is older, it becomes important that you get a real and detailed look at its condition. For an expensive property, the financial risk is greater. Redoing the electrical work on a small house will obviously cost you much less than redoing similar work in a much larger one. Just like any time you gamble, you want the highest expected value from your bet.
Older housed, on the other hand, are rife with problems that might simply get lost in an incomplete or poorly done home inspections. Wiring will wear out, and is frequently not up to code. Generations of ad hoc repairs and amateur attempts to keep the house running can cause serious structural and safety damage. And roofing will always need replacing with time. Anyone who understands the amount of money at stake will realize that if you really want to understand the condition of a specific system in a home, call a professional who works on that system. Whether it is roofing, electrical, plumbing, HVAC, or structural engineering, find a real professional to do the job.