Why Get A Home Inspection?

A home is usually the biggest investment you will ever make. It is in your best interest to make sure you know the true condition of the home. When you buy a car, you always get to test drive it. Not the case with a home purchase. All you get to do is look at it and “kick the tires”. When buying a used car, the smart buyer will take it to be checked out by a qualified mechanic. Consider a HOME INSPECTOR as your qualified mechanic for checking out your future home’s condition.

A HOME INSPECTOR will check out the condition of the structural components, exterior, roofing, plumbing, electrical, heating, insulation and ventilation, air conditioning, and interiors. The home inspection gives the buyer an impartial, physical evaluation of the overall condition of the home and items that need to be repaired or replaced. If the inspector suspects a problem, he will report it to you and may recommend further evaluation by a licensed technician or engineer.

Sound advice when buying a home or a car: Have it checked out by a professional.

Are all of the electrical receptacles properly wired for polarity?
Does the attic space and crawl space have sufficient ventilation?
Is the roof flashed properly?
Will your GFCI receptacles trip at the proper level?
Is your water heater properly connected?
Is your electrical panel properly grounded?
Is there rotted wood on the exterior of the house?
Are your drains properly trapped to prevent sewer gases from entering the house?
Is your fuel burning gas furnace vented properly?
Are there signs of water intrusion?
Do you know the difference between a normal foundation crack and a serious crack that indicates a structural problem with the house?

The process can be stressful. A home inspection is supposed to give you peace of mind, but often has the opposite effect. You will be asked to absorb a lot of information in a short time. This often includes a written report, checklist, photographs, environmental reports, and what the inspector himself says during the inspection. All this combined with the seller’s disclosure and what you notice yourself makes the experience even more overwhelming. What should you do?

Relax. Most of your inspection will be maintenance recommendations, life expectancies and minor imperfections. These are nice to know about. However, the issues that really matter will fall into four categories:

Major defects. An example of this would be a structural failure.
Things that lead to major defects. A small roof-flashing leak, for example.
Things that may hinder your ability to finance, legally occupy, or insure the home.
Safety hazards, such as an exposed, live buss bar at the electric panel.

Anything in these categories should be addressed. Often a serious problem can be corrected inexpensively to protect both life and property (especially in categories 2 and 4).

Most sellers are honest and are often surprised to learn of defects uncovered during an inspection. Realize that sellers are under no obligation to repair everything mentioned in the report. No home is perfect. Keep things in perspective. Don’t kill your deal over things that don’t matter. It is inappropriate to demand that a seller address deferred maintenance, conditions already listed on the seller’s disclosure, or nit-picky items.