Home Inspection: Worth the Extra Expense?
It’s interesting to see how often clients are willing to commit themselves to a huge mortgage and front up their entire lifesavings for that down payment, but squirm at the thought of spending a few hundred dollars for a final home inspection. While the purse strings have understandably tightened, having a home inspection is crucial to making that last check to ensure that your purchase is a smart one. Should there be any hidden damages or expensive repairs, this is where you may ultimately save yourself some big bucks.
So whether you find your own or use one that your realtor may refer you to, what should you look for in a good home inspector?
1) Experience- While every average Joe who watches enough HGTV can point out poor tile jobs, unhinged doors, and whatever the unsightly, you need a certified inspector who has experience under his/her belt to see beyond what is cosmetic and spot hidden troubles. Don’t be afraid to ask your potential home inspector questions: How many years has he/she been doing this? What did he/she do before becoming a home inspector (Perhaps he/she was a builder and has good knowledge of construction)?
2) Thoroughness- Do expect a detailed written report at the end of the inspection, and for the inspector to come equipped to do the job properly. He/she should have basic items like ladder(s) to get to your roof and up into ceilings, a moisture meter to test for potential moisture behind walls, an electrical reader, etc. After the inspection, should you have any questions, he/she should also be open to answering them and take the time to give you a clear picture of what shape the property is in.
I personally like my clients to arrive to the property near the end of the inspection. This would have given the inspector sufficient time to do his/her due diligence without interruptions, and the client can then have the opportunity to voice any concerns, or go through the report with the inspector in person on the spot.
3) Integrity- A good home inspector should be forthcoming with any repairs or potential hazards, regardless of how disappointing bad news may be. He/she shouldn’t be swayed by the seller or the buying and selling realtor(s) to put the sale through.
A home inspection will be able to reveal potential hazards that may not be apparent at first glance. These can include, but are not limited to, mould/high moisture, lack of insulation and vents, signs of a former grow-op that was not reported, improper electrical lines/water mains/exhausts, or cracks in foundation. If there are easily repairable items, a good realtor should be able to help you go back to the seller to renegotiate repairs or some monetary compensation. Similarly, if there are severe issues with the house or surrounding property, it is better to have the chance of walking away rather than to be committed to a lifetime of nightmarish and expensive repairs. While it may not always be easy to part with the extra dollars for a home inspection after committing to the purchase of a property, in the end, the peace of mind and ability to proactively make decisions on repairs or change in negotiations is worth it. Don’t nickel and dime when it comes doing a final check on one of the biggest transactions that you will make in your lifetime.