DO I NEED A HOME INSPECTION ?
Charlotte, NC- I am purchasing a new home and have had mixed reviews on what a home inspection entails and whether or not it is worth the money. Do I need a Home Inspection ? What are the pros and cons of getting an inspection?
You bring up a valid concern, and one that Home Inspectors hear often. First, let me emphasize that the purpose of a home inspection is simply to have a better snapshot of what could potentially be the biggest investment you will ever make. It is easy to fall in love with the home of your dreams only to discover that there is more to a real estate transaction than love at first sight.
The process of purchasing a new home encompasses a number of tedious steps that can not only be time consuming and stressful, but can also be costly. Look at each step as an investment. You hire a Realtor who is skilled in all the facets of a real estate transaction for both a Buyer and/or a Seller. If you have little or no experience in handling real estate or high dollar business transactions, you are best served to hire a Real Estate Professional. Selecting the right Realtor for your needs can be a time and money saver.
Much like choosing an expert in the area of Real Estate, you may also want to consider how to educate yourself on your potential purchase. You have limited exposure, so why not hire a licensed Home Inspector? Here are several components of a home, townhome or condominium that may be in need of attention that may appear to be in good health at first glance but may not function as intended once the ink has dried after closing:
The HVAC Unit- Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning is the technology of indoor environmental comfort. Its goal is to provide thermal cooling and acceptable indoor air quality. HVAC system design is a subdiscipline of mechanical engineering, based on the principles of thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, and heat transfer. HVAC systems can be one of the most costly repairs a Homeowner ever encounters. Before making a home purchase, you may consider having the unit looked at in order to assess whether or not it is in good working order. A professional licensed Home Inspector is a Generalist, and trained to recognize if systems and appliances are functioning as intended.
Appliances- Does the dishwasher appear to be in good working order? How about the stove and/or the oven? Does that built in microwave heat properly? What about the refrigerator the Sellers included? No better way to find out if these items are functioning properly than to hire an Expert in this area. A Home Inspector can test these items to see if they perform as expected, and even offer to do a recall check which allows the purchaser to be notified if an appliance is under a recall.
Roofing System- A roofing system is not only designed to protect the interior from the elements, but also serves as a system to allow ventilation in the summer months. To properly inspect a roof and attic system for any possible deficiencies, you can hire a roofing professional or you can save money by using the same person who has inspected all the other working components of your home, that’s right a Licensed Home Inspector. A number of observations regarding the roof and attic can be made that may serve to educate the potential Buyer.
Plumbing- As an educated Buyer, it is wise to have the plumbing inspected before you close the deal. You can inspect the plumbing system yourself if you know what to look for, but ask yourself honestly if you have the time and the knowledge. At this point, you should be well aware to not take everything at face value, especially when it comes to a major purchase like a home – doing so can make you end up spending a good deal of money later on down the road when you discover problems within the plumbing system. Many sellers are motivated to get rid of their real estate right now, which makes pointing out any big problems that you find all the more important.
There are a number of additional components to a home that need to be examined. Here is a general summary of what should be included:
- Structural componentsincluding foundation and framing of the home.
- Exterior featuresincluding siding, soffit, porches, balconies, walkways, railings and driveways.
- Roof systemincluding shingles, flashing and skylights.
- Electrical systemincluding service panels, breakers and fuses.
- Plumbing systemsincluding pipes, drains, water heating equipment and sump pumps.
- Heating systemincluding equipment and venting.
- Cooling systemincluding energy sources and distribution equipment.
- Interior featuresincluding walls, ceilings, floors, windows, doors, stairs and railings.
- Insulation and ventilationincluding those in the attic and other unfinished spaces.
- Fireplacesincluding chimneys and vents.
These are the Pros of having an inspection. Gaining the peace of mind in knowing what you are purchasing. Sure there will be issues that need to be addressed, but educating yourself can result in avoiding a huge financial mistake or giving you an opportunity to raise these concerns which may ultimately benefit you at the closing table.
As Licensed Home Inspector, of course I am in favor of what our industry has to offer. As far as the Cons, I can only speak to concerns that I hear which usually come down to one thing….money.
“How much will a home inspection cost me?”
“If you aren’t a licensed Contractor, or HVAC Technician, or a Plumber, how do I know that I can trust what you are telling me?”
“I don’t want to complicate the real estate transaction and lose my dream home.”
These are common concerns but they are also the telltale signs of what can ultimately result in Buyers Remorse. Have you ever purchased a car and once the honeymoon was over you had second thoughts or regret that you didn’t give more thought before signing the deal?
Let’s first go over the cost. In general, a home inspection may cost anywhere from $300-$600. This may vary on a number of factors which include:
- How old is the home?
- How many total square feet?
- Does the inspection include a radon test?
- Does the Home Inspection include a Termite Inspection?
- Does the home have a crawl space, basement or a slab?
These are all factors that may affect the cost of an inspection. A bigger concern than the cost of an inspection might be “what will it cost me if I don’t have an inspection?”
As far as the credentials of a Home Inspector, keep in mind that their role is to be a Generalist. With knowledge of all these components, their job is to determine whether or not these items function as intended. An Inspector is not expected to determine the life expectancy, the cause of any damage or to recognize what is up to code, but rather to give you some clarity as to what you may want to know before you go to closing. You can spend thousands of dollars to have an HVAC Technician, A Licensed Plumber, a General Contractor etc. to come out to look over the entire home. Again, I can’t emphasize enough how you can save money now and in the future by utilizing the services of an Inspector.
If your biggest concern is losing your dream home because you can’t get to closing quick enough it may be time to stop and take a deep breath to reevaluate the process. When the market is hot you can easily overlook some things in order to expedite the process and be done. There should be no outside influences by which you could hasten your decision making process, this includes interest rates, a Realtor, or any of the other factors which come into play. Be wise in your decision and educate yourself on your choices and options.
Purchasing a new home can be one of the most exciting and memorable purchases you will ever make. It is guaranteed to be challenging, a learning process and an opportunity for growth. By using a Realtor and hiring a Licensed Home Inspector you can have the confidence in your decision by utilizing their knowledge and purchasing what could result in many years of wonderful memories.
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