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29
Mar

To Inspect or Not to Inspect

questionIn today’s market, some buyers are wondering if they need a home inspection.  Even when a buyer purchases a house “as is”, there are good reasons to have a home inspection.  Below, I will consider several reasons:

  • Safety:

I have remodeled, built and inspected homes in our community for over 30 years.  I am convinced the practice of inspecting homes when they switch ownership has improved their safety.  (Prior to the relatively new practice of home inspections, there were no inspections of properties on a regular basis).

Natural gas leaks in our homes are an obvious safety concern.  Four months ago, I inspected a 40-some year-old house.  The main gas line to the house was under the front stoop- which had a minor leak to the area below.  Upon inspection, I noticed the gas line (located in a dark, cold storage area of this home) was so rusted that I advised the seller to contact MUD immediately.  I was afraid to touch this line, it was so corroded!

There are also possible electrical issues- including compromised electrical panels, improper wire splices, damaged electrical wire, etc.  Again, these issues are not obvious to many home owners.   Many inspections find improper electrical issues- some major, some minor (if there is such a thing as a minor safety concern)!

  • Investment:

Homes are the biggest investment most people will ever make.  That is why it is so important for the buyer to know what they are getting themselves in to!  Large, expensive repairs- such as roofs and structural issues should be prepared for as much as possible.

Weather-damaged roofs leak, need replacement and are not insurable.  As an experienced inspector, I cannot determine the condition of the roof unless I see it up close.  Buyers need to know if their roof will be insurable or they might be putting on a new roof several months after they purchase the home. (Again, there is not an automatic inspection of the roof by the insurance company at the point of sale.  Often, insurance companies only inspect a roof weeks or months after the buyer moves into the property to verify its insurability).

Un-recognized structural issues could be another costly addition to the investment of a home.  An experienced inspector knows the difference between hair line cracks that are normal and cracks or differential movement that points to possible costly repairs to stabilize the property.

  • Maintenance Issues:

A thorough home inspection will include suggestions on how to keep this major investment in good condition while maintaining its value.  Several suggestions often made are:

-Keeping parts of the exterior that are starting to age or wear caulked, sealed and painted

-Talking about the importance of directing surface water at foundation and surface concrete

-The importance of maintaining major appliances


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