Home inspections get done when you buy a house, right? Everyone should get a home inspection to identify major problems before the closing. The report will help you determine if you can afford the house. What if you learn that within 3 years, the house will need a new roof, furnace and the electrical service isn't up to code? If the cost of these repairs is $16,000 to $20,000, can you afford this along with the mortgage? or do you need to negotiate a lower price with the seller?
Once you own the house, you own any problems and repairs. You might be diligent about basic home maintenance but how do you find hidden problems or plan (save) for replacing major home components? A home inspection every 4 to 6 years is an investment that can save you money so let's figure this out.
Home Inspections are An Investment
Home inspections cost money and save you money by identifying problems early. For example, if you find a window sill that is starting to rot in the corner, and repair it quickly, the cost will be under $100. If you don't find the problem and the hidden moisture travels up the window trim and jambs, replacing the window and rough framing that holds the window in place could cost more than $500. These are extremes but they illustrate the importance of using home inspections to find and correct problems early.
We hope you're maintaining your home to avoid problems, but life happens. With the extreme weather conditions we've experienced the last few years, and the introduction of new construction materials, it's hard to predict how well your home is holding up. That's why we wanted to introduce some of the more helpful home inspections you might want for your house, to help you prioritize home maintenance and repair tasks.
Home Inspections Help Homeowners
- Traditional home inspections – are comprehensive inspections used when buying a home. They cover all major home systems (plumbing, electrical, heating and cooling) as well as your home's exterior and interior. Pre-listing home inspections are also used to find fix problems before prospective buyers start viewing your home.
- Exterior home inspections – can identify problems that may lead to water penetrating your home's exterior envelope and causing damage from wood rot to mold.
- Wood rot and mold home inspections – will identify damage to your house (cosmetic to structural) and health problems from mold caused by elevated moisture levels.
- Home safety reviews – include a wide range of assessments from fire safety (smoke detectors), air quality (carbon monoxide detectors, radon and airborne contaminants), water and septic system testing, filters, etc). You also want to consider the need for senior safety (handrails, grab bars, etc) and child safety (safety locks for mediation and chemicals, adequate pool access controls, etc).
- Home energy audits – identify where you're wasting money heating/cooling your home. This assessment will identify where you need additional insulation, caulking, weatherstripping or other modifications to your home's thermal envelope.
It's easy to get overwhelmed so here are the priorities we recommend with each of our seasonal home maintenance checklists. When picking a home inspector, many states don't require licensing so the next best thing is to find someone who is a member of the American Society of Home Inspectors or the National Association of Home Inspectors. If you have your trusted handyman, ask them to inspect your home (exterior and wood rot are their specialty) at each visit or even better, start your annual home maintenance plan with their inspection to identify projects for the year.
Home inspections are similar to car inspections, except there aren't any police monitoring your diligence. That's because lingering problems with your home only affect your family and friends, not your neighbors!