The Dreaded Home Inspection

Posted by Robert DeFalco on Tuesday, March 29th, 2016 at 3:21pm.

The home inspection can be one of the most stressful, worrisome parts of a real estate transaction. From the buyer’s end, it’s a question of what will be wrong enough to stand in the way of my dream?! And I’m going to pay for it?

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Yes. And for good reasons.

As they write at REMonline, “It can be tempting to try and save a few dollars and cut out the home inspection step. Maybe you’re considering having a family member take a quick look instead. But buying a home is the single biggest investment most of us will ever make. Isn’t it worth a few extra bucks to protect you and have an independent review of the home?”

The inspection process is your chance to look past the curb appeal and carefully staged rooms to any real problems below the surface. And the inspector is independent, meaning they aren’t getting a commission on the sale and so are basically neutral. They only care about the house.

Think of the inspection as a complete soup-to-nuts physical. The inspector will check for things you may never have thought of, and certainly won’t see on your guided tour. Among the things the inspector will review are:

  • Foundation

  • Structural

  • Plumbing

  • Electrical

  • Insulation

  • Heating/Cooling

  • Appliances

  • Additions/Remodeling

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These are all areas where the average buyer is at an informational disadvantage. You’re far better off to allow the professionals to make the necessary evaluations.

However, there are certain things that a basic inspection will not cover. HuffingtonPost offers a list of things you’ll want to look into that may not be covered as part of your inspection process.

  • Roof - While some inspectors are qualified to evaluate roof conditions, in some cases you may need a separate roof specialist. Check with your chosen inspector before the big day.

  • Chimney - This is another situation where you want a specialist. Hidden damage within the chimney can cause your investment to go up in smoke.

  • Geological - A specialist in geological inspection can tell you whether the home is on a flood plain, or has drainage or subsidence issues.

  • Sewer - Yes, an inspector can tell you whether the toilet flushes and the kitchen sink drains… but a sewer expert can tell you whether you have problems underground, which can be an expensive repair.

  • Termites - This is not part of the general inspection, but is usually required by the mortgage or lending company. And it only makes sense, as termites will literally eat up your investment.

  • Asbestos - Homes built before 1975 can have asbestos in insulation.

  • Non-conforming Use - This inspection does not require a separate specialist but make certain it gets done. This will determine whether any remodeling or additions conform to code and zoning.

  • Mold - While not covered under an average inspection mold is both costly and a potential health hazard.

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So you can see, while the home inspection may be nerve-wracking, it’s a short-term expense to save you long-term costs and heartbreak. Problems found on inspection don’t have to mean the end of your dream home… but it should mean that any issues are corrected before they’re your problems to deal with.

Been through the process and have thoughts you’d like to share? Drop them in the comments!

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Robert DeFalco

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