Have you ever purchased a new home? Hopefully, you got it professionally inspected first—and if you didn’t, then hopefully you didn’t regret it down the road! Generally speaking, home inspections are advised. Simply put, all homes have their problems, sooner or later, but unless you’re a professional inspector or a contractor, you may not be able to identify all of them, or to spot potential warning signs. And please don’t be offended by that! In looking through a potential new home for yourself and your family, you can surely spot plenty of blemishes and imperfections. You can tell whether the house needs a new paint job, and you can look at the water heater tank to see how old it is. However, do you know all the signs of roof wear and tear? Do you know how to spot foundational damage? There are many aspects of home health and integrity that laypeople probably don’t quite know how to spot—but you have every right to know what kind of shape a home is in before you spend money on it. Hence, the home inspection! In getting your home inspection, though, make sure you do things right. In particular, avoid these five common home inspection errors:
- Thinking you don’t need a home inspection. We don’t mean to repeat ourselves, but this is really important: All homes develop problems sooner or later, and not all of them will be visible to the layperson. A home inspection ensures that you’re not blindsided by costly repair needs down the road. And while older homes will typically have more problems, note that even new constructions should be inspected, to make certain the workmanship is solid and that no corners have been cut!
- Hiring an unserious or unprofessional home inspector. Think of your home inspection as a means of protecting your investment. You’re paying a lot of money for the home; the inspection will cost very little, comparatively, yet it could save you from making a terrible decision. As such, it’s wise to pay for an actual, certified, professional home inspector. Don’t settle for your realtor’s best friend or for someone who doesn’t have real home inspecting chops!
- Not attending the home inspection. If at all possible, try to be there for your home inspection. Yes, the inspector will furnish you with a written report, and perhaps even a few photos, to show you what shape the home is in. This may not always be really clear to you, and in some instances you may wish to have a more personal or direct explanation. Go along on the inspection and you can see everything firsthand, asking for context and explanation as necessary.
- Ignoring your inspector’s recommendations. Your home inspector is not trying to trick you. If he or she tells you that there is a major problem and the house is about to collapse, well, that’s probably accurate. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to take the inspector’s word for it, but if your inspection suggests a potentially major problem, you should at least get a second opinion.
- Thinking your home inspector knows all and sees all. Hopefully, your home inspector is professional, knowledgeable, and observant. Your home inspector is not able to look into the future, though—so in many cases, you’re going to have to settle for a best guess. How long will the home’s air conditioning last, or the roof? The inspector can give you an estimate, and it will likely prove fairly accurate—but it’s not a guarantee.
Remember: A home inspection is a way to protect your home investment—so don’t approach it haphazardly!