Home inspection: do you need it?

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home inspection

You are either thinking about buying or selling property. And, wondering what a home inspection is or what do home inspectors do? You’ve come to the right place!

Here are the essentials that you need to know before hiring a home inspector – what questions to ask, what is the need for a home inspection, how it can help you better understand the property.

Home inspection can save you (a lot of) money!

Yes, having a home inspection done before buying a home can save you tonnes of money, by helping you understand the estimated life, wear and tear and the major visible defects in the property. Identifying structural issues that can potentially be devastating to life and the property is a case in point.

Or, imagine this. What would’ve happened the buyer did not look at a possible or a minuscule water leak or moisture intrusion that could’ve created serious damage to the structural integrity of the property?

As they say, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.

An inspection costs a fraction of the money that is spent on buying the property, and is well worth the investment. Also, once the inspection is over, you get a report that has documented every part of your house – good to refer at any time.

Home inspection = visual inspection

As you know, home inspectors have developed a keen eye for spotting defects, which may otherwise be brushed off being a minor issue. Let’s take a simple example of a missing kickout flashing at gutter-ends.

The absence of of kickout flashing can have a detrimental effect on the adjacent walls, with rainwater intrusion. Over a period of time, if left unchecked, it can lead to serious structural concerns.

Or, imagine having paid thousands of dollars and after spending years in a home and finding out cracks in the foundation wall in the basement. The list of such major visible defects keeps getting bigger.

Foundation cracks and home inspection.
All images copyright © 2008-2020 the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, Inc. (InterNACHI).

I’m not trying to scare you or trying to be fatalistic. It’s important to identify major issues at the earliest to possibly repair or replace them so that there’s less cost to the owner. With time, minor defects can become major ones and become considerably costlier.

Home inspectors are generalists

Home inspectors are supposed to visually inspect the following elements of a home:

  • Roof
  • Structure/foundation
  • Exterior wall covering
  • Heating/cooling systems
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical systems
  • Interiors
  • Porches, driveways, decks, if any
  • Windows, doors, vents and chimneys

As you can see, there are a lot of elements to a home inspection. So home inspectors are expected to know the workings of every element of the house and how they all come together in bringing a comfortable, safe living to the occupants. While they might not be technical experts who can solve major defects, they can visually identify active and potential flaws.

Home inspection checklist
All images copyright © 2008-2020 the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, Inc. (InterNACHI).

So in one home inspection, you get the opportunity to identify major and minor flaws of all the above mentioned aspects of a home. Once identified, the owner can evaluate their options, prioritize their maintenance or home repair budgets accordingly.

Get educated about your home

Home inspection is as much about identifying potential defects as about educating yourself about your property. That’s one of the main reasons why we encourage buyers and sellers to be present during the inspection.

Consider your home as living organism, with different organs – it’s own temperature regulator, breathing mechanism, wear and tear due to the environment and so on. As a home owner, isn’t it not important to understand, at least on surface level, of how each of the organs work and they come together to ensure you can continue to focus on your things that matter to you.

Ask your home inspectors a lot of question – they are getting paid to answer all your queries and do a thorough inspection. But just ensure you give them enough space and time to conduct the inspection 🙂

Your home is like a living organism

Knowing how your furnace works and how heat is sent to every room of your home is as important as knowing what year it was manufactured and the usual life expectancy of such models. Also knowing how your home reacts to the environment is important. Things expand on application of heat and contract while in colder temperatures.

How does that affect your structure? How does it affect the life of different aspects of your home? What is the need for insulation and does it affect your electricity bills? A home inspector is best positioned to answer all these or whatever questions you may have.

home inspection furnace
All images copyright © 2008-2020 the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, Inc. (InterNACHI).

Home inspection report: unbiased, neutral opinion

A vast majority of the inspectors are very ethical and provide a professional, unbiased and neutral opinion about the property. You need such an opinion to make an informed decision because a home purchase/sale is the most expensive transaction most of us will do in our lifetime.

A home inspector is a third-party and doesn’t have a stake in the outcome – either the purchase or sale of a property. Yes, a lot of times your realtor suggests a home inspector. You will be able to identify if the home inspector is being genuine, does a thorough inspection and is providing their unbiased opinion during the inspection.

Another tip: do a online search about the home inspector before going ahead. Read the reviews, go through customer testimonials etc.

The contract between you and the home inspector limits the inspector to share the report only with you. The home inspector can share the report with the real estate agent, but ONLY with your consent.

Final words

There’s no doubt that home inspection can possibly help you save a lot of money and headache by helping you identify potential flaws. Not just that, it’s an exercise at educating yourself about your home and helping your prioritize your repair budgets.

If you’ve read this far, I hope the article was of help to you! And, if you’re still searching for a home inspector, you can schedule an inspection with me.

I provide a high-quality and an affordable home inspection for properties across the Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Scarborough, Hamilton, Guelph, Vaughan, Markham, Burlington in Ontario. If you have any queries, doubts or want to contact me, please do so here.

Happy buying or selling 🙂

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