What is a Home Inspection. A typical home inspection is a thorough inspection, documentation and review of a homes current condition. A qualified home inspector inspects, reports and makes recommendations in regards to the homes safety and major systems such as the structure, roof, attic, ventilation, plumbing, electrical, heating/cooling, grading, siding, drainage, and so much more. When you call a home inspector a very good question to ask is "What should I expect if I use your service".
Why are Home Inspectors so popular? The home is the single largest investment most people undertake. The days of living in the same home for a lifetime have long past. Today's average home owner moves every 5 to 7 years and with such a large investment in a short period of time it's critical to buy smart, maintain and hopefully increase value in your real estate holdings. Buyers, sellers and home owners contract home inspectors for different reasons depending on their current roll. (see other questions in this FAQ)
Why are Buyers using Home Inspectors? Today's buyers are simply making more informed and educated decisions to protect their family and investment. The days of viewing a home 2 or 3 times for 20 minutes are long gone. The home inspector helps the buyer take the home on a "test drive" assuring its stability and safety. Buyers who contract home inspectors usually control the negotiation process and make educated investments. These buyers are more likely to profit from their home investment using the knowledge they gained during the home inspection.
Buyers, lenders, and insurance carriers are all concerned with the homes current condition. Lenders now question if a buyer can reasonably afford the mortgage and utilities along with a new roof or furnace or required upgrades. Insurance carriers will not insure a home if it has galvanized plumbing, knob & tube wiring or a low current hydro service, these Insurance concerns have also become a growing concern for Lenders. Un-informed buyers become very disappointed as costly repairs are needed to satisfy their insurance carrier and/or lender.
Buyers normally contract home inspectors after an offer has been excepted by the seller. A clause is written in the purchase agreement as a condition of sale. All conditions must be waived by the seller prior to deadlines or the offer will expire.
Why Are Sellers Using Home Inspectors? Sellers who seek a smoother sale at the highest possible sale price are now contracting a home inspector. These sellers disclose and/or repair possible concerns that buyers may have prior to negotiating the sale price, in this situation the seller maintains control during the negotiation process and helps expedite the sale. These sellers are really saying to potential buyers "Here is the house, here is the home inspection report, we repaired or did not repair these items and this is how much we're asking" creating a win/win situation. Sellers who understand buyers are one step ahead of the competition.
The house I want to buy is only 5 years old!!! Do I really need a Home Inspector? Absolutely, don't let age fool you! A five year old home could easily have a small roof leak that is rotting away a roof truss, remember not all roof leaks are visible within the homes living space and catching these problems early can save you thousands of dollars.
Other areas of concern for newer homes:
Home foundation settlement occurs within the first five years.
Poor landscaping choices will damage the foundation.
Handyman wiring installed by the previous owner.
Lack of maintenance from the previous owner.
Remember: no contractor is perfect, mistakes are made.
Previous Home owners unknowingly make terrible mistakes in efforts to conserve energy, this alone can reduce system life expectancy and create safety hazards to you and your family.
Should I buy a new house? Unfortunately new homes have their fare share of common concerns. All you need to understand is that humans make mistakes (preferably non-intentional). We also need to understand that builders, contractors, sub-contractors and tradesmen all engage in the competitive bidding process. Builders realize that quality may have been sacrificed for cost when poor workmanship is revealed.
Did this happen on my new home?
Am I really getting what I paid for?
Will I un-knowingly make common landscaping errors?
Do I really know how to properly maintain my new home?
If you're uncertain...you should call a qualified home inspector.
My new home comes with a 1 year warranty! Why should I be concerned? A warranty is great if you know what needs to be corrected or fixed. Most home owners only notice cosmetic items. Another concern should be the 1 year warranty itself. You just spent 250,000+ and all you get is a one year warranty??? Doesn't seem reasonable considering you can purchase a 25,000 car with a 5-7 year bumper to bumper warranty. Yes the furnace, A/C, Shingles and windows all have manufacturer warranties however these warranties cover replacement cost only, not labour. These warranties also expire if not properly installed and maintained. All new home owners should contract a qualified home inspector prior to the 1 year anniversary.