Is It Really Necessary?
Purchasing a home is one of the largest single investments you may ever make. It would be wise to be made aware of any needed or future repairs and maintenance before closing of escrow. Here’s why:
A qualified inspector will perform a visual examination of your home’s systems and components followed by a written report; thus providing you an independent and unbiased opinion of the property’s condition so you can avoid unpleasant surprises afterwards.
The extensive report should provide photos of any identified defect and a summary of findings so that you can review the results with your real estate agent. If any significant defects or safety items are uncovered during the inspection you may want to ask your real estate agent to submit a request for repairs to the seller. The inspection report can help negotiate repairs to be performed by the seller or perhaps a credit towards having the defects repaired by qualified tradesmen after the closing of escrow.
Of course, an inspection will point out all the positive aspects of a building, as well as the type of maintenance to keep it in good shape. After the inspection you will have a much clearer understanding of the property you are about to purchase, and be able to make your decision confidently.
When considering a newly built home to purchase, don’t fall into a false sense of security thinking, “everything is new, so what could possibly be wrong?” The truth is there are often mistakes and oversights during new construction. Here is why:
City inspectors are only required to inspect a representative sample of homes on a street or in a tract. They don’t spend hours of their time at each house looking at every system and component like a professional home inspector does. Also, home builders are under time constraints and deadlines. Often the builder will have sub contractors perform work and installations that can be rushed and incomplete. Finally, materials that sit on a job site or yard during unforeseen delays can deteriorate or develop deficiencies before they are even installed.
Manufacturers of furnaces, air conditioners, water heaters, windows etc. have specific recommendations for how these systems are to be installed. It is not uncommon to find these guidelines disregarded, resulting in premature defects or even worse, damage to the home or occupants!
WHAT IS COVERED IN A HOME INSPECTION?
An inspection is limited in scope and subject to the current conditions of the home at the time of inspection. Contrary to popular belief, inspectors cannot see through walls, flooring or guarantee your roof will not leak. Furniture, personal storage and wall hangings are not disturbed during an inspection.
Here is the accepted definition of a home inspection: A real estate inspection is a survey and basic operation of the systems and components of a building which can be reached, entered, or viewed without difficulty, moving obstructions, or requiring any action which may result in damage to the property or personal injury to the Inspector. The purpose of the inspection is to provide the Client with information regarding the general condition of the building(s). Cosmetic and aesthetic conditions shall not be considered.
It is best to think of an inspector as a general practitioner. If a doctor detects an irregular heartbeat he or she will refer you to a cardiologist. If an inspector finds safety concerns with the electrical system of a home he or she will recommend further review by a qualified and licensed electrician. It is very important to take the inspector’s recommendation to heart and ask for qualified and licensed individuals to perform the evaluations or repairs as further defects or concerns may arise during their focused evaluation.
When researching home inspectors be sure to find a qualified inspector who is certified by a reputable association. CREIA and ASHI are the two leading associations that hold their inspectors to high standards of practice and code of ethics. Don’t shop around for the cheapest inspector. Get the most qualified inspector available and you will sleep well knowing you received the best education about your new home that money can buy!
~Theodore Wilson is the owner and Chief Inspector for Sunset Property Inspections – providing education and peace of mind for home buyers since 2004. (858) 518-6867 www.sunsetpropertyinspection.com