When it comes to making one of the largest purchase decisions of your life, it's not difficult to justify the saying "better to be safe than sorry." A professional home inspection is something I strongly recommend with very few exceptions made. Having one done is an inexpensive way to ensure peace of mind, a greater understanding of your home, and can even save you money.
1. Peace of Mind
You've worked hard to find the property of your choice and are about to invest a large portion of your savings into what will be your future home and/or asset. For a small price you can assure that the property is in a healthy state, that all appliances are working as they should, and that there aren't any safety concerns or hazards. All of this is accomplished among the many tests that a professional home inspector will conduct (details of what's involved below).
2. Understanding of Your Home
A typical home inspection takes 2-3 hours. As someone who has participated in many, I always encourage clients to spend the time following the inspector around and soak up as much information from these knowledgeable professionals. In that short amount of time, you will gain a better understanding of how to use some of the less attractive but ever so important aspects of your home. For example, learning where your water shut off valve is and how it works, which switches control what on your electrical box, or even how to perform simple fixes to prevent long term problems can prove to be invaluable in home ownership. As well, good inspectors will provide you with a report on the vitals of your property and an in-depth home maintenance manual.
3. Save Money!
That's right! You can actually save money with a home inspection. On occasion, a home inspector may reveal a flaw in your upcoming purchase, like a faulty dishwasher or an area of drywall that requires fixing. Once in awhile, even larger problems are discovered that could lead to major renovations, such as the need for a new roof. In any of these cases, as a buyer, you have a few options. If the house is under a lot of demand, you may opt to disregard the problems and continue with the purchase as is, doing so having a full understanding of upcoming repairs and maintenance needed. Alternatively, if you have some flexibility and time, you may request a reduction in the purchase price by the amount that a fix would cost. Another option exercised by some buyers is to have the seller replace or repair a problematic item. In any case, the small fee of a home inspection can end up saving you thousands of dollars and future unpleasant surprises.
But I'm only buying a condo...
All of what is said above is applicable to condominiums and townhouses. Beyond the property, an inspector will also investigate the parkade, electrical room, and any other mechanical rooms they are given access to in a building. On top of that, some will even assist in reading engineering reports and strata council meeting minutes to scan for details pertaining to the health of the building.
So what exactly does a home inspector check on?
A professional inspector will perform a thorough investigation on many elements of your home, both visible to the naked eye, and some of the more internal aspects. Utilizing tools including thermal cameras, aerial drones, moisture meters, air quality testers, and more, the following items are typically tested and examined:
- Exterior walls, windows, and doors
- Balconies/decks/patios and railings
- Roof, gutters, chimneys, skylights
- Interior walls, ceilings, and flooring
- Kitchen and bathroom appliances, sinks, faucets, and tubs
- Laundry and other appliances
- Parking garage and lockers/storage areas
- Building/property foundation and structure
- Heating systems and fireplaces
- Electrical and plumbing systems
- Attic ventilation and insulation
- Basement/crawl space
- Swimming pool/hot tub
- Air quality and mold detection
Buying a property involves making significant decisions. Using a licensed home inspector is one of the major safeguards in ensuring you make the right choice. For a recommendation on one of the best home inspectors, I'm always happy to assist.
To learn more about home inspections or anything else in the world of real estate, feel free to email me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All the best,