Are Home Inspections Necessary?

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decrepit old house
Photo credit: techroyal

Question:

Marsha, I just went into escrow on a 1972 three bedroom two bath home in Goleta. It’s a beautiful remodel. The roof is new and the electrical and plumbing have recently been upgraded. I’d like to save the home inspection cost for other house expenses. My realtor is insisting I get an inspection. What are your thoughts?

Answer:

I empathize with wanting to save money. When you purchase a home it feels as if everyone has their hand out for payment. However, how will you feel if you purchase the home only to discover the electrician, plumber or builder did sub-standard work? Have you heard the saying “penny wise and pound foolish”?

In California, buyers generally have 17 days in which to conduct all the physical inspections they choose. A general all-encompassing inspection will cover the structure, the exterior, electrical, plumbing, roofing and insulation. These systems may not be obvious or even noticed by the buyer. If you aren’t happy with the home’s condition after the inspection, you’re entitled to cancel the contract and receive your deposit back.

Here are some home inspection matters to consider. The first is that you shouldn’t assume a newly constructed or recently upgraded home is in perfect shape. Even though the work was done with permits and complies with all the codes and ordinances, it doesn’t mean a home inspector won’t find a problem. Builders, workers and contractors are human, and mistakes are made.

Another consideration is in choosing your home inspector. You are hiring a professional who will conduct a thorough inspection on one of the biggest investments you may ever make. Get referrals and talk with at least two inspectors. Go online to check references, credentials and customer comments about your potential hire. And of course get your agent’s opinion.

Finally, you and your real estate agent should to be there for the entire inspection. Yes, it will take two or three hours but it will be time well spent. Home inspectors encourage clients to be there. He will systematically perform the inspection and you will spend quality time in your potential new home. When he discovers an issue he’ll call you over and explain the situation. You’ll receive a written report with great photos, but his verbal explanations will defuse misunderstandings and put perspective on his findings.

Make sure you read the full inspection report. Inspections are generally divided into three parts: 1-Items that are serviceable now but need to be monitored, 2-Maintenance and what should be replaced, fixed or serviced and 3-Health and safety issues. If you do decide to continue with the purchase, the report can help you plan out repairs and maintenance that you’ll need over the next few years.

Yes, home inspections cost money, but how much will waiving the inspection cost you? Spend the money now and rest easier in your new home.

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