Everyone’s more focused on saving money these days, but one service that can generally pay for itself in terms of savings on home repairs is often overlooked. Most homeowners don’t connect the dots between home maintenance after buying a home and the kind of home inspection that is done during the purchase of that property.
But those who do think about it for a moment and do a simple cost-benefit analysis usually come to the quick conclusion that home inspections are not just for saving buyers from buying a house that’s a lemon. They are only one of the most cost effective ways to ensure that continued home ownership is a manageable task, and that annual home maintenance and repair costs are kept to a minimum.
Here are some examples of how you can take advantage of the services and expertise of a home inspector.
Moisture and Drainage:
• Drainage and moisture are big problems for many homeowners, but most of these issues don’t get noticed until they are serious and repairing them is complicated. But a homeowner can have an inspector look for telltale signs.
• That might include spotting moisture wicking into basements, leaking from overfilled drain pans, being diverted toward the foundation by incorrectly installed or malfunctioning gutters.
• The inspector may also point out curling roof shingles, peeling paint that can lead to wood rot, and improper landscaping strategies.
• Many homes have inadequate circuit breakers, the wrong kind of wiring, overloaded fixtures, and other conditions that can rob of a home of energy or even cause a fire.
• They often have insufficient safety measures due to a lack of GFCI outlets in places where water is present and could cause an electrical shock.
• When electricity is run to the outdoors that presents a different set of circumstances, and oftentimes outdoor wiring is not properly rated or installed for use in the outdoors – which can present safety hazards.
• But a home inspector can check appliances, look at the breaker box, examine visible wiring, and test the outlets and around your home and offer written suggestions for needed repairs or upgrades.
• One of the biggest ways a home inspector can help the homeowner save money is by monitoring energy use or doing a special energy audit to find out how much heat escapes from the home in winter.
• Sometimes the solutions are simple and inexpensive, too, which an inspector can point out if applicable. Wrapping a water heater tank in insulation, fixing leaky plumbing pipes, wrapping hot water pipes with insulation, or using a different type of light fixture or appliance setting can often save hundreds of dollars.
• Meanwhile an inspector is trained to spot minor problems like missing caulk, ineffective weather stripping, or dirty filters and HVAC systems that may benefit from a simple tune-up.
• Then there are those potentially threatening environmental hazards like radon gas, toxic mold, asbestos, or unacceptable levels of formaldehyde or carbon monoxide gas.
• These are often present but the homeowner doesn’t know it, and they impact the health and safety of residents while undermining the market value of the home. Nothing is more valuable than one’s health, so having a skilled environmental inspector check the home can be a really wise investment.
So rather than hiring contractors – whose whole motivation is to find ways to get you to hire them – or trying to go it alone, why not invest a couple of hundred bucks or so (which is comparable to the expense of a single service call or professional repair) to add an experienced home inspector to your team? He or she can offer unbiased but highly trained insight and reporting that can help you control property upkeep costs while preserving home equity and ensuring house performance that contributes to your family’s comfort and quality of life.