August 24, 2010

Home Inspections: One of the better values in the real estate industry.

Filed under: Property Inspection — Chuck @ 1:05 pm

While the prices of homes and the availability of mortgages have fluctuated wildly within the past decade, the value of home inspections has remained a solidly reliable and affordable investment. Without the helpful expertise of licensed and trained home inspectors sellers would have much too little guidance when negotiating repair allowances and buyers would likewise be in the dark regarding the condition of the houses they tour when shopping for a home.

The most common type of buyer-ordered inspection is the “limited visual inspection,” which takes approximately two to four hours to complete – depending upon the overall condition of the house, its size, and its age. This type of inspection generally costs between $200 and $800 – again depending on the size and nature of the structure. The inspector looks at the various components and systems in the home such as the appliances, electrical outlets, heating and air conditioning units, and the roof and foundation.

He or she will study the general condition of these items and others in order to determine whether or not they are performing the job they are intended to do. An inspector will turn on the kitchen oven, for example, and check to see if it heats up properly. He or she will make sure the dishwasher cycles as it should, and that the electrical outlets near the sink are rated for safe use near water. If the inspector sees evidence of a more serious problem – such as improper gas connections or inappropriate wiring – then that will be noted in the inspection report and it will be recommended that an appropriately skilled contractor be called in to fix the problem or at least bid on the cost of repairs or upgrades.

If the inspector is able to see that roof shingles are missing, for example, he or she will then look closer for any signs of water damage coming through the attic, walls, or ceilings. Likewise when telltale cracks that are signs of structural shifting or settling are discovered in the brickwork or around doors and windows, the inspector will point these out in the report so that a prospective buyer can have a foundation contractor or structural engineer take a closer look, if so recommended by the home inspector.

The buyer also has the option to order a more comprehensive inspection. This is often done before buying a home with more complex systems or features such as fire suppression systems, or elevators that also fall under special regulatory guidelines. A comprehensive inspection can also be technically exhaustive, as well as invasive to the point of some minor destructive testing. The buyer may also hire a specific type of inspector to follow-up on recommendations made by the home inspector who is a “generalist”. If the home inspection report mentions symptoms of termite infestation, for example, the homeowner can bring in a termite inspector. In the event that there is insulation material that resembles asbestos or mold that could potentially be toxic, the general inspection report may urge the homeowner to contact a licensed environmental inspector for a more exhaustive investigation.

By taking advantage of the services provided by home inspectors, in other words, a buyer can gain insight into issues of concern that might otherwise go unnoticed. The relatively minor problem of peeling paint might be ignored as merely aesthetic or cosmetic, for instance, and postponed for a few years until the homeowner is ready to repaint the house. But an experienced inspector may point out that the paint could be peeling because it is made of toxic lead that could easily sicken small children. An environmental inspector can come to the home, test for lead, and give the homeowner a conclusive answer.

Similarly, a homeowner could be frightened by the presence of what looks like wood devouring insects but an inspector might realize that they are a different species that poses no real threat to the home. Or a homeowner may see scorch marks on an electrical outlet, which normally indicates faulty wiring. An electrical inspector can use professional instruments to determine whether it is actually faulty wiring that might cost thousands to remedy – or if it is instead just an old faceplate which can be replaced with a new one for the cost of one or two dollars.

So while the price of a home inspection represents just a fraction of the cost of the home, it can potentially save a buyer from making a terribly expensive mistake and purchasing a “lemon.” Inspections can also help buyers avoid the error of passing up a perfectly good house due to unwarranted fears or concerns. Regardless of what kind of home it is or what the overall real estate market may be doing, home inspections are well worth a small investment because they offer invaluable assistance to both buyers and sellers.

1 Comment

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    Pingback by Mold Remediation Contractors » Blog Archive » Home Inspections: One of the better values in real estate … — August 24, 2010 @ 7:54 pm

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