Sunday, May 3, 2015

Are Home Inspections a Good Idea?

Turns out 20% of homeowners consider their home unhealthy according to Healthy Home Study conducted by Houzz.  A home inspection might help you find out if your new home is healthy before you buy it.

Home inspections are required on some loan types, but not all. However, it’s always a good idea to get a home inspection.  If you’re buying a house that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars, why wouldn’t you spend $400-$500 on a home inspection?

What’s a Home Inspection?

A home inspection is a detailed and thorough examination of the structure and mechanical systems of the property to determine quality, as well as soundness and safety. The purpose of a home inspection is to inform the potential homebuyer of any repairs that may be needed. The homebuyer generally pays home inspection fees. In addition to the basic home inspection, there are additional inspections that you may choose to have, such as a pest inspection or a 4-point inspection. Home inspections have come a long way— now they have thermal imaging, moisture detection equipment, and lots of other technical innovations to find hidden issues. Home inspections are not the same as a home appraisal.

VA and FHA Loans Both Require Home Inspections, But…

Home Inspections are not required for all loan types.  I strongly suggest that you have a home inspection for your protection.  Don’t you want to know what you’re getting yourself info?  Whether it’s an “unhealthy” home or a $200 repair or a $15,000 new roof, you should have this information before your purchase the home.  I think that $500 is money well spent on a home inspection.  You might feel that you are so in love with a home you are prepared to deal with whatever needs to be done. You might be thinking “whatever” could be $5,500.  What if it’s $55,000? Ouch!

My lender requires an appraisal.  Why do I need a Home Inspection too?

The appraisal does NOT take the place of a home inspection.  A home inspection is NOT an appraisal.  The two are completely different.  They are completed by different professionals with different credentials. An appraisal uses sales of like comparable properties to estimate the value of the home.  It does not examine in detail the systems and components of the home.  A home inspector will evaluate the roof, HVAC, plumbing, electrical, foundation, framing, insulation, ventilation, walls, ceilings, floors, step, stairways, railings, garage doors, and a representative amount of doors and windows.
For a complete list of what to expect and what not to expect your home inspector to examine, check out the ASHI standards of practice and code of ethics at their website:

Not all home inspectors are created equal. Some will eyeball the roof from the ground, some will get up on a ladder and walk around to inspect the roof. Some will use infrared technology and camera scopes. Some include a mold screening, a moisture analysis, and, a sinkhole report. Some will charge extra for a WDO (wood destroying organisms) report, wind mitigation letter, and, a 4-point insurance letter. You want to know exactly what you’re getting for your money and exactly what reports are included. Do your research and ask lots of questions. Technology has come a long way, make sure your home inspector is up to date with the latest home inspection technology.

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