What is the purpose of a home inspection? Many real estate professionals would say that it is to uncover defects. While that is certainly true, I’d like to suggest that property inspections can be of much broader use than merely learning what’s wrong. For new home owners, or soon to be home owners, it’s a great chance to learn about all the components of your house, condominium or townhome, and how to maintain it well going forward.
Whether you are in escrow to purchase the property or you are a new home owner who purchased without inspections (or contingencies), it is wise to take a half day off from work so that you can be present for the inspections and learn about your home and how to maintain it for the long haul. A good property inspector will not mind your accompanying him or her throughout the property and will explain to you what you’re seeing. Many times, you will get helpful tips that will not make it into the written report, so bring along a notepad and pen. You may hear your inspector say “this is fine now, but you’ll need to replace it in about 5 years” or “if you do such and such, this will last a lot longer”. These are helpful things to know! Your inspector may also reveal that some items are functioning now but should be watched carefully. “Check the crawl space when it rains to see….” or “this is probably not an active leak, but no one has lived here for a year, so recheck this in 6 months” or…. you get the idea.
Home inspectors can only see what’s visible, and some bad conditions may be hidden. In general, though, you want to have a qualified home inspector out every 7 years (and a pest inspector every 3-5) so that if your home is developing any problems, they can be caught and addressed while more manageable.
Further reading on home inspections: