Home inspections are a common part of home buying. But are they really necessary? In almost all cases, the answer is yes. Sometimes your lender will insist upon it. Your home is an investment to them, and they don't want any surprises that will lower the value of that investment. Insurance companies also sometimes require inspections to locate problems which might be a big enough threat to the home their policy is protecting.
But beyond that, house inspections are just incredibly useful, potentially saving you huge repair bills and the headaches that go with them. And, overall, it's really a drop in the bucket in comparison to what you're paying for your new North Calgary home.
What a Home Inspection Is
What is a home inspection? What does a home inspection consist of? A home inspector will thoroughly inspect the house over the span of two or three hours. The study will be intense, focusing on major appliances and systems. One thing they won't do, however, is investigate things which are not readily accessible. They will not, for example, cut into a wall to look at electrical wiring.
The inspector will then draw up a detailed report listing defects and the degree of the problems. They will also recommend which things can be repaired and which need replacement. Finally, the inspector will indicate whether the problem is a safety hazard, which should be the first problems for you to address. The report may include photos to better document the issues at hand.
Why Home Inspections Are Important
Knowing what to expect from a home inspection is tough. If the defects are severe enough, you may simply not want the home at all. Buyer contingencies commonly allow a buyer to back out in the case of a poor inspection review. It also gives the buyer leverage. They can insist the seller make repairs or else grant a discount on the price of the home or Calgary condo so the buyer can address the problems themselves.
Always Accompany the Inspector
Home inspectors often give tips on how to maintain inspected systems and appliances, so the inspection is also a learning experience for the buyer. The buyer should absolutely accompany the inspector on the tour so problems can be highlighted in person and suggestions can be made. It's much easier to understand what the inspector is highlighting if you can actually interact with it, rather than just studying photos.
Finally, don't be afraid to ask questions. The point of this exercise is to put concerns to rest. If you're not understanding something, or you feel something hasn't been satisfactorily addressed, you are absolutely within your rights to inquire.
Home Inspections as Preventative Maintenance for Homeowners
Just like people who head to the family doctor once a year to open their mouths and say “awwhhhh”, your Calgary home should get a check up at least once a year.
You might be monitoring your home and are aware of little things such as doors that don’t shut, cracks in the drywall and other signs that the house has shifted on its foundation. You might check the attic once in a while to make sure the roof’s not leaking; however, signs of major trouble can often only be detected by an expert.
How Home Inspections Can Help Homeowners
A certified home inspector, just like the one you would call if you were buying a new home in Calgary, can help identify problem areas that require attention. They can evaluate the current state of your home and help you prioritize issues that they find. Leave it to a qualified inspector to get up on the roof to check your shingles or look at your plumbing and analyze the performance of your furnace. They have the equipment to gauge the flow of electricity through your home, check for minute gas leaks and the intrusion of moisture.
An expert can give you a ballpark idea of how much different repairs will cost and help you determine what should be done immediately and what can wait until the next season.
Create a Priority List
A home inspector always provides a detailed report, often in a binder, of his or her findings so creating a plan of attack can be simple. Should you decide to sell your home in the near future you can present the report along with receipts of any repairs you’ve undertaken to a prospective buyer.
Often buyers will want to spend money to have an independent inspection undertaken, but it pays to have confidence that you’ve done your due diligence and that there will be no unexpected surprises when they do. You want a buyer to understand that you have maintained your home and cared for it. This will add value to your home as well.
What Preventative Home Inspections Can Find
During home check ups, home inspectors generally find very simple issues that you can likely address with very little expense. These include:
- Garage openers that don’t operate correctly. For example, check your opener to ensure that it automatically reverses when it hits an object.
- The dryer duct work that is dirty and clogged. Rigid piping is recommended as plastic accordion hoses collect lint much faster posting a fire hazard.
- Dirty furnace filters – these can easily be replaced every three to six months.
- Refrigerator coils underneath or behind the fridge get dusty and should be cleaned annually.
- Fireplace chimneys can fill with soot and creosote and should be cleaned out every year.
- Weather stripping around windows and caulking need to replaced when cracked and damaged.
- Smoke detectors with dead batteries. Even detectors that are hard-wired should have back up batteries in working order.
- Clogged gutters. During intense rain storms, gutters can overflow and cause water seepage into the basement. Gutters can bend under the weight and the build-up of water can also damage shingles.
Overall, while it can seem like an avoidable expense in the moment, it really is best to give your home a check up every now and then. The problems you'll avoid are definitely worth the cost.
Contact a Real Estate Professional for Guidance
Home inspections are an important part of protecting your new home. Don't think you can do it yourself. Unless you have many years of experience in the real estate inspection world, it absolutely pays to have a home inspection done. Overall, while it can seem like an avoidable expense in the moment, it really is best to give your home a check up every now and then. The problems you'll avoid are definitely worth the cost.