Record-Eagle, Cookie McCullough

Whoever coined the phrase, “What you don’t know, can’t hurt you,” probably never purchased a home. Today’s buyers are more educated than ever, and most want to know exactly what they’re buying before they sign on the dotted line. A home inspection provides peace of mind with their home purchase decision.

A home inspection is an objective, visual examination of the physical structure and systems of a home, from roof to foundation. A home inspection is the equivalent of a physical examination from your doctor. When problems, or symptoms of problems, are found, the inspector may recommend further evaluation or remedies. The inspection summarizes the condition of a property, points out the need for major repairs, and identifies areas that may need attention in the near future. Buyers and sellers depend on an accurate home inspection to maximize their knowledge of the property in order to make intelligent decisions before executing an agreement for sale or purchase. A home inspection points out the positive aspects of a home, as well as the maintenance that will be necessary to keep it in good shape. After an inspection, both parties have a much clearer understanding of the value and needs of the property.

The purchase agreement the buyer and seller sign is contingent on a home inspection. A buyer will generally have the option - based upon the inspection – to opt out of the purchase, or to ask for repairs, or to ask for credit toward repairs, or to ask for a purchase price reduction.

The following are a few good reasons to do a pre-purchase home inspection:

#1: It Makes Good Business Sense
Consider the fact that the average price of a home is in excess of $200,000.
Consider that a new roof can cost anywhere from $5,000 - $8,000.
Consider the fact that a new furnace can cost from $3,000 - $9,000.

#2: You Will Have Greater Peace of Mind
Homes old and new need repairs. On newer homes it is not uncommon to have repairs.

#3 You Will Be Better Informed
Being armed with the right information will help you make a good decision and feel great about the decision. No doubt about it, buying real estate is not a stress-free event but a home inspection will relieve some of the strain.

Do New Homes Really Need a Home Inspection?
(Some Buyers Claim Warranty is Enough)

Reliance on the builder’s warranty is the most common reason why buyers of new homes forego home inspections. In many cases, this has proved to be a costly error. Buyers assume that all significant defects will become apparent during the warranty period. This is a faulty assumption.

All new homes have unapparent defects, regardless of the quality of construction or the integrity of the builder. No one can build something as large and complex as a house without committing a few errors. To assume that all such errors will be readily apparent is a recipe for financial loss. Some problems may reside in the attic, in the electric service panel, or high atop the roof. They may involve safety violations with a chimney installation or the grounding of electrical outlets. There might be a defect in the roof framing, the gas connection to the heater, or the site drainage on the property. A home inspector who is able to discover such conditions will enable you to take full advantage of your warranties.

A professional inspection of a newly built home is always beneficial. Just be sure to find an inspector with many years of experience and a reputation for thoroughness.

Home inspection reports are often loaded with disclaimers and recommendations to consult with other licensed professionals. The key is to determine which of these recommendations must be done. You may want to contact the inspector directly and ask him to distinguish a cautionary note from a strong recommendation.

In summary, a thorough home inspection is important. The inspector should be a degreed, experienced professional with proper licensing and insurance. The inspection will take approximately four hours to complete and will cost you about $300 - $350 - - money well spent! In return, you will have the information you need to be confident in your home purchasing decision. After you move in, there should be very few surprises - - and both you and your home inspector can sleep soundly at night knowing you did the right thing obtaining a professional home inspection.