Home Inspection Best and Worst Case Scenarios

The results of a home inspection should be a determining factor in whether or not you choose to purchase a home. Not only do they reduce the uncertainty surrounding a home’s condition, but they also inform buyers about what mechanical and structural systems could eventually pose problems.

An Ideal Outcome

In an absolute best-case scenario, the home inspector you hire for the job will be affiliated with the American Society of Home Inspectors, expertly trained and equipped with an arsenal of technological tools. After meticulously examining your future home for commonly reported problems such as damaged roofs, inefficient heating systems and plumbing defects, the inspector will provide you with a full report on what needs to be repaired and how you should go about fixing it. Even in cases where the home passes inspection with flying colors, the inspector will answer any questions you might have about the life expectancy of your home’s components.

Risking a Money Pit

At worst, you decide to forgo the home-inspection process altogether, concluding after a brief examination that the home is in tip-top shape. What you may fail to realize is that most of the top home problems aren’t immediately apparent to the untrained eye. For instance, many homeowners are guilty of over-sealing their homes, which can eventually lead to excess moisture and poor ventilation. The result of poor caulking and weather stripping, over-sealed homes pose serious health and comfort risks—issues you’ll probably only discover after it’s too late.

In fact, nearly half of the most common home-inspection finds are directly related to water. Older roofs, poor plumbing fixtures and improper surface grading and drainage all share two things in common: they’re notoriously difficult to detect and they all cause water damage. If left to fester long enough, water damage can cause wood to rot and other structures to slowly deteriorate. In some cases, it will even attract harmful molds.

A Lazy Inspector

Serious problems can also occur when buyers hire home inspectors that are ill equipped to do their jobs. Some home inspectors provide only very rudimentary services, and refuse to conduct more than a visual examination. Radon, asbestos and interior water damage will go largely unnoticed. The inspector then passes the home when he or he shouldn’t have. This, in turn, gives you confidence to go through with the closing. The problem is, within a few years, you’ll have spent more on repairs than you did on your initial down payment.

Finding the Right Company

To minimize the chances of a worst-case scenario occurring, it is imperative that you not only hire a home inspector, but also employ one who is willing to go the extra mile. In particular, seek inspectors with a reputation for openness, honesty, experience and fairness.

In order to find the right inspector it’s up to the buyer to ask the right questions, such as:

“Will you take the time to explain the home inspection report to me?””Can you point out what needs to be repaired now, and what can wait until later?””What kind of technology do you use to conduct inspections, and do you provide radon and asbestos services?”

Do this and you’ll be well on your way to experiencing your very own best-case home inspection scenario.

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