Let’s talk inspections for a minute. What should you inspect? Who should do it? Do we we even need inspections? Valid questions that come with almost every home purchase.
What should we inspect? To answer this question, I would ask you how handy you are and how much do you want to fix? If you are buying a house with the intention to gut it, you might not care about inspecting every aspect. But even then, you should probably look at the bones. At least have the roof, structure and foundation looked at. Here is a list of inspections you could have:
A. General Home Inspection–Kinda like your primary care doc. They will look at everything. But, they are not specialists in anything. These are great for alerting you to a potential problem
B. Wood Destroying Insects–termites, carpenter ants, wood bees all like to munch on houses. Having someone look for signs of these nasties is pretty much always a good idea
C. Septic Inspection–If your prospective home is on a septic tank, you should have a septic company come and lift the lids to see if there are issues with the tank. This is a potential issue that could ultimately condemn a house. I pretty much always recommend this.
D, Radon–Many people are aware of radon. It is a colorless, odorless gas that comes out of the earth from decaying organic material. The concentration of it can vary based on location, rain, ventilation and several other factors. It is easy to test for and if you have factors for various types of illnesses and cancers, might be a good idea. It is relatively easy to mitigate as well.
E. Well test–If your prospective home is on a well, you should probably have it tested. You can take samples and send off to a lab. There are self tests but they may not test for everything, including microorganisms.
F. Pool inspection–This can be HUGE. If there is a pool, you should have the equipment looked at and the pool itself inspected. If there is ANY sign of leaking, have that looked at. Leak detection is much easier now than it used to be. Trust me, not doing this due diligence can be a HUGE expense.
G. Specialty inspections–some people will specifically have the roof or HVAC or foundation looked at by experts in those fields. Generally, I would say to wait and see what your home inspector says unless you can see there is an obvious issue.
H. Survey–Another due diligence that becomes important sometimes. Does the tax record picture make it look like the neighbor’s fence is over the property line? Is it a super old farm that doesn’t have much fencing and making sure you get all of the acreage fenced is important? If those answers are yes, you should get a survey. If it is a regimented, newer subdivision, you are probably ok to skip this.
Who should do the inspections–Do you have someone you trust in these particular fields? Start with them. If not, I usually do. I do not recommend taking any of the inspection reports provided by the seller. Do not have the pool company that has serviced the pool for the last 10 years provide you with an inspection. They have a vested interest in giving you a clean report. Don’t have the pest company that has serviced the house for years give you a clearance letter. They don’t want to find bugs in a house they have been servicing. Get fresh eyes, that work for you, on that property. It only makes sense.
Do we need these inspections? I will never try to talk someone out of an inspection. If it is on your mind, have it done. If you are unsure about something and it is going to keep you up at night, have the inspection done. If you aren’t prepared to pay for whatever issue it is that you are having inspected, then have the inspection. This is the whole “ounce of prevention” idea. It also lets you shift at least some of the liability to someone else.
I hope this list helps. Again, there may be some others that need to be done that are very specific to the property. If I can be of service, let me know!
Published on May 22, 2023