Anyone buying a resale home needs to get a home inspection—no exception.
Not getting one is like buying a used car without taking it for a test drive, or buying it based on colour. Sounds crazy, right? But think about it, when it comes to buying a house you are literally investing at least fifty times more money, and when people spend more time buying their groceries than they do getting a house properly checked by a pro, they pay for it.
Homebuyers need to be smart, or they could end up buying a can of worms that will cost a fortune to fix just to make safe. I’ve seen it happen and I’ve seen people go bankrupt.
Getting a home inspection before you buy a home can literally save you tens of thousands of dollars, not to mention all the headaches! Because a qualified, unbiased home inspector is worth their weight in gold.
They can spot potential problems and the red flags; they can tell you which ones need to be addressed now and which ones can wait, and what it might take to make it right. Then from there, you can make an informed decision about your future and decide if the home is worth your investment.
For example, during a pre-purchase home inspection, a pro will check out the roof and tell you roughly how long it should last you, if it needs to be repaired or if you’ll need to re-shingle before next winter. They’ll take a look at the building structure and foundation; check for any major cracks or issues that will have to be fixed sooner rather than later, like a heaving foundation or mould in the basement or attic.
They’ll also check out the electrical, the plumbing and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) and warn you of any upgrades or major repairs. Because if a house needs a new furnace, or if the plumbing needs to be upgraded or there’s knob and tube wiring, believe me, you will want to know before making an offer. Those fixes aren’t cheap!
Too many times people fall in love with the eye candy—granite countertops, hardwood floors, crown-moulding, 8-foot ceilings, stainless steel appliances, etc.—and they don’t see the water damage on the ceiling, the mould in the basement or bathroom; crumbling mortar on the exterior, or the rotting framing around windows.
A good home inspector is supposed to help you look beyond the surface and see a potential home for what it’s really worth. That’s why I love home inspectors that are Level 1 Certified Thermographers—because they can use thermal imaging cameras to detect problems behind walls, like leaks or abnormal heat coming from faulty wiring.
But the key here is hiring someone who works for you, and not the real estate agent. You want someone who will tell you the truth about a home, even if it means walking away and not buying it—not someone who might be more worried about losing referrals from real estate agents because they warn homebuyers against buying a lemon.
You also want someone with experience, but experience in home inspections—not someone who last year was baking pies. Hire a pro who understands home construction and how a home works. You need someone who can immediately tell you if something doesn’t look right, or if there are been any major renovations (and then check if they were done without permits).
There are good and bad home inspectors just like there are good and bad contractors. You have to do your due diligence and you have to do your research. But not getting a home inspection before buying a home is probably one the worst things you can do as a homebuyer.
I don’t know too many people who regret getting a home inspection, but I do know plenty who regret not getting one. Be smart and buy it right.