Bats in the Belfry or Maybe Squirrels? Home Inspections Are Worth the Extra Effort!
100 Real Estate Tips in 100 Days (Day 43)
If you are buying a previously owned home in Colorado, the state promulgated contracts provide for inspections of any kind at the buyer's discretion. The only buyer elective is to designate an inspection objection deadline date, and a repair settlement deadline date.
There are no restrictions on the type of inspections that a buyer may wish to order, but most buyers' start with a whole house general inspection. That inspection may reveal issues that need more detailed inspections of certain items, such as the HVAC system or roofing issues.
Today it is prudent to have a Radon gas test. If you are expecting your corporation to buy your home when the next transfer occurs, absolutely order a Radon gas test, and mitigate if necessary. It is also more frequent these days for buyers to have the sewage line scoped for breaks or clogs. If the home you are buying is a bit older, you should definitely invest in a line scope. Sewage line repair is expensive, and is not a cost a buyer should be faced with 6 or 12 months after moving in.
Your professional inspector may recommend various tests based on the whole house inspection. Be prudent. Not every test or inspection is needed for most houses, although many are a wise investment. If unsure, educate yourself about the risks associated with defective construction, deferred maintenance, or possible health or environmental issues. If a house has too many problems, you may want to move on.
A simple rule of thumb is that most houses that appear to be in good repair and are maintained in the proper way are probably not going to have too many inspection issues. However, no matter how good it appears to be, always obtain a whole house inspection from an experienced professional.
What about new houses you may ask. The prudent buyer will have their brand new home inspected prior to the builder's punch-out walkthrough. Builders make mistakes, and the best time to have them corrected is before you close on your new home. Warranties are nice, but sometimes things do not get repaired as quickly as a buyer would like.
A few final thoughts. There are no perfect houses. They are built by humans, and therefore will have the presence of human error. That is not to say you cannot get very close to perfect, especially with a new built house built by a competent builder. Secondly, the earth moves. All the time, everywhere. So things like houses move with the earth, and sometimes develop cracks and strains. Make sure you understand local soil conditions, any other issues that are endemic to the area where the house is located, and pay attention. If something does not look right, it probably isn't. Do not let the emotions of buying the dream house blind you to easily remedied problems.
One of the most curious inspections I've had of late uncovered a family whole community of these pesky little creatures. The buyer didn't want to share her home with them, so we humanly "relocated" the entire village to a new location. Once removed we hired a carpenter-type person to come board up the openings in the attic so the creatures didn't return. Another home sale salvaged. In most cases problems are found, problems get fixed. We move on.