Paying for a home inspection as you shop around for a new home can seem like a gamble.  Most people don’t end up buying the first home they decide they like, and at around $400 a pop, paying for multiple inspections can quickly add up. 

You might be thinking that you know what mold and rotting wood look like, and it will be pretty obvious if there are any major issues.

Unfortunately, home inspections really are one of those professional services that you shouldn’t do yourself.  There are thousands of tell-tale signs that you might miss that a pro would pick up on, and fixing even one of these things could cost thousands of dollars.

How To Find A Reliable Home Inspector

Your real estate agent will probably have one or more agents that they work with regularly, and that’s a great place to start.  If you’re looking on your own, try to get a list of references to call and make sure you ask specific questions about how thorough they were, what they checked, and what they didn’t, to make sure they’re doing a proper job.

What A Home Inspector Will Check

Structure – this includes the roof, foundation, walls, doors, insulation, etc.  They’ll be looking for water damage, rotting wood, termites, and warning signs of other problems.

Plumbing and Electrical – this will include ensuring wiring is safe and up to code (especially important in older homes), and that there are no dangers with anything.

Heating and Cooling – inspecting furnaces and air conditioning will confirm efficiency, a lack of problems, and safe operation, which will save you thousands of dollars in the long run.

Appliances – while not always part of an inspection, it’s worth asking for.  Replacing one or more appliances which are on their last leg will be an unwanted expense after completing the purchase of the home.

Bathrooms – a common source of water damage and other plumbing issues, an inspector should be able to warn you about issues with tiles, toilets, ventilation, and leaks.

How A Home Inspection Works

An inspection usually lasts a couple of hours and should come with a written report.  It’s important to remember that this is not a black and white issue.  Your inspector may point out potential issues that really aren’t that serious.  No house, even a brand new one, will be perfect, but you want as much information as you can get to make the right decision.

You want a written report so you can refer to it later. 

How To Use The Results Of A Home Inspection

Finding several issues during the inspection is not automatically a reason not to buy.  Every problem you find gives you more leverage in your negotiation with the sellers.  You can ask for them to make repairs before you buy, or to lower the price a proportionate amount to cover the cost of you doing it yourself.

Knowledge is power, and the one with the most information will come out on top.

The Answer Is Yes

In case you still weren’t sure, the answer is a resounding YES – you DO need a home inspection. 

Serious home issues can cause problems for years, and it’s simply not worth the stress and misery to save a couple hundred dollars.  If you think you can’t afford it, you probably can’t afford the house either.