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The Importance of a Home Inspection

The Importance of a Home Inspection

Buying a home is, it is said, up there as one of the biggest decisions you will ever make in life. It ranks alongside divorce and losing your job as one of the most stressful things you can go through. And yet in many cases buying a home in the past was done pretty much on a wing and a prayer.

Basically, you would see a house you liked, view it, make an offer on it and then move in not knowing if you’d signed up for a heap of trouble. Even if that turned out to be the case you just got on with putting right all the faults with the house even if it nearly bankrupted you in the process.

Things are different nowadays fortunately. Anyone who is selling their property now has to provide a whole raft of information for any potential buyers to use in their purchase decision. All this information comes in the form of a home seller’s pack and is designed not only to help the buyer but also to aid the seller in ensuring an honest and legal transaction. It enables the buyer to understand exactly what they are buying and also avoids the possibility of a seller being sued afterwards if vital information is not disclosed. However the seller’s pack may not give you all the information about the house that you need. So before you commit to the not inconsiderable expense of buying a house it is essential that you understand what a home inspection is and why you need one.

What Does a Home Inspection Report Contain?

It used to be the case that an estate agent would accompany a buyer on a house viewing and could point out any obvious defects like loose tiles or worn fittings but you have to bear in mind that the agent is trying to sell the house no matter what. Bear in mind also that not many estate agents will be knowledgeable about the condition of the house’s heating, electrical and plumbing systems. This is why it’s so important to have a qualified Home Inspector compile a comprehensive report.

The purpose of a home inspection is to thoroughly assess all aspects of the condition of a home with particular emphasis on the safety or otherwise of the building. A professional Home Inspector’s job is to look for any defects in the internal and external structure and fabric of the house. This includes an examination of the whole house, from the top of the roof right down to the bottom of the basement. Not to be confused with a home appraisal, which sets a selling price, a Home Inspection report can actually help a buyer to decide whether or not the asking price is realistic.

When a seller puts their house on the market they are obliged to compile various documents that tell the buyer exactly what fixtures and fittings are to be included in the sale. They must also provide an Energy Performance Certificate which gives information about a property’s energy use and typical energy costs. Whilst this is undoubtedly a good thing and the information contained therein very useful, these documents will not give a buyer any information about whether the property suffers from black mould, damp or woodworm, for example. Nor will they tell you if there is any danger from asbestos, failing electrics or lead-based paints, a common problem in much older properties.

In contrast, a comprehensive Home Inspection report can tell you all about whether the house is likely to need a new roof any time soon, or new double glazing. It can also provide a full analysis of the heating system, the plumbing and the electrical system. The last thing you need after you have signed the mortgage agreement and moved into the house is to find that you have to shell out a few more thousand pounds for a new boiler or re-wiring of the electrics. You also won’t want to spend yet more of your hard-earned cash on having a new damp-proofing course installed or new plumbing because the seller never mentioned about the ancient pipe-work. A full Home Inspection report can catch all these defects and more right at the start and a qualified Home Inspector can advise you on what to do to remedy any problems that merit immediate correction.

Future-Proofing Your Home

As we said previously, it is imperative that you as a buyer do as much as possible to get all the information you can on the condition of the home you wish to buy. As they say – forewarned is fore-armed and having the full picture at your fingertips is a good negotiating tool.  When you are made aware of any serious problems with the house you have the option to walk away. Or if you know that there is some remedial work to be done on the property which is going to be expensive then your negotiating hand is strengthened considerably.

A Home Inspection report is not just about the here and now though. Useful though it is as a tool to provide information which needs immediate action it can also serve a useful function in your future planning. Whether you are buying a new-build or an older home every part of it has a ‘shelf-life’. At some point the roof will need replacing or repairing, the outer brickwork may require maintenance, the plumbing system will need overhauling or upgrading and appliances will need replacing. Your detailed Home Inspection report will contain everything you need to know in terms of how long things are expected to last so again, this will be a useful tool with which to plan future finances.

Inspect and be Safe

If you value your house not only as a cherished home but also as an investment then it is vital that you commission a completely independent and impartial Home Inspection report. The safety of your home, the protection of your finances and your peace of mind will all thank you for your decision.

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Phoebe Skinner

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