Inevitably, you buy a house in one season, yet the house will continue to exist through the other seasons. This is an important thing to keep in the forefront of your mind when looking at a home inspection report. Plan for the seasons ahead when considering what requests you will make of the seller during the home purchase process.
Each part of the year brings different challenges to a building structure. Summer is hot and humid, fall causes a change in temperature and brings leaves to the ground, winter brings freezing temperatures, snow, and frigid winds, and spring will often bring lots of rain. When looking at the recommendations of your home inspector, try to think of them in light of the stresses of each season, however easy it is to imagine that winter is very far off, or that maybe you will have more free time than usual for home improvements between now and spring rains. Many of the issues that your house is currently presenting may not be relevant to the current weather, but they will be soon enough. For example, if your inspector has mentioned that the pipes running through an exterior wall are uninsulated, the water may be free flowing between now and your closing in June, but perhaps the lack of insulation will cause those same pipes to freeze in January.
YOUR HOME INSPECTOR’S OBSERVATIONS ARE VALUABLE CLUES. I know it may seem boring, but please read your entire home inspection report. If you have someone else, perhaps a friend or family member who has more experience or expertise, preferably a long-time homeowner, ask them to read the report also, and get their thoughts. Some things that are written in the report may not seem like a big deal, but if there is a comment written, it may mean that it needs your attention. Often the inspector is unable to fully see an element of the house, such as a wall, or a pipe, or an appliance. But if he mentioned that something that he couldsee is out of the ordinary, make sure you examine it again. You may not be thinking about the diversity of stresses that a variety of seasons put on a house, but a good home inspector certainly is.
INVESTIGATE FURTHER NOW, OR DON’T BE SORRY LATER. I can’t tell you the number of people I converse with that tell me, “I wish we had had a good home inspector that would have noticed a certain thing and told me about my major house problem!” But, even more heart-breaking, I occasionally hear, “I wish I had read my home inspection report, the inspector mentioned the issue I later spent thousands on repairing.” Many times, when I see a section of a house that concerns me, but I can’t view the whole system, I will write something like, “consult with a licensed contractor (plumber, electrician, carpenter, etc.) for further investigation.” By the standards of practice of a home inspection, I am limited to a visual inspection and often cannot probe deeper, but if I see that something is off, a licensed contractor would be allowed to come in and investigate more thoroughly, and with more specific expertise. If you are going to have a hard time making a major repair to your home if something is wrong, and an issue is flagged in the home inspection report, spend a little bit of money now on a specialized inspection, don’t be sorry later.
CALL YOUR HOME INSPECTOR WITH QUESTIONS. Are you confused about the language in the report? Did the inspector mention something about insulation, but you have no idea what they are talking about? Contact the inspector. At Nest Home Inspection, we pride ourselves on being available to our customers after the inspection to answer questions or give more information. I don’t expect you to be an expert on houses like I am; if you were, you wouldn’t have needed to hire me. I know a lot, I’ve seen a lot, I constantly do research and participate in continuing education. I can be a really valuable resource to you, and I can explain further if you need me to.
The home inspection can be one of the most important elements of your closing. A good report can give you valuable information about your new house and protect your future quality of life by helping you become aware of the true condition of your home. But a report is only as good as the inspector who writes it. Protect yourself, and your investment, call Nest Home Inspection when you find the house you want to buy.