We all know that things grow old. Our stuff can wear out and sometimes break. When it comes to old socks and gym shorts, that’s no big deal. But, when it comes to your home, that can become a big problem. Air conditioners go out, sometimes pipes burst, and shingles need to be replaced. These are all big costs, and the sooner you know about them, the better.
The big reason to get a home inspection is prevention. It’s inevitable that something will eventually go wrong, and you’ll need to make a repair. But how much will it cost to repair it now, versus waiting until it’s a problem? You probably already know the answer, but it can be much cheaper to stay ahead of repairs, rather than waiting for them to get out of hand.
Why do we wait on home repair? As we go about our business from day to day, we focus on what we need most in order to survive. If we’re hungry, we focus more on what we’re going to buy so we can eat. We’re not thinking about long-term problems. We’re focused on the here and now. This mindset can lead to sort of a survival mentality where we only take care of what’s most urgent. This might cause us to overlook much needed maintenance issues that will save us a lot of trouble down the line.
A Home Inspection is an Investment
Think of a home inspection as an investment in your house. It’s a lot like car maintenance. You probably get your oil changed regularly, and doing so keeps the engine from suffering an early end. Just making sure your oil is fresh may be enough to avoid having to buy an entirely new car before you’re ready. So, why do you get your car checked regularly? To avoid a bigger issue in the future. The inspection fees are just a small investment in the long-term health of your car. A home inspection is the same thing. Some maintenance items will allow your equipment to last much longer–and the equipment in your house can get quite pricey to replace.
So what does it cost if you wait until something breaks? Let’s consider a roof repair. No one has ever been excited about paying for new shingles. It’s something that many home owners put off for years because it can be quite costly. It might cost $5,000 to replace your asphalt shingles. Most people would rather not worry about it. You hardly see the roof anyway.
The Cost of Waiting
Let’s say you choose not to replace your shingles, even though they are in disrepair. Now you start to get a small leak. It’s not a big deal for now. It’s just a few drips every now and then. Well, eventually that drip gets a little more serious. Moisture is beginning to accumulate in your attic, which means mold will start forming. That mold and water damage is starting to eat away at the integrity of your roof beams, putting your framework at risk. The scary part is that this whole time, you have no idea what’s going on. At least, that is, until it starts dripping in through your ceiling. Now the problem has gone three layers deep, and you’ve got a major project on your hands.
Surely you would have just replaced the shingles if you had only known about the problem, but you didn’t. This is why you need the best home inspector. If you had known how bad the shingles were, and if someone could have told you the risk you’d run by not replacing them, you could have saved all sorts of money. Now, instead of paying $5,000 for shingles, you first have to reframe your roof for $16,000. You also have to take care of your ceiling, walls, and paint where you’ve gotten water damage.
Finding the Right Inspector
Home inspectors can check every nook and kranny of a house, but not every inspector has the same set of skills and expertise. Consequently they may focus on different areas of the home. Before you hire an inspector, make sure you read through their website and become familiar with their services. See if they are certified, and how long they’ve been in business.
Some inspectors will go in attics and crawlspaces, just to make sure your home is sound. Others use special instruments to see into the walls and inspect for hidden mold or other damage. If you have a particular concern with your home, make sure it’s listed as a service they can handle.
Hiring a good home inspector will give you the insights you need to keep your home in good repair. It will cost you a little bit of money to hire the inspector, and it may cost some money as you take care of the recommended repairs, but it will pay off in the long run. It’s a worthwhile investment in the long-term condition of your home.