By Mark Diplock, Lead Inspector at Mike Holmes Inspections
I’ve been asked this question a hundred times. Is it really necessary to have a home inspection done on the property I’m planning on buying? Or I’ll hear, “my father or uncle works in construction and knows what to look for in a home”. Or, “I can get a feel for the home and see things also”. Or the excuse, “well a home inspection is expensive, and I would rather put that money towards something else”. This might not be the best approach.
An Inspection Is Always a Good Idea
The simple fact of the matter is this: if you are planning on making the single biggest purchase of your life, isn’t it just plain smart to know as much about that purchase as you possibly can before you commit to making those mortgage payments? Unfortunately, it’s been shown that people will actually spend more time deciding which car to purchase or in some cases which pair of shoes to choose than what house to buy.
But a house purchase is different. With a car purchase you take it for a test drive. If you are buying a pair of shoes, you try them on. The problem is, when buying a home, there is no trial. You don’t get to live in it for a few weeks to see if it functions properly and doesn’t fall apart. In fact, most people spend only 1 or 2 hours in the home before they make the decision to purchase.
Knowing this now, doesn’t it make sense to hire a trained professional to inspect your house thoroughly? A home inspection should help you with your purchase decision.
A Professional Knows What to Look For
As the lead inspector for Mike Holmes Inspections, people often ask me what home inspectors look for when they asses a house. I also get asked why it is important to have a trained independent professional do the inspection. So, while your dad or friend may know a lot about construction or even be in the trades, they are not professional inspectors with the training, experience and knowledge required to know what to look for when analysing every major component of a home.
Keep in mind that a home inspection is an exercise in risk reduction. While it cannot eliminate all the risks, the inspection will without a doubt uncover issues that might cost you a lot of money down the road.
A home inspection will also give you a better idea of the overall condition and life expectancies of all the major components of the home and whether there is a concern that you may be facing a major cost repair in the foreseeable future. The main purpose is to try and assess these risks and decide if they are or may become a major risk factor.
The Final Report Will Help You Identify All Major Problems
Many people seem to think that the home inspector is going find every small problem and make a “to do” list. While this is sort of true, it’s not the main purpose of the inspection. We are there to find the big problems; however, we are naturally going to find smaller problems while looking for those big ones. We are likely even going to list the smaller concerns in the report as courtesy, but we certainly aren’t going to list every single minor defect like paint chipping. Every home has some flaws and imperfections, there is no such thing as a perfect house. If you ever find one please let me know, I want to see it.