Homeowners know that regular maintenance is important to keep their home in good condition, so we dutifully clean the gutters twice a year, schedule pest control services, change the furnace filters, and perform seasonal lawn maintenance. Inside the home, we make sure that everything is in working order and perform small repairs when needed. We remember to change the smoke alarm batteries, clean the dryer vents, and keep sink and tub drains clean. We track down the source of any leaks or strange noises and make sure that they are fixed - either by us or by a reputable professional.
This is all a great start, but the job is by no means complete. If you're just responding to problems as they arise, you may be missing some hidden issues that can silently wreak havoc on your home. That is why an annual home inspection is so important.
Most of us know that we need to have a professional inspection before we buy a new home, but once we get the seal of approval and take ownership, we often neglect to have our home inspected on a regular basis.
A professional home inspection prior to purchasing a home will ensure that the buyer is aware of the condition of your home's structure and systems and that those areas in need of repair are identified. This information is critical for the homebuyer, as hidden structural and system problems may affect their decision to purchase the home.
The home inspection report is an assessment of the home at the time of purchase, not a lifetime guarantee. As the home ages, problems may emerge, and systems may need to be repaired or replaced. Just as you take your car in for regular maintenance checkups and go to the doctor for health checkups, your home requires its own checkup. If your home is fairly new, an annual inspection will suffice. If your home is older, or if you live in an area with extreme weather conditions that may cause damage to the exterior of your home, you may want to step up the inspection to twice a year.
Do I Need a Pro?
While you may enjoy home improvement projects and think you can save money by doing the inspection yourself, you may want to seriously consider hiring a home inspector. A professional home inspector is trained to identify problems in their early stages, before they cause extensive damage requiring expensive repair solutions. Once the inspector has identified areas in need of attention, you can put your skills to work on the repairs.
What Should an Inspection Include?
According to the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), a home inspection includes an examination of the following home elements:
- Heating and air conditioning systems
- Electrical systems
- Roof, attic, and visible insulation
- Walls, ceilings, and floors
- Windows and doors
- Foundation, basement, and structural components
A routine home inspection will not check for mold or mildew, radon, asbestos, termites, insects or other hidden or inaccessible items. Items outside of the standard areas listed above may require additional fees and/or specialists. For instance, mold and asbestos inspections require special training and certification. If you are concerned about any of these items, make sure to hire a home inspector with the proper training and certifications.
What Does a Home Inspection Cost?
For most people their home is their most valuable asset. When you consider the current and future value of your home, the cost of an annual home inspection may seem a small price to pay to safeguard your largest investment. The average inspection costs around $300, depending on the side.