Most people associate home inspections with the process of buying or selling a house. At the inspection stage of the home sale, sellers worry that major (read: costly) repairs or upgrades will be recommended, while buyers keep their fingers crossed that the inspector won’t find any issues that might scuttle the deal and prevent them from getting their dream home.
However, contrary to popular misconception, home inspections aren’t merely a component of the home-buying ritual. Having your home inspected each spring is a great way to stay ahead of potential issues and maintain the value of your home whether you’re planning to sell in the future or not. Here are a few good reasons to consider making the modest investment in a home inspection this spring:
Winter is hard on homes
Ice, snow, freezing rain, extreme cold temperatures, and repeated freezing and thawing cycles can really take their toll on a home, causing or exacerbating problems such as cracking in the foundation, roof damage, moisture infiltration, etc. A roof-to-basement home inspection in springtime will help you identify and correct these problems before they lead to major damage.
Small problems become big problems
Maintaining a home is a lot like maintaining a healthy body. If you see your doctor regularly for checkups and follow through with routine health screenings, you’ll be more likely to catch problems early on when they’re easiest to treat. On the other hand, if you ignore your health and seek treatment only after serious symptoms arise, you could end up with a much bigger problem—and much higher medical bills.
Similarly, if a routine inspection identifies a problem in your home’s structural integrity or one if its major systems, the fix might be very inexpensive initially but very costly in the future if ignored. For example, replacing old, damaged exterior window caulk is a relatively simple repair that won’t set you back too much financially, even if you need to hire someone else to do it. But if you wait to address the problem—or aren’t even aware that there is a problem—moisture can continue to work its way through cracks and gaps in the caulk and into your home, potentially doing thousands of dollars in structural damage.
Inspections help prioritize repairs and improvements
Let’s face it, most homeowners have a limited budget for repairs and improvements, and it’s important to prioritize how those dollars are allocated according to the urgency of the project. You may have your sights set on replacing your home’s old vinyl siding to boost its curb appeal, but if a top-to-bottom home inspection reveals that your roof is due for replacement or the furnace is on its last legs, you might just decide there are better places to direct those limited financial resources.
Pre-emptive home inspections limit selling-time surprises
If you are planning to sell your home in the future, there’s a strong likelihood that the eventual buyer will pay to have it inspected after his or her offer has been accepted. As alluded at the beginning of this article, this is a nerve-wracking experience for buyer and seller alike. But if you, the eventual seller, have the home inspected prior to putting it on the market, you’ll be able to identify any problems in advance and work to remedy them as your time and finances allow rather than get hit with a big list of issues that have to be addressed within the relatively constrained timeline of a home sale.
Of course, different inspectors might find different issues, so a pre-emptive home inspection won’t necessarily eliminate all possible selling-time surprises. It should, however, catch any major problems and give you time to remedy them so they don’t derail the sale or force you to accept a significantly reduced offer. And even if selling isn’t on your radar, routine inspections can be a vital tool in maintaining the value of your home while maximizing your confidence in the soundness of its structure and major systems. ❦