Friday, August 18, 2006

Home inspections: love 'em, hate 'em

We just found out that our air sample tests for mold in the new house were normal. Whew! That's another chunk of change for peace of mind.

I have a love-hate relationship with home inspections. You really do have to have one when you buy a house. You're risking too much money if you don't. However, the inspectors give you the worst case scenarios--scaring you to death, then recommending you hire additional experts to confirm (like structural engineers). Expect to pay about $250 for a home inspection, and approximately $250 for any additional expertise. Make sure you get a home inspector who takes digital pictures and includes them in the reports. That is so effective when it comes to negotiating repairs with the sellers. Most people have never been in the crawl space and won't believe the floor is soaking wet until they see the gory truth in Kodak color. Seller-made repairs will more than repay your inspection fee later.

Other ways to save on home inspections: do your own pre-inspection. Come prepared to get down and dirty in the attic, crawlspace, and everywhere in between. Bring a flashlight when you go for showings. You may catch a giant foundation crack or rain-soaked roof decks and choose to look elsewhere for your next home. Save your inspection dollars for the one that's passed your thorough test first. You can also call various companies for free estimates during your inspection period. If the roof looks iffy, call a roofer, who can give you an actual figure for repair. Professional home inspectors have a rule about not telling you how much something will cost, anyway.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

how long has your home been on the market, the one you rselling that is?

madmom said...

Just a note: Home inspections in other areas may be a bit more expensive.

We're in Boulder county and we paid $400 for our inspection for this home plus an additional $100/hr for a structural engineer - the basement had some questionable issues. Also, our inspector did include a comprehensive local repair price guide. Very helpful in deciding whether buying the home was worth it!

Sounds like you found a great house! I'll be staying tuned to read how it all turns out. :-)

madmom said...

Oops! FYI: Boulder county is in Colorado.