Home inspection, is it worth it?

We won’t be endorsing our home inspector. Why? Because already within the first month of living in our new home, we’ve had mechanical issues that should have been caught by a competent inspector.

Your realtor may recommend an inspector, but whenever possible do some homework ahead, ask around, check references of the person you will pay in the neighborhood of $500 for 2-3 hours of work.

If we had to do things over again, I think we may have been better off asking an electrician, plumber, HVAC, Cable or other communications company, and a septic guy to come out and check out our systems. All have had fairly serious and obvious issues.

Here’s our lists:

Completed or in process:

  1. Cable and phone lines were cut inside the house during remodeling making essentially a new installation necessary, and, in a rather complicated way since the new walls boxed in access. It took three tries on three different days to get live hookup to the house. Cost $369.
  2. The washer waste water line was incorrectly hooked directly up to the auger pump that pumps the water up and out to the septic tank. It also was not vented correctly which caused sewer gas to be dispersed directly into the walls and the upstairs of the house. Both of these issues were found by my husband. The plumbing cost was $550. Steve the plumber is my new boyfriend.
  3. The capacitor blew out on our AC. This kind of damage is commonly caused by a power surge. The fix was small at just $96, but the source of the surge needs repair/replacement…
  4. The electrical service panel is all loosy goosy and of the quality that is no longer allowed by code. We are having that replaced. In assessing the system, a bypass was discovered that goes to our AC straight from the meter. Clearly the cause for the power surge. The bypass was obvious to the electrician who looked at it, within 2 minutes of being in our house. Cost to replace around $2,000 plus I won’t be able to work during the hours the power is off. Work is scheduled for next week.

To be scheduled:

  1. Septic inspection and possible tank replacement. We have never yet had our septic system inspected because an electrical line was installed across the top of the septic system distribution box. Once that has been moved, we can get our septic inspector in to take a look and repair or replace what needs to be done. Cost: could be $1500, could be $25,000.
  2. Sump pump waste line needs rerouting. Currently it dumps out of a pipe that lays on top of the ground, right into the area that probably feeds back into the drain field for the sump. Bad ideas. Fix for this will likely run around $400.
  3. AC drain needs to be routed. Currently the AC drain drips onto the ground at the foundation of the house. This is the easiest and lowest cost fix.
  4. Chimney needs to be cleaned and inspected. This was not done by our inspector.
  5. Pest control needs to be scheduled. While the seller provided proof of pest inspection, it is by no means complete and peripheral at best. There was reported to be rodent damage in the attic. We have no evidence there still are rodents but just to be sure we want an inspection.

Here’s the thing, given enough time in the home, we would have spotted these things.

Trust your gut.

Ask for time in the house.

Bother your realtor. It’s their job. 

Ask your expert friends to take a look, or hire some experts to come take a look.

Our inspector was very chatty with our realtor. He barely paid 2 hours of attention to our house. I asked questions but I was excited to be in the house again and did not have time ahead of the inspector to develop more questions. If there is anything I’ve learned from proofreading it takes several sets of eyes.

Afterwards, we pointed things out to our inspector and asked for corrections in his report. He agreed on the phone but never produced additional documentation. Your inspector should provide a detailed report for you. Your purchase contract may stipulate that a copy of the inspection is provided to the seller. Be sure that happens especially if there are issues. Our realtor never did provide a copy to the seller, a fellow realtor. I’m going to give them all the benefit of the doubt here, but the work on this house was under the quality it was reported to be.

Here’s the other thing, buying a home can get emotional, and one can get caught up in being nice or sweet so as to not offend the seller…possibly affecting the deal. This is what happened to us. We wanted the house, so we went along with some things we should not have. Do not do as we did. Never ever take out of a contract the stipulation based on satisfactory home inspection. This is the biggest purchase of your life, you are entitled to make good decisions based on good facts. Do not rush or let yourself be rushed. A seller with integrity will either want to sell you a house in good condition or allow reductions to reflect the condition. Think it doesn’t matter? Remember our lists above.

***

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About Robin Arnold

Reader, writer, gardener, geek, maker of homes in several states, now settled in Virginia with husband Bob, and Hazel and Wilson the tabby cats.
This entry was posted in House hunt & homemaking. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Home inspection, is it worth it?

  1. yes it seems that caution and less emotion seem to be good take aways – thanks for the thoughts.

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