Getting A Home Inspection Worth What You Paid
And how do you get a home inspection worth what you paid?
First of all, consider a "professional" home inspector who is certified. One of the best certifications is from the American Society of Home Inspectors. This organization provides training to its members and keeps them informed of changes in state building regulations as well as construction standards.
And what are you getting with a home inspection? You are getting a "visual" inspection of the home's structures and systems. Some operational aspects will also be checked, but keep in mind that if a problem is not apparent either from the working of a system or visual inspection, a home inspection will not necessarily find it. If you suspect something "hidden" going on, you may need to consult with a construction engineer. However, a visual inspection should find the majority of imminent or existing issues in a home.
The inspector should cover the property from top to bottom, inside and out, including: the structure, the exterior; the roof; plumbing; electrical; heating and air conditioning systems; interior; ventilation; appliances (if requested); and other aspects like fireplaces. If you are getting an inspection, be sure that all these parts of the property will be covered.
You don't just need a home inspection when you are buying a home. Here's a personal "war story": I had purchased a condominium unit from a builder (from the plans) and discovered after the unit was completed that there were some significant problems. I also suspected some building code infractions because of "truss lift" which usually (I found out after) means that the builder used "green" trusses that weren't properly dried. It was a nightmare. After using the standard approach of the "squeaky wheel gets oiled" and not getting anywhere, I hired a home inspector to come and check out my condo. He gave me a very thorough report, which I then presented to the builder at an arranged meeting. The inspector's report came with a lot more credibility than just my consumer "ranting" and I managed to get more things fixed than I might have otherwise. While it didn't completely solve my problems with the builder, it was well worth the investment to get things moving.
So, don't forget the home inspection! And it's worth it, even if you bought a brand-new home from plans. After all, no matter who you buy from, you want to be sure that the home is everything that you were told it would be.