Monday, January 20, 2020

Do Home Inspections matter?

Do Not Ignore the Inspection!

There are two common types of home inspections. 

Presale Inspection: You should have one done before you buy a home. Do not let someone talk you out of this. They may "know" the home is in great condition, but you want to make sure it is. You should get the inspector yourself so you know they are working for you and not your realtor. Nothing against realtors, but their motivation is to get you to buy the house. Your motivation is to buy a home in good condition. I strongly urge you to go to the presale inspection and walk with the inspector. Listen to him/her. Ask questions as he/she walks. This is going to be your home. Make sure you know what you are getting into. Maybe you are a Do-It-Yourself kind of homeowner and you are looking forward to doing some repairs. Great! But if you are not, then it is a nightmare to buy a house and realize (after the closing) that there is major repair work to be done. There are some things you absolutely want to know about before you buy the house! The carrier doesn't want to insure a hazard they will most likely have to pay to repair/replace in the next few years. And you (as the homeowner) do not want to buy a house that will not protect you the way your home should.

Carrier Inspection: Most carriers will conduct a home inspection. They usually employ a third part inspection company to complete the inspection.  It is the carrier who will pay out the claims, so they want to make sure it is a good risk going in. One of the most common issues on a carrier inspection is roof condition. Often we get an Underwriting notice citing the roof condition from the inspection. When we reach out to the client, they tell us their home inspection said the roof was just fine. Many times the presale inspection didn't say the roof was fine. It might have said replacement was a good idea but the client didn't walk and talk to the inspector so they didn't read the inspection. Even if the presale inspection does say the roof is in fine condition, the carrier's inspection may disagree. Now, you can argue all you want, but the carrier can still cancel the policy if you do not make repairs. 

The best way to avoid a bad carrier inspection is to make sure you have a good presale inspection!

Things to Look for during a PreSale Home Inspection

Exterior of the Home

Windows: Depending on the age of the windows, you may need to replace them. At the very least, they need to be caulked once a year to keep them energy efficient.  
Tree Trimming: Tree limbs hitting the roof or side of the house will need to be trimmed back away from the house. If they are hitting the home, they will cause additional wear on the roof/siding. 
Termites: Hollowed or Damaged Wood. Wood damage can be found below and behind surfaces like walls, floors and windows.

Interior of the Home

Heating/Air: Filters need to be change twice a year. If they have not been, the buildup in the filters will make the system very inefficient, particularly for people with allergies. In some cases, the system will need to be replaced.
Water Heater: Most hot water heaters need to be replaced after 15 years. If your hot water heater breaks down, it is expensive and a royal pain to replace. 
Ventilation / Insulation: Ventilation and Insulation matter most in the attic. If either are in poor condition, you will have increased energy bills and possible increased damage to your roof (from the inside)

Roof: Carriers (and hopefully you!) would require the condition of the roof to last at least 5 years. With all of the wind/hail/storms we have here is Texas, roofs rarely last longer than 10 years. If you are looking at a house with a roof over 10 years old, it is a strong possibility the inspector will inspect the roof closely, looking for any indication the roof will not last. And many carriers will not insure a roof over 10 years old.
Electrical: Older homes may have quite a bit of electrical work to replace. Many carriers will not insure homes with fuse boxes so you may have to replace it with an updated breaker box. 

Presale Home Inspections look for issues that can be improved.  Carriers Inspections look for hazards that are more likely to cause a claim pay out  in the near future. They do not want to intentionally take on that risk. Since they are the ones that will pay out thousands or more, the carrier gets to decide if they want to take on the risk. You, as the homeowner, can disagree. But you will most likely NOT change their mind. So again, intentionally look at your home inspection before you buy the home.

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