Home Inspections: How Important Are They?

Posted by Phil Boren on Saturday, November 23rd, 2013 at 2:16pm.

Home Inspections: How important are they?  Buying a Placer County home involves a lot of steps, one of which is usually getting a home inspection.  On a typical single-family home the cost of the inspection is often in the range of $400, so a lot of buyers ask the question, "how important is this step?"  On a brand new home, buyers sometimes feel like the expense might be an even bigger waste, since everything's new and should be built to current building-code requirements.  That's a good theory, but in practice it's not uncommon to find even a brand new home with flaws that are exposed in a home inspection.

In our experience, getting a home inspection done on any home you buy is not only worth the money spent, it can actually end up being a life-saver - even with a brand new home.  In California, the home inspection is only part of what's commonly referred to as being part of the buyer's overall property "investigation", which can include a lot of things like zoning, the neighborhood, title review, easements, etc.  But the home inspection is often the most costly investigation buyers face, and the one questioned the most.  And, while there's no law that requires a buyer to do a home inspection, it's risky business to close escrow without one.

Professional home inspectors focus on the obvious major components and systems in any home, i.e. the foundation, roof, HVAC, electrical, plumbing, etc.  But they can also find less obvious issues that can be equally as important as major components, like faulty appliances, reversed polarity on electrical outlets, the age of expensive items like the water heater, poor drainage, clogged gutters, signs of water intrusion, and many more.  Even if the seller opts not to address an issue that comes up in an inspection, it's still an opportunity for the buyer to be aware of a potential problem and prepare themselves to deal with it appropriately.

When the NorCal real estate market heats up and home buyers find themselves competing for available properties, you can find those who will advocate waiving certain contractual contingencies (like inspections), in order to make an offer more attractive to the seller.  This an option and strategy that a home buyer can consider and it might even be appropriate in certain circumstances, but as a rule we think it's generally good practice to get a home inspection when buying any home.

If you have questions about Northern California real estate, feel free to contact us at 916-960-8895.


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Phil Boren
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