How to get the best out of a home inspection

There’s no argument that paying to have a home inspected by a professional before you buy it is money well spent* if the property turns out to be problematic.

However, says Berry Everitt, MD of the Chas Everitt International property group, it can also be money very well spent even if the findings are positive and you decide to go ahead with the purchase.

Writing in the Property Signposts newsletter, he says: “For a start, the inspector’s report should give you a good picture of exactly what has happened to that property since it was first built. You will know, for example, if there were any major problems with the original construction that had to be attended to – even if these are no longer an issue.

“You will also know whether there have been any additions or alterations over the years, where they are and whether they were well built. And you should also have a much better idea of the quality of the materials and parts that went into the home – bricks, doors, windows, geysers, wiring and plumbing, for example - and how long they are likely to last.”

In short, says Everitt, having a home inspected is a bit like having it x-rayed, and should give you the same sort of immediate insight into its history and probable future.

“This is very valuable, because while you can easily see when a kitchen or bathroom has been remodelled, for example, and will probably not need any attention for several years, it can take quite a while to get to know the unseen aspects of a new home and its maintenance and upkeep requirements.

“You may not realise, for example, that the roof which is in such good condition now will need waterproofing every two years to keep it nice, or that you need to budget to have machinery such as borehole and pool pumps regularly serviced. In fact, most people tend to deal with such aspects of home ownership on an ad hoc basis, which can play havoc with their finances.
“With a detailed home inspection report in hand, however, you should be able to plan a proper preventative maintenance and replacement schedule for your home and have the peace of mind that comes with being able to budget ahead of time for these costs – and protect your investment in the process.”

*Home inspections generally cost around R3500 to R5000 and should be done by a company registered with the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI).

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