Do You Really Need A Home Inspection?


A short answer is YES. Everyone needs a home inspection, even a professional flipper or investor. Home inspection isn’t about the insignificant loose faucet, a stained carpet, or a broken light fixture. For some buyers, it’s about the costs to make it turnkey. For other it’s the big-ticket items? Big replacement cost items but not limited to are windows, door, fence, HVAC, water heater, roof, flooring, electrical wiring, plumbing, kitchen and bath remodeling, removing acoustic ceiling aka popcorn ceiling, stucco repair, asbestos removal, cracks in the foundation or chimney, slab leak, etc. Home inspectors only give a general view of an inspection. They are not specialists in all aspects of the home inspection. If you would like an in-depth expertise on the subject matter, then bring in a craftsman for the specific field, such as an electrician, plumber, asbestos removal, etc. An expert can also provide the buyer with the repair or replacement costs. Most of the subject matter experts will come out without cost, especially if you worked with them in the past.

A home inspector sometimes sees issues that many buyers don’t see or can’t because it’s out of reach, such as bubbling or blistering roof. As an investor, in addition to the home inspector, I would bring in my own plumber, a roofer if it’s dated, signs of broken tiles, leaks in the attic or ceilings. Other than the obvious beaming light that can be seen from the attic or water stains, granules on your gutter or ground. A composite shingle roof can cost $20000 plus depending on the size of your home. If your roof is tiled, many roofers charge about $2000 to replace broken or missing tiles. Tile roof lasts much longer than composite shingles, especially concrete tiles as opposed to clay tiles. Luckily for Irvine residents, most of the homes here are tiled.

What about heating and air? Replacing an old furnace and condenser without touching the vents starting at $7500. It will cost more if you would like to get a permit. If you live in a PUD or an association, an architectural improvement may be required depending whether it’s a condo or single-family resident (SFR). One may have to get the neighbors to sign off on the ‘neighbor awareness form’, especially in Irvine. Another added cost if the condenser is on the rooftop as a crane is required for lifting. Please make sure the HVAC people are licensed and insured because the HOA will hold the owner liable for damages cause by the contractors. It’s difficult to tell how long a condenser will last. Some HVAC system lasts 10 years and some lasts over 30 years. Having said that, the newer system has a higher energy efficiency, therefore saving you money.

Another high-ticket item are windows and doors. If you have single pane windows and you intend to live there comfortably during the summer and winter seasons, it will cost lots of money, especially if the door is a wide non-standard size slider. A front door with installation will run about $3500. If the water heater is 10 plus years, chances are it’s going to stop working at any moment. A 75 gal. water heater will set you back about $1000 without labor.

Slab leak are plumbers’ two favorite words. Depending on the circumstance, it may require finding the source of the leak, opening up the flooring, cutting through the concrete and so on. Some plumbers will find an economic alternative by rerouting the plumbing and some will repair it the way it was built, which will cost more. For example, I bought a fixer-upper directly from the owner with three bathrooms and not one of them worked properly. The upstairs toilet was leaking to the downstairs kitchen. The downstairs bathroom was getting water through a hose running from the kitchen. Instead of cutting into concrete, my plumbing used PEX to reroute the plumbing through walls and ceilings. The thing about slab leak is that the leak could have been going on for a while. It may start out as a pin-hole leak and eventually pushes the water and sand/dirt up to the surface.

All in all, home inspection is a great investment whether it costs $350 or $550. The buyer typically pays for the inspection. It’s worth every penny. It’s highly recommended that the buyer is present during an inspection. After the inspection is done, an information book or e-book will be provided to the buyer to make an informed decision. Buyer will have an opportunity to ask the seller for repairs, or cash to help pay for closing costs in lieu of repair, or cancel escrow. Of course, in a hot or sellers’ market, this likely won’t happen, especially when there are multiple offers over the list price.