For most people, a home inspection is a one-time thing that occurs before they buy a home. Why? Simple… everyone recognizes the importance of having a home they’re planning to buy inspected before finalizing the deal; but no one wants to continue paying for inspections on a regular basis (say annually or once every two years) after that.
But let me make a suggestion… having your home periodically inspected is exactly what you should do if you don’t want to become a victim of costly surprises. It comes down to the concept of frequent preventative maintenance versus less frequent but alarming (and costly) repairs.
Vehicles are a good example. You can either take your car in regularly for routine maintenance or not maintain it and hope you get lucky. Maintaining it well means more visits to the mechanic and more frequent payments, but it also means a much lower likelihood that a major, unexpected repair will come up. Safety is also a factor, which is why most states require vehicles to pass an annual inspection to be considered road worthy. Simply put, you can be diligent or take risk, and diligence always pays off in the long run.
Your personal health is another great example. Whether it’s an annual checkup with your family doctor or a semiannual cleaning with a dental hygienist, we all recognize the importance of preventative maintenance to maintain good health. In the medical world, this is so well accepted and understood that offices usually schedule your next checkup right away, and health insurers have started offering incentives for patients who take preventative maintenance seriously. We all recognize that maintaining continual good health offsets the likelihood of severe problems for which we may not be prepared.
It’s easy to have a mindset that we’ll wait until something goes wrong and has to be fixed before we’ll fork out money for it. After all, why would we pay money if we don’t need to? But in reality, most of us are not qualified to identify potential hazards that may lead to a costly problem, which is why experts exist in each field. I’m not a dentist, so I’m not at all capable of identifying problems with my teeth that may lead to much larger problems down the road. I’m not a mechanic, so I’m not in a position to spot a vehicle issue that may lead to a necessary repair. In any case, identifying minor problems before they turn into much bigger, more expensive problems is a cost saving practice that should be a top priority of everyone who is intent on properly managing risk and cost.
That being said, your home is a major investment – likely the biggest, in fact. Preventative maintenance for your home is especially important, yet few people take action to have preventative maintenance and routine checkups performed on their home the way they do with a doctor for their health or a mechanic for their vehicle.
Your home inspector is the expert qualified to perform a thorough checkup on your home, just like a doctor or mechanic does for your health or vehicle. After the initial inspection, you would ideally hire an inspector to perform an annual home maintenance inspection, which is a thorough checkup of your home’s condition, typically offered at a discounted price. Ideally, this checkup inspection is done annually but should be done at least once every two years, at minimum. The inspector will be able to advise you on important maintenance items that may need dealt with, defects that need immediate repair, recommendations for improving safety, and other critical items you likely wouldn’t identify or even know about on your own. The fee for this service is very reasonable and will protect your home and provide you with peace of mind that you certainly wouldn’t have if you simply waited for an obvious issue to arise.
So, in a nutshell, my suggestion is this: view your home inspector as the expert in charge of periodically evaluating your home, not just a person you’ll meet one time. Have a home maintenance inspection done at least once every two years – and ideally every year – as a form of preventative maintenance just as you do with your health and vehicle. By paying a smaller amount of money more frequently, you will likely save money in the long run and offset many unwelcome and expensive surprises.
*To visit our main website, go to http://www.hillinspections.com