Do I Need a Home Inspection?

Do I Need A Home Inspection?

Do you own a home?  Are you planning on buying or selling? If so – you need a home inspection! Whether you are buying a home, selling your home or have unanswered questions about your current home, a home inspection can help avoid unplanned expenses or save you the surprise of a major repair or worse. Having a licensed home inspector evaluate what is most likely your largest investment, can give you peace of mind or it can uncover major issues lurking just beyond your view or knowledge. There are 3 primary reasons YOU should get a home inspection.

1. Safety, Safety, Safety

Regardless of your current situation, if your home has not been inspected, you may be living in a home that could be unsafe. From the building materials the home was built with to the condition of the electrical components and wiring, there could be danger that is not apparent. As an inspector, I have seen many issues over the years. I am reminded about an inspection I was performing for a seller. The home was a beautiful lake home, old – but well cared for.  The seller wanted to know if there were any issues that she should take care of before selling the home. During the inspection, I removed the cover from the breaker panel to discover a wire that was arcing. It was melting and the breaker was not tripping. If the panel had not been inspected, there could have been significant damage – if not a major loss. Having an inspection can uncover numerous safety issues that could have an impact on you, your family or your buyer.

Other Safety Concerns

In addition to standard home inspections, there are other inspections that can be performed to keep the occupants safe. In some areas, radon can be prevalent. Knowing if your home has elevated radon levels can prevent major health issues in the future. The EPA estimates that radon causes 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year in the United States. Testing for and mitigating radon, if necessary, can save lives. Radon can occur in any type of home, anywhere in the United States, so don’t assume your home is radon free.

2. Avoid Surprises

For the Seller

You’ve signed a contract and you are on track to either buy or sell a home. This can be one of the most exciting and rewarding events in your life – but houses can have problems. As a seller, having a pre-listing inspection can bring your attention to any major issues that should be corrected prior to listing. In some cases, this may even increase the amount you will list your house for. I have gone into many crawlspaces and found significant termite or moisture damage that the seller had no idea existed. The buyer will expect the seller to correct these issues or make significant concessions and if this catches you by surprise, this could change everything for you as a seller. Maybe you needed your full contract price to afford the down payment on the home you are wanting to relocate to or maybe you were unprepared to fork out $10,000 on a new bathroom floor… it is better to know these things before your buyer points them out for you.

For the Buyer

As a buyer, it’s more of an obvious decision to have an inspection. In the age of DIY, there are many “improvements” that can turn into money pits for the buyer. Having an inspector review those improvements will help the buyer make informed decisions – even if it looks good, it doesn’t mean that it was done right. Another issue is that most buyers and buyers’ agents will not venture into the depths of an attic or a spider filled crawlspace, but your inspector will. Many times, those surprises are in those areas. Knowing about all of these issues that your potential new home has will help you make the decision to buy as-is, have the issues corrected or walk away.  Just be sure that if you choose to walk, that you carefully review your contract. Your realtor will prove to be invaluable in this situation.

3. Protect Your Investment

So, you’ve spent potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars on your new home… Congratulations.  If you had a comprehensive home inspection, you know your investment is sound. However, if you didn’t have an inspection you only know what you can see or what your experience tells you about your home. Perhaps it looks good, smells good and the lights come on. That’s great… but what if there is a damaged wire in the panel that you can’t see? Or what if there is a small drip coming down into the crawlspace because of a pinhole leak that is growing in your bathroom wall? Or, what if your HVAC system – which was already struggling at the time of purchase has a catastrophic failure… in July? All of these things can cost you more money in the long term than it would if you knew about it months or years earlier.


I often think of the hundreds of families that I’ve had to give the bad news to. The house that they fell in love with has a major issue. Then I think about the heartache, the money and potentially their safety that has been saved. The failure to have a home inspection would have surely cost money in all of those cases. Most likely far more than the cost of an inspection – but it could have also resulted in tragedy. The reasons to have a home inspection should be clear. For your family’s safety – schedule an inspection. To avoid surprises in a real estate transaction, definitely have an inspection. If you want to protect your largest investment, be informed about the condition of your home and have an inspection. Consider these 3 reasons to have a home inspection and then consider how much not knowing about a problem could cost you. How could you afford not to have a home inspection?

Brandon Vaughn

Brandon Vaughn

Brandon is a licensed home inspector in the state of South Carolina.

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