Consider tagging along with a house detective

  • A licensed home inspector will tell you things you need to know about your new home, such as the condition of windows, plumbing, electrical panel, furnace and air conditioner.

    A licensed home inspector will tell you things you need to know about your new home, such as the condition of windows, plumbing, electrical panel, furnace and air conditioner. Stock photos

  • An inspector will look closely at ceilings to spot signs of previous water damage.

    An inspector will look closely at ceilings to spot signs of previous water damage.

  • When buying a new house, it is advised that you hire a qualified home inspector before closing.

    When buying a new house, it is advised that you hire a qualified home inspector before closing.

  • Home inspectors document major, as well as minor, flaws in a home.

    Home inspectors document major, as well as minor, flaws in a home.

 
By Marilyn Kennedy Melia
CTW Features
Posted4/24/2020 6:00 AM

Buyers don't see a home as it is, but envision what it could be.

And, that vision is usually rosy, with excited imaginings of how furniture will fit or how much room there'll be to entertain.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

That's why it's highly recommended that buyers -- especially first-timers -- attend the home inspection, to glean a more mundane, but utterly practical view.

Besides, after making an offer, it's the buyer who hires a professional to uncover any serious flaws that must be addressed before closing.

Many purchasers don't accompany the inspector through his basement to roof inspection -- which can last two hours or more -- but instead arrive at the end for a review, says Michael Casey, a certified Pauma Valley, California, inspector.

Nearly all buyers do arrive at the end of the inspection, says Kathryn Bishop, agent with Keller Williams, Studio City, California.

Ironically, it's buyers who are already homeowners and who feel ill-equipped in the art of home maintenance who ask to trek along the entire inspection, Bishop says.

"This is a major learning experience for any homebuyer, but especially for first-time buyers," says Kathy Dames, owner of RE/MAX Ultimate Professionals in Plainfield.

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"They will learn about all the components of a home -- electrical system, foundation, roof, plumbing and its fixtures and heating."

By listening to the narrative by the inspector as he goes through the home, "there may be some tips mentioned specific to the house," Casey says.

Don't expect an inspector to make predictions on when home systems and appliances will fail and need to be replaced. However, they provide descriptions of current conditions. For example, shares Casey, "We would say the furnace's expected service life is about 30 years, but may be reduced due to lack of maintenance, and recommend that it be serviced" and evaluated by a heating contactor.

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