You probably think you need a home inspector only when buying a home. They are invaluable in those moments when you’re about to make one of the largest investments of your entire life. When you hire a home inspector, they can make sure you’re buying with confidence, and in the event that there are significant issues with the home, you’ve been informed.
After settling into your new home, you might consider upgrades, additions, or maybe something that needs attention. If you call a contractor or tradesperson, you’ll get all sorts of information and quotes and be left working through them to make sense of everything you’ve been told.
How do you know if any of these quotes and scope of work are reasonable? How can you learn about the process, and determine which solutions are best or work best for your lifestyle or budget? How do you know the tradesperson is not just adding to the scope because they benefit from selling that job and the work they get from it? These are just some of the many questions when you’re getting work done on your home or seeking quotes.
Who can you turn to? Home inspectors. A home inspector is a perfect consultant when you’re thinking of doing any kind of work to your home, or if you need to search for and diagnose a problem. Home inspectors have a broad range of expertise and knowledge, and they have a keen understanding of how home systems work and how they are interrelated. So, if you’re trying to assess a contractor’s scope of work or any other home project, consult a home inspector to get an unbiased perspective.
The best part about hiring a home inspector as a consultant for your home is that they have no “skin in the game” - a home inspector consulting with you will get no additional benefit besides their fee, and they have no agenda to sell you on projects, components, systems, or anything else. Home Inspectors are also typically obligated to guard against conflicts of interest and get no “kickbacks” or other benefits from recommending anyone.
A home inspector can review your plans, ideas, thoughts, and needs, and help sort through what the scope might be for a planned project. They can help you get a sense of what systems will be impacted, what the order of the project might be, and how your life will be impacted by the work. They can evaluate the scope, the plans, and other documentation to assess whether or not a contractor’s bid looks right. They can look for key ommissions in a bid, or help anticipate unexpected surprises, and help control cost overruns if a bid is not comprehensive enough. They can assess whether or not the specified equipment has a good track record, or if the components are associated with a poor reputation. Home inspectors can provide that necessary “big picture” without worrying about offending the contractor because they’re there to help you.
If a contractor is telling you that they want to replace a component or system, or they scope of a repair is surprising, you can hire a home inspector to look at the issue and assess whether or not the contractor’s repair makes sense, and is a reasonable solution to the problem.
If you have a problem in your home and you don’t know what’s causing it, or can’t isolate it- this problem needs diagnostics, and home inspectors are the perfect person to do that for you. They typically have tools like infrared cameras and moisture meters (among others) to determine where a problem originates. Most importantly though, they’ve seen this all before. They know what to look for, how to hunt down an issue, what conditions are typical in various types of homes, periods of construction, and systems.
Upgrading systems can impact multiple other systems and may trigger other issues and/or systems to need work or replacement. How will you know if that’s the case? How can you get this key information from someone who can consider the interrelatedness of home systems? Turn to a home inspector!
There is a lot of publicity, emphasis, and new information about new types of systems, and there are as many, or more, opinions about them. Industry, government, and utility incentives influence those opinions, so how do you know you’re getting a straight answer? Who’s got your back when the HVAC contractor is telling you that their opinion is the only way to go? A home inspector is the perfect consultant to sort through your options and help you see what is the best option for you.
When you’re adding cooling to your home, other systems and components are impacted. Sometimes it is just hard to assess how it will fit into your current home’s configuration and to consider all these implications. Who better to assess the HVAC system’s capabilities and configuration than a home inspector? None! They can help you work with your HVAC contractor to make decisions that make the most sense for you.
Electrical systems are generally complex in homes, especially in old homes, where legacy wiring components span over a hundred years in some cases. How do you know if you need to rewire the home, replace some or all components, or if you don’t have to do anything? What if you want to install solar or a car charger? How does that impact your electrical system? How do you know your electrician is giving you the straight story? Call a home inspector.
Structural concerns are worrisome. They can keep you up at night. They can make you worry about your home’s safety, and they can make you worry about your bank account. But how do you know if your problem is a sign of a more serious concern or just a typical issue found in homes of your type and age? You’ll want to get some perspective from someone who’s been in hundreds and hundreds of homes just like yours - same age, type, construction method, building materials - and so they have expertise in this area. They’ve seen pretty much everything that can go wrong in a home like yours. And if they think it warrants structural repairs or specialized analysis they will direct you to a structural engineer.
Let’s say you are replacing your roof. What is in the bid? What materials, and what additional work did they include? What did they not include? Why are three different roofers’ bids so wildly different? How do you know what’s going to be the best solution to this roof replacement if it is not clear who's doing the most comprehensive work? Call a home inspector!
Do you have water entry somewhere but can’t figure out where it’s coming from? Do you have water in your basement? A home inspector can help. We trace out leaks, find them, and figure out what’s causing them.
If you or a family member is aging in place, there might be some important safety upgrades and other considerations. Consult a Home Inspector to help you assess what needs to be done, and how to make the home safe for aging occupants.
Do you have a family or vacation home you haven’t updated or assessed recently? We can help! A home inspector is an ideal consultant to help you assess the current condition of your home and help you prioritize what needs to be done to get it operating in the best way possible and to help ensure that the home lasts for many years to come.
We consult with clients frequently to help them sort through these concerns/issues - and they are typically extremely relieved to have someone there who can speak frankly and without selling them anything. Home Inspectors typically charge an hourly rate for this type of work - sometimes with a minimum site visit charge. A home inspector is the ideal consultant who can work in your best interest, giving you the most comprehensive analysis and unbiased opinion.