My name is Sara Lanza. I am the Office Manager at Florida Property Detectives. As such, I spend most of my waking hours by the phone. If you call the office to schedule a home inspection or if you have any questions whatsoever, you are most likely going to be speaking with me. As a result, I take most of the orders that come through, and have a lot of firsthand experience with individuals trying to save a buck anywhere they can. Now don’t get me wrong; there is nothing wrong with trying to be wise about how you spend your hard-earned cash. By all means, do your research. See what expenses are necessary, which ones you can save for later, and which ones you can skip altogether. Your wallet will thank you.
Sometimes saving a buck is the smart thing to do. Other times, spending more upfront to avoid potential large and unforeseen costs down the road is the smart thing to do. Can you guess where your home inspection should fall on that spectrum? I’m here to tell you today that if there is one thing you should spend money on, it’s your home inspection. The home inspection tells you what exactly it is that you’re purchasing. Without it, you are parting with hundreds of thousands of dollars without having a clear understanding of what you are getting in return. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had buyers tell me after an inspection, that they were so thankful they had ended up paying a little more for the home inspection, because it ended up saving them tens of thousands of dollars in repairs.
I have also spoken with people who got burned by trying to save money on their home inspection, and ending up having to pay the bill for the repairs themselves after they had already closed on the house and moved in. One such example of this happened only a couple months ago. The buyer, I’ll call him John, wanted an inspection done on the home he was buying, but he insisted that he only needed a 4-point inspection, rather than a full home inspection, thereby saving him a couple hundred dollars. John had a family member who worked as a contractor and felt confident in his evaluation of the home being sound. We advised him that the 4-point was not as extensive as a full home inspection, and that he may be in for a nasty surprise after closing. John insisted, and not wanting to argue with a client, we complied. We sent one of our inspectors out to do the 4-point inspection, sent the report to John a day later and hoped that things would work in his favor.
Fast forward to one month later, John calls the office again. After moving into his new home, to his dismay, he had discovered electrical problems that would cost over 2000 dollars to repair. He thought we should have found that during the inspection. He told us that he would not have gone through with the purchase of the home had he known about the necessary repairs. Though we sympathized with him, we told him that because he opted for only a 4-point inspection, the inspector was not instructed to look in the area that would have revealed the flaw. We never want to leave a customer unsatisfied, so we offered John his money back, and that was the end of that. But the incident inspired me to write this blog post. This man’s well-meaning attempt at trying to save a couple hundred dollars, in the end, had cost him several thousand.
I am in the process of purchasing a house myself, so I am familiar with all of the hidden costs that seemingly come out of nowhere. I know that it adds up quickly and it can be overwhelming. But as an individual who also works in the home inspection industry and has witnessed the good, the bad and the ugly with other home buyers during the inspection process, I implore you not to skimp on the home inspection. Give yourself peace of mind knowing that all of the cards are on the table, and that you won’t be the recipient of a costly surprise a few months down the line.
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