Owning a home is a big investment. You need to know how to maintain it. We're not talking about washing windows and painting the trim, although those are good things to do.
We're talking about the structure and systems of your home. Things that keep your home running, such as the electrical, septic, and heating systems. So, how do you know when those things need maintenance?
A house inspection can tell you.
The most common time to get a house inspection is when you're in the initial stages of buying a home. But is that the only time you need one?
The answer is no. There are other times to consider a house inspection. To decide when to get one, you need to know why you should have it done in the first place.
Here are the most important reasons you'd need a house inspection - and how often to do it.
What's the Best Time for a House Inspection?
You should have routine house inspections, but how often? Here are some indicators that can help you decide.
Consider the following situations to determine when you need a house inspection.
1. Taking Ownership
When you buy or take ownership of any house, you should have it inspected. This helps identify any problems with the structure, electrical, and plumbing systems so you don't end up paying a fortune on repairs. It may even give you some leverage with the sale price.
Here are some of the major areas a house inspection will cover:
- All aspects of the roof, including tiles, shingles, and the underboard
- Structural elements, such as the foundation, framing, and joints
- Basements and crawlspaces
- Heating and cooling systems
- Water and septic systems
- Electrical, including wiring, lighting, and outlets
When you take ownership, get a home inspection so you know what you're getting into. You don't want unexpected damage to show up later.
2. Local Weather
Some climates are harsher than others. Homes that are in wet, cold, or windy areas need inspections more often.
Basements and crawl spaces flood in areas that are wet and swampy from excessive rain or snow. This can cause damage to wooden framing and even crack cement. Mold growth is also a problem in wet climates.
Roofing and siding get damage from hail and wind. Shingles tend to come loose or lose their waterproofing in these climates. Tile can become cracked in climates that heat up and cool down.
A newer home might not need a house inspection as often as an older one. The older your house gets, the more often you should have it checked for wear and tear.
Building materials are prone to damage, especially in harsh weather. Some need to be replaced every few years. Here's a good schedule to follow according to the age of your home.
New to 5 years old: Initial inspection, then a five-year inspection
5 to 10 years: Every two years
10 years old and older: Once or twice a year, depending on climate
Don't let your home age without a house inspection. Keeping it in good shape can reduce the repair costs less in the long run.
4. Renting Your Home
Considering renting your home out? You'll want to have a house inspection before you start.
It's a good idea to get a house inspection between renters too. The plumbing, electrical, heating, and cooling systems are all vulnerable to wear and tear.
5. Natural Disasters
Do you live in tornado alley or on the coast where hurricanes are common? How about earthquake territory? Disaster-prone areas call for more frequent home inspections.
If you do experience a natural disaster, have a home inspection immediately. You want to make sure there's no major damage.
Get Your House Inspected
Take a look at your house and consider the situations above. Is it time for a house inspection?
Don't wait until it's too late. Schedule one as soon as possible.
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