Home Inspection: How Often Should I Have My Home Inspected?
‘How often should I have my home inspected?’ is very easy question for me to answer now. I recommend having your home inspected every 3-5 years. Why is it an easy answer? As a realtor, I’ve heard about sales falling through due to home inspection results. As a homeowner, I’ve seen firsthand what can happen when you defer maintenance.
Patchwork Fixes Don’t Work
Patching, re-caulking and painting over may give you temporary relief but may just hide serious problems. A minor ‘leak’ can lead to dry rot and wall replacement. Our previous home had a front skylight and rear-facing windows that would drip when rain hit it from a specific direction. Each time, we would put down towels to catch the water and then re-caulk, re-flash and paint.
With our skylights, the leak led to water stains inside and outside of our house. Over 15 years, we hired several contractors to repair the drywall and re-seal the skylight. Our second to last contractor even opened up the wall below the skylight, saw no problems and patched it back up. The dripping inside slowed but it was staining the same outside. Just before we put our house on the market, a home inspection identified serious issues with our main entrance. Our contractor opened the wall and found 20′ of ceiling to floor damage to our homes framing.
Years of repairs were just concealing the effects of a leaking skylight. We were fortunate that our pre-inspection found the real problem before our house was under contract. Of course, had we addressed the issue earlier, it would’ve been a fraction of the cost to repair.
Northwest Homes and Mold
A contractor friend of mine told me a major problem with homes on Bainbridge Island is mold and mildew. Island homes are generally surrounded by trees and two-thirds of the year, moisture. Add an improperly ventilated bathroom fan to the mix and you have a perfect mold breeding ground. Attics are notorious and just warm enough to promote mold growth. My friend told me about a homeowner who was alerted to black mold during his home’s final inspection. Hazmat suits and thousands of dollars later, the mold was removed but the deal was off. A disconnected bathroom ceiling fan was the culprit and feeding the mold warm moist air for years. Because it wasn’t detected, the mold had spread through a large portion of the attic space.
Cosmetic Inspection Items
Some home inspection items are cosmetic and can be deferred. Good examples include double-pane windows with broken seals, painting and worn carpeting. By replacing your windows at one time, you may get quantity pricing and save on installation costs. Painting and carpeting: if you have an active household, repaint or replace only if you want to. Pets and kids are going to continue being pets and kids and add to the wear and tear.
Regular Doctor Visit = Regular Home Inspection
Not selling your home anytime soon? Great! I still recommend having your home inspected by a professional every 3-5 years. A great way to understand home maintenance is to liken your home to your body. Making regular doctor visits is preventative; it’s about discovery and finding problems before they manifest. Same idea applies to your home and future home value.
Have any questions or need home inspector recommendations? Please email me and I’ll forward that information to you.