After a huge downturn, the economy seems to be recovering. World trade and investments are picking up, albeit slowly, and the housing market in particular is showing signs of resurgence. Millions of homes are expected to be bought and sold, but at a time when price negotiations are understandably more vigorous, buyers and sellers alike are keener than ever on avoiding financial mistakes that could prove costly, especially now that the market is trying to turn a corner.
Only one problem: home inspections. It’s still not being done enough. People are still neglecting that one important element in buying a property, one which – if ignored – can cost them thousands of dollars.
“About a quarter of all homebuyers today aren’t getting professional home inspectors to inspect and check out their prospective homes,” says Mike Kuhn, co-author of The Pocket Idiot’s Guide to Home Inspections, and who has spent close to two decades trying to change no-inspection-needed mindsets. “Even more troubling is that only a smaller percentage of sellers acquire pre-listing home inspections, which would really be a way for them to better present their offers in an attractive and competitive way.”
After many years of witnessing – and then correcting – otherwise avoidable errors people had made while looking to buy a home, Kuhn decided to develop a practical guide to home inspections. Knowledge is power, after all. If people knew more about the process, they would know what it is for, why it’s necessary, and how it can shed light on what is a wise investment as well as on what is a possibly disastrous one.
Of course, home inspections aren’t just for buyers. Professionals in the business – like HouseMaster, the first and one of the largest home inspector franchisors in North America – employ specific techniques not just to keep buyers from acquiring someone else’s problems, but also to help sellers assess their properties and manage the defects that could possibly turn off prospects. These home inspectors review all the major, visible, and accessible components of the house and then provide clients with an objective and detailed report rating for each element – thus empowering buyers and sellers alike to make informed decisions. Moreover, companies like HouseMaster assist clients by dishing out a course or two on proper home maintenance.
“HouseMaster home inspectors usually encourage their clients to attend the inspection,” Kuhn adds, “so that they (clients) understand what the inspectors are talking about, and what it takes to operate or maintain the house. Clients can also look at home inspections as a forum where they can ask questions to the home inspectors and discuss general maintenance needs.”
‘Needs’ sounds just about right. Weeding out all sorts of trouble before the home sale can prevent financial repercussions that might prove too costly to be undone. And at a time when the house market can’t afford to once again come crashing down, buyers and sellers can at least depend on home inspectors, who’ll do the the thorough job before anything gets bought or sold.