Reduce rip-off risk: Do a really good home inspection on your existing home.

Home inspections are not just for buyers or sellers. Having a professional inspection of your existing home can reap benefits for years to come.

I recently did an inspection where the sellers were providing an inspection report from 4 years ago. This report was one of those useless checklist types in a small binder. It contained many pictures of theoretical conditions that did not apply to the house in question. I flipped through it, and struggled to find any issues identified with the house. I thought that type of report had disappeared long ago, but I guess they are still out there. This is the type of inspection and report that has given the industry a bad reputation over the years, and contributed to the call for licensing of the profession. It was a reminder that the report I have developed over the last 13 years is probably one of the best available in the home inspection market. As an aside, if you are a home buyer, keep in mind a 4 year-old home inspection is too old to be relied upon. A lot can happen in 4 years. At this house, a foundation crack had opened up considerably since a parging coat had been applied. That parging was fresh when the last inspection was done, and the foundation cracks would have been concealed.

The ProVantage report is written in an Issue-Action-Risk format. What I saw- the recommendations-risks of inaction. It is written in full sentences that make sense, not cryptic jargon. Each issue (defect) is assigned a priority of 1,2 or 3, with 1 being the highest. The report comes in two parts. Firstly, the full electronic report with defect photos, issues and description of the house. Secondly a word document list of issues in table format. The table can be sorted or cut and pasted as required. This table becomes the to-do list.

Consider a home inspection on the home you already own, for the following benefits:

1)     Separate the important issues: Often homeowners are stressed about issues that may not be that important

2)     Reduce risk of contractor rip-off. Knowing priorities and risks means you can make smarter purchasing decisions.

3)     Develop a to-do list and rough budget for the upcoming years.