Thinking about renovating your home? Before you start making plans, think about your house for a moment. What kind of shape is it in? How many years before you have to replace your roof shingles? Can the electrical system handle additional demand? When was the last time someone looked at your plumbing system? Are there repairs and maintenance work that should be done before or at the same time?
A home inspection can provide you with the information you need for a well-planned approach to home maintenance and renovations. This helps you get the most out of your renovation dollars and protects your home investment.
What are the benefits of home inspection?
An inspection checks on the physical condition of your home by examining its structure and systems. Whether it is a pre-renovation examination by a professional renovator or a third-party assessment of the entire home by a home inspector, an inspection should be tailored to give you the information that you need for making decisions. Vancouver Home Builders believes you should consider the following:
- A pre-purchase inspection on a resale home helps you assess the condition of the home you are considering buying — is it structurally sound, which repairs or replacements may be needed immediately or in the foreseeable future? When you buy with the intent to renovate, an inspection can give you a realistic impression of what is needed to bring the home up to the standard you want.
- If you have lived in your home for a number of years and consider making changes, a complete inspection can give you a “snap-shot” of the condition of your home — a starting point for a full plan of renovation and ongoing home maintenance.
- An inspection can identify particular problems that need immediate attention. This can be useful in older homes or ones needing repair, where problems such as faulty wiring or defective heating equipment may not be immediately apparent.
- A common reason for cost overruns on renovation is the “unexpected”. An inspection will help to reduce surprises that can throw your renovation budget and schedule off track.
- An inspection can help you assess your renovation ideas — can it be done, what it will take, and what impact the work may have on the rest of the house? A house is really a “system” of interrelated parts. Change one part, and you may affect others. For instance, an addition may require a larger furnace or an upgraded electrical panel. Or new energy-efficient windows may necessitate better ventilation in the whole house.
- For effective long-term planning and budgeting, it is important to know when to expect major home maintenance expenses. An inspection can make it easier to plan for future expenses, such as furnace and roof replacement.
Most commonly, inspections are done by a professional renovator or a home inspector. Your choice will depend on your reasons for having an inspection done, and the type of information you need.
Pre-renovation assessment services provided by professional renovators can vary greatly. The best idea is to discuss it with the renovation contractors you are interviewing. To begin with, professional renovators will automatically examine the parts of your house involved in the renovation in order to estimate and plan your project – that’s simply part of doing a professional job. Many renovators will also routinely identify repairs and upgrades that make economical sense to include in your renovation plans.
If the renovator is designing your project, the design phase usually includes a thorough inspection. (On large jobs, this may entail a “feasibility study” and, occasionally, inspections by a structural engineer or other specialists.) Before you buy a resale home, professional renovators can offer preliminary cost estimates for upgrading and renovating. Beyond that, some renovators may offer additional assessment services.
If you want a third-party assessment of the condition of your home, you can hire a home inspector. Also check with your municipal office, real estate offices or homebuilders’ association. Before you hire a home inspector, ask about qualifications, references and proof of errors and omission insurance. Inquire about cost and what’s included.
Ask for a written inspection report that describes everything in detail and share the results with your renovator. Together, you will be able to develop estimated costs, a list of priorities and a schedule of work for renovations, repairs and replacements that are right for you and your budget.