Saving Money With Home Inspectors
Mar. 27, 2007 (KABC) -- Your home may be the biggest investment of your life, but maintaining it can turn it into a money pit. When your ceiling cracks or your windows leak it can mean big bucks -- or maybe not. Before you call a contractor you might want to hire a home inspector.
That's because it could save you buckets of money. Home inspections are not just for buyers anymore. Here's a new trend on where to get some help for your house.
When homeowner Joan, who doesn't want to use her last name, noticed peeling paint cracks, and water around the windows, she began to worry.
"We are very concerned about mold growth and also rotting wood," says Joan.
So Joan called in a pro to tell her just how much damage she had. Nope, not a repairman -- a home inspector.
Joan: "To look it over, to try to get some assessment done before we called the contractor in."
Frank Lesh, home inspector: "It is a growing trend to call home inspectors other than for an initial inspection."
Home inspectors aren't just for home buyers. Frank Lesh, president of the American Society of Home Inspectors, says more and more homeowners are hiring inspectors to look at problems on their property.
"A lot of times, people are unaware of what's going on in their homes. They know something is wrong, but they don't know what," says Lesh.
Take Joan -- she didn't know if the fix for her windows was as simple as re-caulking or as big as replacing everything. Lesh says an inspector can answer questions like these before you call a contractor and that can save you big bucks.
Lesh: "If there is not a problem, the home inspector can just say, 'You know what? This is normal. This is normal wear and tear. It really doesn't need an expensive fix.' "
But when repairs are a must -- like in Joan's case -- you know to fix them before things get worse.
Joan: "If we had let it go longer, I'm sure it would end up being more costly, so I think the inspection was well worth the money."
The average cost for a total home check-up is about $350, but it's less if an inspector is only looking at one specific problem. Before hiring, make sure your inspector is familiar with your style of home and...
"It's really important to look at his qualifications," says Lesh.
Joan's now armed with all the information she needs to call a contractor. And next time there's a problem? "I think we would again rely on a home inspector."
To find a list of certified inspectors in your area:
- LINK: American Society of Home Inspectors (www.ashi.org)
- LINK: Building Specs Inc. (www.buildingspecs.com)
- LINK: California Real Estate Inspection Association (www.creia.org)
- LINK: LaRocca Inspection Associates (www.laroccainspect.com)
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