Do you need a home inspection if the seller and your agent say there are no issues with the home?

With the real estate market starting another record season, a number of New Jersey homeowners are discovering that even though they have paid for a home inspection, it might not have covered everything. In fact, many are discovering that they have to make thousands of dollars in repairs to homes that were deemed in good condition.

Practically everyone who purchases a property in New Jersey is required to have a home inspection by their mortgage lender. In many cases, homebuyers seek to save money on this expense by finding a home inspector that charges as little as possible. Often, these inspections are nothing more than cursory glances at the home. They do not look closely at electrical wiring, plumbing, roofing, or outdoor drainage issues.

Unfortunately, these can be the areas in which new homeowners most need a professional inspection. Problems in these areas can go undetected for years, and they can cost thousands of dollars to repair.

For example, a home with a faulty main wiring panel could easily cost a homeowner over $1000. Like everything in a home, the panel box can wear out and typically needs to be replaced every 30 years. Many home inspectors, however, will only check circuit breakers; they do not take the time to inspect the wiring or even inquire about the age of this component.

In other cases, weak spots in a pipe can allow small amounts of moisture to seep into walls. While the signs of these leaks can be detected in a thorough inspection, home inspectors who are simply looking to collect a paycheck will not bother to perform the careful inspections necessary to detect these types of leaks. That usually means a homeowner does not become aware of the problem until a large amount of mold or mildew appears on an interior wall. At that point, he or she will have a large plumber’s bill for the repair, and high additional costs to replace drywall.

Unfortunately, too many New Jersey homeowners are signing their closing papers with the belief that their home inspection has protected them from large repair bills. In many cases, they discover years later that detecting these issues early by investing in a quality home inspection and home inspector could have saved them thousands of dollars. By then, however, it’s too late.

Sarah H

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