Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Overlooked Home Inspection Items that Cost Us

For as money-minded as I typically am, I have to admit to somewhat getting wrapped up in the whole home buying process. When you’re talking about a purchase that runs into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, it’s easy to start overlooking the small stuff. But even the small stuff can add up.

I kick myself now as I look back at the things we tended to overlook in our home inspection -- some big, some small -- that came back to bite us later on down the road.

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
On the electrical portion of our home inspection, our inspector noted in the “smoke detector” portion that, “Current law requires a detector on each level and within 15’ of any area designated for sleeping.”

This wasn’t a big deal to us, and since the home sellers had to pass a local village inspection as well, we figured they’d get nailed on this and have to install the proper safety devices. Fun enough, they didn’t, but guess who did. When we sold the home three years later, the village inspector made us install two more fire/carbon monoxide detectors at a cost of about $30…oops!

Differential Movement
There were cracks visible on the front stone portion of our home at the time of the inspection, and it needed some tuckpoint repairs. Unfortunately for us, we didn’t press the issue at the time, thinking it wasn’t that big of a deal. However, when we sold our home, the buyers did press the issue since moisture had gotten inside the front wall from those tuckpoint issues, a repair job that ended up costing us $650.

Maybe one of the more minor overlooked (by us, not our inspector) issues on our home inspection was the inoperative doorbell. We didn’t ask to have this issue fixed by the sellers when we purchased the home. And while it wasn’t a huge issue, rather than have the existing doorbell re-wired, we went out and bought a $30 battery-operated doorbell system.

Garage Roof
I really didn’t take this aspect of the report that seriously since it was the garage’s roof rather than the home’s that needed repairing. Thankfully, we asked for a credit for what our home inspector termed on our inspection report as “Roof existing beyond design life”. We received a credit in the amount of $1,500, which covered the repair of the garage roof when we made it several years later.

Electrical Panel Splices
We didn’t miss the electrical portion of our home inspection report. In fact, we asked that several double taps and numerous splices inside the electrical panel be fixed. Where we failed in this aspect though was by not having the work reviewed or at least asking for receipts for the work after the repairs had supposedly been completed like the people who eventually bought the home from us did.

Once again, during our local municipality inspection when we sold, we were dinged for splices in the electrical panel that should already have been repaired by the previous owners. This repair, paired with several other electrical issues ran us about $1,000 to repair when we sold.

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