You may be wondering just when and how often you should get your home inspected. When you’re about to close on a deal, you should get a home inspection, whether you’re the buyer or seller. It’s also an excellent idea to hire a home inspector before the onset of bad weather.
Home inspections cost around $400 when done by a professional, which isn’t a hefty fee to pay to make sure your home is in prime condition. Here are a few reasons why choosing to hire a home inspector in the winter is an excellent idea for any homeowner.
1. It’s Easier to Pinpoint Issues
When you have a home inspection done in the winter, you may find issues that are easier to spot. In the warmer months, it could be harder to catch when something around your home is failing because you don’t use it often. In the winter, when the cold challenges the integrity of many features of your home, you’ll quickly notice if something goes awry. Having a home inspection before that moment comes is key to preventing it.
A winter inspection is a perfect time to find out if there’s something wrong with your pipes. Because of the cold weather, pipes can freeze over. Having an inspection will prove whether they’re in working order or are ready to burst.
Your insulation can also be tested with ease in the winter. Since it’s warm in the summer, you likely won’t notice if extra air is coming through places that are supposed to be sealed off. Winter is the perfect opportunity to look for drafts. Repairing them, whether by replacing windows or installing new weather stripping, is crucial before the colder weeks of winter set in.
2. The Snow Offers a New Point of View
Since snow sticks around for a while, it provides inspectors with a few great opportunities to see how structurally sound your home is. Snowy days might be the only times of the year when you can examine how well your house is doing in some areas.
First, you can analyze the strength of your roof. While you may not be able to climb on it when it’s laden with snow, you can still tell if it’s sagging in any place. A roof sagging under the weight of snow could reveal a new project that you need to get done before winter truly sets in. You may not have even noticed the sagging without the snow.
Similarly, with all the wetness that comes with winter, you can detect whether your windows are doing their job at keeping the moisture out of your home. If your inspector notes that some of your windows have excess condensation, it means your window may need repairs or a complete replacement. While you can check for condensation on your windows at other times during the year, it’s easiest to determine if you have a problem by getting an inspection in winter.
3. It Shows You How to Prepare for a Deal
Getting a home inspection done early in the winter can help you prepare for even colder months. You can quickly learn where your home falls short and take measures to prevent the winter weather from leaking into your house. Utilizing preventive maintenance can help you learn early whether something’s going to be a problem so that you can plan for any issues.
For example, seasonal preventive maintenance on your HVAC, like replacing the air filters, can assure you that your home will stay warm throughout the winter. By keeping up with the recommended maintenance, you won’t have to wait until your heat goes out to learn there’s something wrong with your HVAC.
As a seller, creating a checklist for home improvements to make before the worst of winter rolls in might help you stay organized. Go through your list item by item and improve the quality of your home. You want your house to sell for what it’s worth, so fixing issues as soon as possible is essential to have a worry-free winter.
4. It’s More Convenient
You have things like stoves and fireplaces fired up pretty often in the winter, whereas you’d have to fire them up in the heat to get them inspected in the summer. Lack of use might skew the results. Since you’re using things like your furnace regularly, maybe even daily, you’ll have a better understanding of what appears normal.
Unfortunately, you likely won’t be able to get your air conditioning checked, as you shouldn’t run your A/C below 60ºF for extended periods. If you’re going to live in the home, make it a point to get someone to check your A/C unit when it’s warmer out and before you start using it regularly.
What a Winter Home Inspection Can’t Do
Unfortunately, winter home inspections can’t work for everything. You’ll need to get other parts of your home inspected throughout the year if you’re concerned about them. Winter inspections can be great for finding issues you never knew existed, but preventive maintenance can be performed year-round.
In the winter, home inspectors likely won’t be able to climb onto the roof. Even if your roof isn’t covered in snow, it could be slippery or dusted with ice, making the conditions too hazardous for an inspector. In the winter, the best you can do is analyze your roof from the ground and search for problems that way.
Your inspector also won’t be able to check your drainage. If you’re in an area where you don’t get a lot of ice, your gutters may be operating as usual. You’ll have to watch out for when the ice finally does melt and everything starts to flow again. Ensure the water falls away from your home so you don’t risk a foundational issue.
Some places in your yard could be inaccessible due to hazardous conditions. Similarly, some pests may not be detectable because they go dormant in the winter. If these aspects of a home inspection worry you, you should wait until it’s a bit warmer out to get a review, if you can.
It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year for Home Inspections
Whether you’re buying or selling a home, home inspections are an essential part of a deal. Choosing to conduct a home inspection in the winter could reveal issues on the seller’s end that they need to fix right away, or it could benefit buyers by understanding what they’d be getting into with a particular home. If you can see yourself in that house for winters to come, don’t neglect to have an inspection conducted in the winter.