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Planning for Major Home Repairs: Pay for an Inspection?

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Forum topic by AM420 posted 01-24-2018 06:55 PM 1359 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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AM420

121 posts in 405 days


01-24-2018 06:55 PM

This is a random question, but seemed like the right place and there are a lot of sharp people here that I think can give good advice..

I have a little money squirreled away for major home repairs (new furnace, roof, appliances, etc) and save some every month, but if I needed to replace my roof tomorrow I might be forced to take on a little credit card debt. If the furnace or AC went out in the same year, I’d be in trouble. A better understanding of when those things may need to be done could help me better plan my spending/savings.

I bought my house about 6 years ago, and at the time the home inspector said everything was in good shape. But I’m not sure if it would be the same story today. I was thinking it would be helpful to have someone go through the house and give me an updated report as well and an estimate life left on some major items like the roof. I initially thought of just calling a roofing company, HVAC guy, etc to check them out, but I feel like they may tend to tell me to replace tings sooner than I need to try to make a sale.

Anyone else ever done this, or have some other way of tracking the condition of your home and eventual large repairs/replacements? Do you think hiring a home inspector is a good idea? I think they cost about $200-300, but that may be worth it for a little piece of mind and better expense planning.

Thanks,


6 replies so far

View LesB's profile

LesB

1748 posts in 3465 days


#1 posted 01-24-2018 07:14 PM

As a general rule HVAC units should be maintenance serviced every one to two years. So if you have that done by a reputable company they can give you an appraisal on the life expectancy of your unit. Along the same general rule lines most appliances can be expected to last 10 to 20 years, although the newer ones don’t seem to be as durable. In those situations you could always get by with an inexpensive second hand one if the unexpected failure happened. In between is the hot water heater which should last 6 to 12 years and if installed by a plumber can cost up to $1000 or $400 if you do it yourself. There is some service things you can do to the water heater like flush the gunk that accumulates in the bottom (every year), replace the anodes every few years and if gas fired inspect the burners. If it is electric there are two heating coils, each with it’s own thermostat, in them and some times one goes out. There are ways to test for this but you need to understand that they heat in sequence, top first and bottom second, they do not both heat at the same time. Plenty of info on the internet about this.

Now the roof. I would get a roofer to come out and inspect it and give you an estimate of it’s life expectancy and if it currently needs any spot repairs. Most quality roofing material (composition) will last 25+ years and a lot of manufacturers are now giving “life time” warranties on the material (most are not transferable between the homes owners however…there is always a catch). Wood shingle/shake roofs are always more problematic and often need spot repairs during their life time but should last 20+ years. Metal roofs while more expensive can last over 50 years but seldom have any problems.

A thorough inspection by a licensed/bonded home inspector will give you a overall report including the electrical system, plumbing, foundation, decking, fireplaces, gutters, siding, paint, and cement work. You had one 6 years ago so I think that may be over kill at this time.
You are on the right track to be concerned and proactive about you home maintenance. There always seems to be something that needs attention.

-- Les B, Oregon

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AM420

121 posts in 405 days


#2 posted 01-24-2018 07:51 PM

Thanks for the information. I have replaced a few thins since moving, but I know that my furnace and AC units are pretty old. I am due to a check on both, but again, a little worried anyone I call will try to take the opportunity for a sale.

I had my water heater replaced a while back, and when I had to get something repaired on the furnace the guy said he found a gas leak in the line to my water heater, that legally he had to shut it down, and it would cost $500 to fix. I let him shut it off, found the leak (small leak from an elbow joint) sealed it, and turned it back on. So I tend to find it really hard to trust anyone. I feel like a person paid for just a general home inspectiohttp://lumberjocks.com/topics/257921#n may be a little more impartial, though may not have as much direct knowledge/experience.

Not sure when the roof was done last, so no telling when that’ll be due to be fixed. That’s probably my biggest worry since it’s got the biggest price tag attached.

View DrDirt's profile

DrDirt

4424 posts in 3764 days


#3 posted 01-25-2018 09:20 PM

Figure major systems will be good for ~20 years.

Home inspector is worthless – they are just to make you and the bank feel good about getting your mortgage, and will just tell you that the system “Looks OK”

Timing will vary a bit on weather, and quality of the house in general. Lots of new subdivisions use bagain basement level materials. So A bottom of the line AC Unit in Phoenix, isn’t going to go 20 years. But may be A-ok in Minnesota for 30.

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

View Fresch's profile

Fresch

243 posts in 1942 days


#4 posted 01-25-2018 09:35 PM

Had to use a home inspector, bank didn’t care I was a master electrician. Inspector missed the water heater was piped wrong and electrical openings wired wrong and the service entrance was rotten, other than that he did a bang up job.
You can tell by looking at the roof, is it starting to curl, missing stone so it looks dull black.
Equipment is it corroded, not heating cooling like it used to.
Water in areas it shouldn’t be, dripping out of your electric, hvac, walls/ceilings staining, mold.
If you get snow, roof has snow covering it longer than your neighbor, insulation amount, venting.

View JCamp's profile

JCamp

626 posts in 572 days


#5 posted 01-26-2018 01:04 AM

Before I’d pay someone to do it I’d do some crawling around and see if anything looks like it might b a problem then call someone specific to look at it. U might check with a local mom an pop hardware store in ur area. They likely kno a good contractor that could check stuff out for u.
Figure eventually a house will need some sort of maintance just lik a car. The more and better maintance the better off it’ll b down the road. Keep it clean and the trash away. Watch for wet spots or if ur water bill goes up but ur use age stays the same. For the most part ur electric system shouldn’t need much. The ac unit probably needs inspected every so often Roof should b good. Look for loose shingles Old shingles start to look warn but that doesn’t mean they’ll leak.
Don’t forget to have ur house treated for termites In the city I’ve heard it’s expecially needed cause a neighbor could hav them and they can cross over to ur house for a snack

-- Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might

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AM420

121 posts in 405 days


#6 posted 01-26-2018 03:19 PM

Thanks for all the info. I think I’ll forget about the home inspection plan and stick with checking everything individually and calling in an expert as needed. I just need to ask around and try to find people that won’t try to rip me off. Easier said then done. I’ve had too many cases where I know someone was trying to take advantage.

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