Mr. Shubhamoy Sen is your typical techie living in Bangalore – engineer from a reputed college, close to 10 years of experience spread over an Indian tech firm and an MNC, married (wife is a techie too) and one kid. Having lived in a rented accommodation for the past several years, Mr. & Mrs. Sen decided that the time was right to buy their house and be done with the whole phase of renting!
So, they went about the usual criteria for house hunting – proximity to school, proximity to place of work, infrastructure, budget, builder reputation etc. Like all home buyers they realized that optimizing for all of these is not possible and they compromised a little to zero in on their dream home. As the project was very close to completion, Mr. and Mrs. Sen quickly completed the home loan process (as co-applicants, and got a lower interest rate) and within 3 months of the loan being sanctioned, they started work on the interiors of their home. This was around April ; they moved in by May and …… lived happily every after? Well, actually no! Come June, they realized that the 24 hour water supply was a translation for leaky walls and roofs (when it rained), that the Italian marble tiles didn’t necessarily mean well-fitting tiles, that their 42”LED burnt out during a power surge!!
So, what did the Sen’s do wrong? Rather, what could they have done right? After all, who can check for things like tiles, leakages, plumbing or electrical connections so accurately? Isn’t that what the builder is already supposed to have done?
The answer to these questions is simple – A Home Inspector. Home Inspectors are qualified professionals who check a property before the handover and identify issues (if any) related to civil and electrical work. Not only that, they are even able to suggest what needs to be done to ensure that the problem is fixed.
So, let us understand the various checks that a typical home inspector performs :
This usually covers the immediate exterior of the flat – balconies and balcony walls, flat exterior wall etc. Issues like cracks, bulging, dust accumulation get addressed here. For example, notice how the home inspector has covered details of the staircases and highlighted issues like incomplete finishing and cracks in the staircases. While neither of these is extremely critical to the decision of moving into the house (people can use elevators instead of staircases), it does have some safety implications – children might run up and down the stairs and cracks can cause them to stumble.
This is a wide area that covers defects inside the house on walls, doors, windows etc. Instances like patchy paintwork, cracks and chipping on walls, doors that do not shut properly or doors that slam shut all of a sudden (causing people to accidentally lock themselves out) etc. get highlighted in this case.
This is one of the most important (and surprisingly the most overlooked) aspects of home inspection. Are all sockets fitted properly, is the earthing done properly, are all sockets functional, will the MCB trip in case of a power surge? All these questions need to be answered and issues identified. Electricians carry specialized and at times sensitive equipment to help understand all these.
Especially when it comes to checking about power surges, a good inspector must trip the mains. This is to ascertain that in case of a power surge, the electrical device will not be impacted; only the mains will trip thereby preventing any damage to equipment inside the house.
Plumbing is an area that almost always gets ignored at the start. People will only give a cursory glance to the quality of the fittings used (what had the builder promised versus what is he actually giving), they ignore things like leakages, open drains, potential blockages etc. A qualified home inspector can identify and anticipate some of these issues.
Structural issues cover things like hollow tiles, broken tiles, issues in grouting etc. Further problems like cracks in beams, deformations in columns, sagging or sloping in the floor slabs get identified here. Structural issues are difficult for a layman – these are difficult to observe and it is also difficult to understand or appreciate the significance of these issues (whenever identified).
Pests are a problem with older construction rather than new constructions. A good home inspector helps identify potential problem areas in case of a new construction; while this is not 100% fool-proof, it helps the home buyer be prepared for instances of infestation from lizards, cockroaches, ants and the like.
This is a very very crucial aspect that doesn’t get noticed till the most important family members start walking around the house – the children! For example, are the railings of sufficient height? Do they have gaps through which a small child maybe able to stick slide/slip out? Are there windows that are accessible from the outside, but not provided with security man-bars? And finally is there CCTV available at the lifts and common areas? A detailed home inspection usually covers all these areas.
The financial implication…
In India, unfortunately, home inspection is rarely understood by most home buyers. People actually debate the cost versus benefit of home inspection! They are ready to spend several lakhs on buying a house, but unwilling to spend a few thousands on getting minor details within the house checked before moving in. Typically, issues that a home inspector identifies will cost a few lakhs for the builder to fix. If the builder does not fix these, the home buyer atleast has the option of using this knowledge to negotiate with the builder! However, in the absence of this information, the home buyer is forced to shell out a lot more money to make fixes and changes in a new house!
…and the implication on your peace of mind
More importantly, home inspection definitely helps the buyer have peace of mind! Since a detailed report on all faults/ snags is available, the buyer knows exactly what to expect of the house when moving in. More importantly, he/she can get these issues fixed and ensure that his/her dream home is truly a dream home.
Scroll down to see how our home inspectors are able to identify issues, which you will otherwise miss.