As a Home Inspector, and a Certified Energy Advisor, I enter many homes providing opinions which are based on my qualifications, training and certainly hands-on experience. There are as many ways to view a home as there are many differing homes, varying levels of knowledge of my clients, and homeowners at various stages of their own lives (empty nesters, retirees, young families) which affects their ability to maintain their homes, let alone undertake a renovation – big or small. My job is to look at a home through a professional lens.
Assessing the Renovation
One of the concerns I encounter when assessing a renovated home is how much of the renovation has been done by the ‘handyman’ homeowner, or does it appear to have been contracted? I have no problem with homeowners doing their own work – as I do myself! However, when I’m hired for a home inspection, I’m in a position to assess the skill level of the person who performed the work. Many times I wonder what the homeowner or contractor was thinking or experimenting with when they began. Did they run out of time, money or change their mind part way through then quickly finish the project? Was there a vision from the beginning that they didn’t have the skill level to bring to fruition? Were shortcuts undertaken? How extensive was the renovation and did it involved major structural work? These are all relevant questions which require an assessment. Secondly, is there any paperwork from the renovation? This often provides all the information needed to make a professional opinion about the work, and can give an added level of comfort to make a sound buying decision.
Making an Opinion
As a professional home inspector, I undertake a good amount of risk-taking and educated guess-work to give a potential buyer the information they need to make good decisions. I convey this information in a trustworthy manner so that my client can make choices based on theirs or their families needs, and to understand the undertaking they may be about to embark on. Any good inspector should be confident in what they tell their clients. Not having an opinion at all is not serving the best interests of my client.
Are you taking a Risk?
Buying a renovated home can definitely be a risk. I’ve seen full home renovations from the ground up which are close to perfection, and I’ve seen not-so-great renovated homes which would be a risk for a buyer to undertake unless they’re willing to spend thousands more to fix. Your best bet as a homebuyer is to hire a trustworthy inspector with experience in varied backgrounds – renovations, trades, energy, property claims, proper training, and a number of years doing actual inspections. If your inspector advises you he/she completed all of his home inspection courses online and has little relevant experience – you may be at risk of making a poor decision.