We always recommend getting a home inspection after building or buying a brand new home. However, we often have clients who wonder if they should schedule an inspection after a remodel, renovation, or addition.
The answer to that question largely depends on the following factors:
- The age of your home or the length of time since the last home inspection
- The scale of the remodel
- The contractor you hired (licensed, unlicensed, DIY)
- Whether or not building permits were pulled for the project
Let’s evaluate each of these factors to assess whether your home should be inspected or not.
How Old is Your Home? How Long Has It Been Since the Last Inspection?
If you own an older home or it’s been more than ten years since your last home inspection, we recommend scheduling a whole-home inspection – or at least a four-point inspection – BEFORE starting a remodel. Your building inspector will help you determine which inspection is ideal for your situation and goals. The information provided by the inspection allows you to schedule any necessary repairs, updates, or systems replacement into the total remodel or renovation budget.
There’s no point in renovating a section of your home or building an addition, only to find out major repairs or renovations are needed elsewhere. Your home inspection report supports your architects and builders as they make plans, prepare estimates, and set the schedule for the project. The good news here is that in addition to updating areas that aren’t built to code or need structural reinforcement/replacement, you’ll save a notable amount of money when you submit the necessary paperwork to your insurance carrier. Plus, your home will be more structurally sound and ready to weather our violent storm seasons.
How big was the remodel or renovation?
If you hired a licensed contractor to remodel your bathroom or kitchen, you probably don’t need to have your home inspected. That’s especially true if you have a newer home (less than 15 years old) and you’ve hired a reputable, licensed contractor who had each stage of the reno/remodel inspected and signed off by the local building department. A larger remodel or renovation, or an older home project, is a different story.
If your project was larger in scope and affected key areas of the home, such as the roofing system, major structural components, or a merging of old and new plumbing and electrical work, an inspection is a good idea. Projects like that typically involve a team of subcontractors that work together under the supervision of the general contractor. But, unfortunately, even high-quality contractors and subs make mistakes.
Scheduling a third-party inspection after completing a large project is a small investment that provides significant peace of mind. Hopefully, your inspection report is “all clear.” However. if we find any errors or weaknesses, our detailed report gives your contractor all they need to correct the work in a timely fashion and well within any warranty period.
Who performed the work? Were they licensed?
If you hired anyone who isn’t licensed to perform the remodel or renovation work, or you’ve performed the work yourself, you should absolutely schedule a professional home inspection after the fact.
There are plenty of amazing DIY-level, self-taught builders who perform up-to-code work. That said, there are also plenty of talented, well-meaning, and experienced builders who aren’t familiar with current building codes – especially when it comes to wind mitigation compliance. That’s especially true for the DeLand and greater Volusia County area, where hurricane winds and severe storms are the leading cause of home damage.
We appreciate the desire to save money, work on a home on your own, or trust a family member, neighbor, or friend who is a capable (but unlicensed) builder or handyperson. That said, your home must be built to current standards, or else you’re compromising the integrity of the home and the safety of the occupants. Read Top 7 Safety Issues Commonly Revealed by a Home Inspection to learn more about the dangers inherent in soliciting DIY-style renovation work.
Furthermore, if your home is remodeled or renovated by an unlicensed professional and you incur storm, plumbing. or electrical-related damage down the road, your homeowner’s insurance carrier is well within their rights to minimize compensation or to withhold it altogether. The home inspection report is your ticket to a sturdy home and insurance policy compliance.
Were building permits pulled for the project?
Legitimate remodels and renovations are run by licensed general contractors who get plan and project approval from the local building department. Once the plans have been approved and the project is underway, the building department issues permits for various project phases, such as framing, electrical work, plumbing work, fire systems, roofing, etc.
When a permit-specific portion of the project is complete, the contractor schedules an inspection, which the department’s inspector performs. If the work complies with current codes, the permit card is signed off, and the project continues. However, if the inspector finds something that isn’t to code or is determined as sub-standard, the work is redone, and another inspection is scheduled. Read What a Home Inspection Can Reveal About Your Building Permits to learn more about why permits are such an essential step in the residential remodeling, renovation, or new construction sectors.
In most cases, this type of check and balance system is sufficient, and you may not need a home inspection afterward. That said, you’d be surprised at the blind eye building department inspectors can turn as the result of their own loose work ethic, a close relationship with or loyalty towards your contractor, because they’re distracted or under the weather that day, etc. Scheduling a third-party inspection is the best way to trust your home passed an objective home inspection when all is said and done.
Would you like to schedule a professional home inspection before or after a remodel or home renovation project? Contact Super Inspection Pros (SIP). Our team of licensed building inspectors is honest, thorough, and we guarantee a 24-hour turnaround on your final inspection report. Give us a call today at 386-279-0802.