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Why You Should Inspect Your Home: An Interview with Brian Burleson of Gate City Home Inspections

By Brian Burleson

Tell Us About Gate City Home Inspections:

I founded Gate City Home Inspections after years of making residential repairs as the owner of Gate City Handyman Services. I was often noticing issues in people's homes, some of them safety issues such as improperly built decks or dangerous electrical conditions, and (too often) it was on brand-new or recently purchased homes. When asked, "did you have the home inspected?", the answer was an all-to-often "no". I felt that I could offer that service with my knowledge and experience, so I obtained the necessary education, certification and license and started my 2nd business to offer Home Inspection services.

At Gate City Home Inspections, it's our mission to provide our clients with an accurate, thorough and objective home inspection and report, striving to bestow the best service possible. We conduct all of our inspections with the highest integrity, with the full understanding that the home may be the largest investment of our client's lifetime. We also strive to meet, and in most cases exceed, the Standards of Practice guidelines set forth by the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors as well as the New Hampshire Board of Home Inspectors.

How Often Should Homes be Inspected?

Folks need to remember that houses need regular maintenance. I recommend a thorough inspection annually, especially for pest and water issues. Of course, regular maintenance items such as furnace filters and gutter cleaning should be addressed at appropriate intervals. As far as professional inspections are concerned, I recommend inspecting the home before purchasing it, of course. But a professional annual safety & maintenance inspection, especially for less-than-handy homeowners, is also a tremendous value because most conditions will be caught before they turn into expensive repairs. Pre-listing inspections are also becoming popular for home sellers, as it's the best way to be proactive and "catch" conditions that a potential buyer's inspector will report and gives the seller much more time to obtain multiple quotes and fix issues more affordably before putting the house on the market.

How Can Homeowners Know if They Should get an Inspection?

Home buyers should ALWAYS get a home inspection, making sure their purchase & sale agreement is contingent on the results. I can't tell you how many expensive repairs I've made to homes that could've been avoided by getting the home inspected, even on brand new homes. I re-built a deck last year ($3k job) on a 4-year old home.

Why Inspect Your Home?

Any property subject to a potential real estate transaction should be inspected. Here's a list of the top ten reasons to have a home professionally inspected, as posted on our website:

Top 10 reasons to have your home inspected by Gate City Home Inspections:

  1. Peace of mind. Our comprehensive inspection and report will give you a much better understanding of the condition of the house and help you make an informed decision when deciding whether or not to buy.
  2. Risk vs. Reward. A professional home inspection will typically run you a few hundred dollars, but could save you thousands in the end. The old adage - It is better to be safe than sorry - is certainly true when it comes to purchasing a home. Better to spend the money upfront and know what you are getting into, than to cross your fingers and hope you did not just buy a lemon.
  3. Mold. This hidden danger is not just a costly foe; it is one that could negatively affect the health of your entire family. Home inspections are crucial to finding out if mold exists, and if so, to what extent.
  4. Pests. Insects. Pests such as termites and carpenter ants can do devastating damage to a home. The house you have had your eye on for weeks may look appealing from the street, but what is going on beneath that shiny facade? Gate City Home Inspections can tell you if you have unwelcome tenants lurking below the surface.
  5. Uncovering structural issues. Structural issues can be very expensive to fix, and without the discerning eye of a qualified home inspector, you could very easily overlook them.
  6. Safety. Bypassing a home inspection is not just a financial gamble; it is a choice that could have more dire consequences. If there is an existing problem with the electrical system and you do not have it taken care of, your home could be a potential fire hazard.
  7. Negotiating power. Gate City Home Inspections will provide you with a detailed report outlining any issues with the home. Based on this report, your realtor can negotiate with the seller to have them resolve any underlying issues, or adjust the purchase price accordingly.
  8. Whether to buy or not. Your home inspection may reveal more problems than you had initially anticipated. Armed with that knowledge, do you still want to purchase the house?
  9. Gauging future costs. Knowing what is wrong with the house before you buy will give you a good idea of any potential costs you might incur in the future.
  10. Knowledge is power. Many people, these days, are electing to own investment properties. If you are purchasing your first home, gathering information while the home inspection is being conducted will give you a good idea of what to look for when purchasing future properties.

What Value Does a Home Receive from an Inspection?

A home inspection can add real value to a home. Gate City Home Inspections offers Move-In Certified inspections, so the home can be marketed as already having been inspected. This can help justify the full asking price of a home. Of course, generally speaking, inspecting a home and fixing any issues and keeping up with maintenance helps a home keep its value.

One of the earliest examples: I first learned the value of a home inspection when My Dad and Stepmother moved to New Mexico in 1996. They fast-tracked the purchase of a home in the limited time they had during a one-week trip and skipped the home inspection. Mere weeks after they moved in, their garage door blew-in during a wind storm and damaged both of their vehicles. Another example: I rebuilt a set of deck stairs on a 3-year old home last summer. Had the owners hired a home inspector, the flawed deck construction could've been corrected by the builder. Instead they paid over $1000 to correct the issue after the home warranty expired. I've NEVER performed a home inspection where there were zero conditions found, not even on new construction. Homes are very complex and it takes a trained eye to spot many potential issues.

What is the Length of an Inspection?

Home inspections by Gate City Home Inspections typically take anywhere from two to four hours, depending on the type, size and condition of the home. We deliver the report via email within 24 hours.

Gate City Home Inspections Services:

  • Home buyers inspections
  • Seller inspections
  • Annual safety & maintenance inspections
  • Home warranty inspections
  • Repair verification
  • Radon and well water testing

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About The Author

Gate City Home Inspections, LLC was founded by Brian Burleson, a NH-licensed home...

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