Buying or selling a home is one of the major events of our lives. For most of us, our home will always be our most valuable asset. So it can be heartbreaking to find a major problem after buying. I know this feeling from experience. For my family, it was a leaking shower pan.
While our home inspection noted damage under the bathroom, there was no mention of the residual moisture that caused the problem. There was only one small photo, and the report didn’t indicate that the damage was severe. As first time buyers, we assumed that a leak had been caught and repaired before causing significant damage. The home was vacant, so the shower hadn’t been in use, and he didn’t run the water. We didn’t know until years later that running the water in that shower would have revealed an ongoing problem – a problem that would have prevented us from buying the house. By the time we found out that the shower pan was sloped in a way that would never allow it to drain properly, the damage was so extensive that the only option was to tear out the entire bathroom and start over.
Unfortunately, this discovery came not long after we had just invested in new windows, a new roof, new siding, and new gutters – the things we KNEW needed to be done. As you can imagine, it wasn’t in our budget to gut an entire bathroom at that point. When you’re buying your first house (or any future house, but especially your first), you don’t know what you don’t know. You depend on your home inspector and your Realtor to protect you, but most of us don’t know what questions to ask. I always encourage my clients to be present for the end of my inspections, so that I can go over anything significant that I’ve found with them. And once the report is received, I welcome phone calls and emails with further questions. I strongly believe that buyers should be fully informed before closing on a home, and the last thing I want is for my client to be left feeling like I didn’t provide enough information, or failed to explain something clearly enough.