Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Lessons in Home Ownership

I regularly check my Netflix Instant Queue for what programs are scheduled to go. Having just discovered Holmes Inspection, an HGTV program about a home inspector who corrects the various problems bad home inspector miss, is scheduled to be cut on April 1st. So I did what I always do, I start watching in an effort to see as much as I can, while I can.

I was completely hooked right away. Drawn in by the horror these poor home owners are experiencing because the professional inspector didn't do his job AND by the wealth of knowledge unleashed by Mr. Holmes and his team as they find and fix all the problems. I learn something new in each episode. Learning that has translated into more home projects.

The biggest lesson: home builders work as quickly and cheaply as they can. Little to no care is put into quality. It didn't take long for hubby and I to figure out that this is how our home was built but it's interesting to see how universal this can be. Big expensive beautiful homes, new homes, old homes, small homes - they all have the same kinds of problems. And all the problems could have been avoided if the various trades were following codes, knew what they were doing and then did it correctly.

This poor quality is not just from the builders, the same is happening with contractors or trades that come in and do work after the home is completed. Before long these homes need $50,000 or more worth of repairs. It's overwhelming to think about. We can't be expected to know how to do everything ourselves, which is why you hire professionals. How do you ever know if the professional you've hired is doing it correctly?

I've found a great local resource called Verified Service Reports. They have all kinds of great tips and advice for finding qualified professionals in various trades. Even better, they have also prescreened lots of contractors and other service providers. Acting sort of like the BBB but much more detailed and proactive. Mr. Holmes also offers some advice on his HGTV page.

Ultimately, steps can be taken to minimize the risk involved in hiring people to work on your home. It takes effort and time but the stakes are high so it's worth it. Mr. Holmes has convinced me of it.

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