Whether you plan to buy, sell or stay put for now, a home inspection can be a valuable tool in different situations.

Though the housing market in SA is up and down, and having a home inspection done is still a relatively new thing in SA, Jean-Marc Masson, Certified Home Inspector and owner of Home Inspection Services in Joburg, is still in the midst of his busy season.

As he explains, “The purpose of a home inspection is to identify the condition of the home, especially defects or safety issues that would affect the buyer’s decision.”

While Jean-Marc recommends a full home inspection for potential buyers, he also suggests considering other kinds of specialist inspections such as, Snag list inspections, Energy Inspections, Progress Inspections etc., which are all separate.

For instance “If you are building off plan or buying a newly built home, a list of all the snags is essential,” he says.

His most prevalent find during full inspections is damp problems. Structural issues are common, as well. Sometimes damp in the lower parts of the walls can be resolved by extending the downspouts or increasing the slope around your house to drain water away from the foundation.

Whenever selling, it’s smart to stay ahead of the game.

“It’s very important for the seller to do a pre-listing inspection to identify items that they can easily fix,” says Jean-Marc. “It might not be anything major, but first-time buyers can get overwhelmed by too many issues.”

“It is the inspector’s job to describe and identify those problems,” says Jean-Marc, who 2 years ago became a Certified Master Inspector.

He recommends finding someone with a track record and experience.

A maintenance inspection is an option for anyone not planning a move that has lived in the same house for years without a thorough check of its overall condition.

“A lot of issues might relate to the exterior that people don’t see every day,” says Jean-Marc. “Over time, they can really create a problem.”

Though some homeowners have parts of their property checked regularly, Jean-Marc says it’s not a bad idea to have a damp proofing professional, a plumber and an electrician look for major problems once a year. He has discovered everything from extremely high levels of mould during a visit to a friend’s house to a leaking toilet while working.

When he first started doing inspections in 2011, the process took many hours to complete and record. Today’s technology makes it easier on everyone, says Jean-Marc, who has progressed from a notepad and clipboard to an iPad and app.

Buyers are making much wiser and informed decisions before entering into a sale agreement. Many sellers are starting to cotton onto the added benifit of having a home inspection done pre-listing.

“Staging homes and making major repairs in advance helps them sell,” says Jean-Marc. “Everybody is more aware of big issues like roofing.”

Because move-in-ready homes, as opposed to ‘as-is’ homes, are unfortunately less common in SA, Jean-Marc still finds several major issues.

Still, he says, “On average, there are still lots of hidden problems and minor problems that can become major.”

He hopes that soon the mindsets of sellers and the agents who help them will change soon.

For information, contact Jean-Marc Masson at 0798871083 or go to www.homeinspection.co.za