Three case studies where buyers did not get a home inspection

The following three case studies highlight the potential financial risks of not commissioning a pre-purchase home inspection:

Case Study 1: The Hidden Water Damage

Jessica, a first-time homebuyer, fell in love with a cozy, well-priced house in a desirable neighborhood. The home appeared well-maintained, and she purchased it without commissioning a pre-purchase home inspection to save on costs.

A few months into her ownership, Jessica noticed mould spots developing on the ceiling and walls of her bathroom and living room. Upon professional examination, it was found that there was extensive water damage caused by a long-standing, undetected leak in the roof.

Jessica was forced to pay for significant repairs and mold remediation, which totaled over R50,000. Had she commissioned a home inspection, this defect would likely have been discovered before purchase.

Case Study 2: The Dream House that was Burned to the Ground

Thabo and Dudu, a newly married couple, were excited to buy an almost new home in the suburbs. home, Charmed by its unique character and the fact that it was close to shops and their kids’ schools, they purchased the house without an inspection, thinking they could handle any minor repairs that might be needed.

A few weeks after moving in a fire broke out in the garage adjoining their new home while Thabo was practicing his hobby of welding in the garage.

The fire spread rapidly, through their house and before the fire brigade could react their new home was almost totally destroyed.

Upon investigation by their insurance company it was found that the fire had spread from the garage into the house because the required fire wall between the garage and the house did not extend all the way to the underside of the roof covering; also the door connecting the garage to the house was not a compliant fire door.

Their insurers refused to pay for the rebuild of the house on the grounds of non-compliance with national building regulations.

The house needed a complete rebuild at a cost of over R2-million. , a project that Thabo and Dudu could not afford. They are now living with Dudu’s parents while continuing to have to pay the bond on their dream home. They are looking for a buyer and if they are able to sell the destroyed house they will still owe the bank plenty. Thabo and Dudu have probably lost any chance of being able to buy a home any time soon, if ever.

A pre-purchase home inspection would have revealed this non-compliance issue and potentially saved them from this unforeseen disaster.

Case Study 3: The Crumbling Foundation

Raj, an investor, found a property he believed would provide a good return. The house seemed structurally sound and in a booming location. Eager to close the deal, Raj decided to skip the home inspection.

Six months later, he noticed severe cracking in the walls and uneven floors. A structural engineer found that the house’s foundation was failing, requiring major repairs costing upwards of R140,000. Had Raj opted for a pre-purchase home inspection, he would have been warned about the foundation issues and could have avoided the unexpected financial hit.

These three case studies underscore the importance of a HouseCheck pre-purchase home inspection. Since its establishment in 2009 HouseCheck has carried out over 5,000 home inspections for South African home buyers.

While it may seem like an unnecessary expense in the short term, a HouseCheck pre-purchase home inspection can help buyers avoid much more substantial, unforeseen costs down the line.

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