If you’re buying a home in the Atlanta area, you might ask yourself, “do I need a home inspection?” The answer, unequivocally, is yes!

Perhaps you’re thinking that in this seller’s market, your offer might be more attractive if you skip the home inspection. You might be trying to save a few dollars. But don’t fool yourself. A home inspection is like going to the doctor for a thorough physical exam. If there’s something wrong, you want to know up front the depth of the problem and, perhaps more importantly, how much it’s going to cost to fix it. Unfortunately, though we know what is best for us, like doctor’s advice, sometimes we don’t put that knowledge into action.

The cost of a home inspection is based on the square footage of the house. Generally, the price will hover in the $300 to $500 range, but it can go up to $1,000. Think of it as an insurance policy on the health of your prospective new home.

Should you answer no to the question “do I need a home inspection?” you could come face-to-face with any of the following:

Roof problems

This is one of the biggest repair nightmares homeowners have. It’s often difficult to pinpoint the exact spot of a leak or defect in the roof. An inspector will look for signs of aging, blistering, cracking, peeling, curling — anything that signifies the roof is nearing the end of its life. The cost of a new roof is based on the size of your house, pitch and type of roof. It generally runs around $5,000 to $12,000. Some put an estimate at 3 percent of the home’s price.

Water damage

A home inspector will examine your plumbing. Most of the plumbing is out of sight, so you generally wouldn’t notice a leak on your own. If there are any leaks in the pipes or toilet, they should be detected. Over time, small leaks can lead to water damage, which requires thousands of dollars to repair. Depending on the size of the leak, it can lead to floor damage and mold problems.

Foundation issues

If the foundation has cracks larger than about a quarter of an inch, they can’t be ignored. The likely culprit is water damage. Water expands the soil, which results in pressure on the footings and walls. Foundation repairs can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to, in the most extreme cases, tens of thousands of dollars.

Outdated wiring

This is especially important in older homes. An inspection should include a thorough look at the electrical panel to make sure grounding is correct and circuits aren’t overloaded. If there any faulty wiring issues, you’d be exposing your family to a potential fire hazard.

Once the house passes the home inspection, you’ll have something that’s hard to put a price tag on: peace of mind.

Without an inspection upfront, you will be at the mercy of any contractor at any price during due diligence.

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