Home Inspections and Divorce
October 22, 2018
When divorce proceedings begin, one of the items on a seemingly endless to-do list is to determine how jointly-owned property will be divided. The largest single thing on that list is usually the home.
A divorce is never a pleasant experience. Egos and personalities all get bruised, assaulted, and every imaginable button gets pushed. What once was a safe place – one’s, can become a battlefield. What is needed is a third party assessment of the condition of the home so that all parties can make informed decisions as to the best way to move forward to a settlement.
Most people are familiar with home inspections as part of a real estate transaction. But people who have lived in their home for years could be unaware that there may be conditions in the home which need to be addressed. For example, if the roof is near the end of its life and will need replacing within a few years, this could substantially affect the financial settlement.
Why get a home inspection? While an appraisal will give you the dollar value of your home as it is today, a home inspector will provide a list of emerging costs, deferred maintenance that both has and will impact the value of the home, and provide what is essentially a guide that will serve as the basis for all future care and maintenance of the home.
A Home Inspector is Impartial
A home inspector has no interest in the house, or either party. Even if they are paid by one party or the other, they are there to provide information about the house, and its condition, so that informed decisions can be made. Facts don’t lie; a leak is a leak. A 20 year old furnace is a 20 year old furnace. Outlets that are wired wrong are a hazard, and missing insulation in the attic will cost the occupant money. A pre-divorce Home Inspection can find and identify the issues in a non-biased, educational manner.
Someday never comes
All of the temporary projects and repairs that were going to be properly fixed “someday” now need to be identified and addressed. Almost every house has things that were fixed, repaired, or just patched up so that the occupants could get on with their lives. Some of these issues are just cosmetic, other things are deferred maintenance, and others can be major safety hazards. Then there are the maintenance chores that one or the other in the household has previously dealt with; having a comprehensive list of items and procedures that need to be serviced and followed can help the remaining party be more prepared to keep the house in good shape.
Things like HVAC maintenance, shutoff valves, sump pumps, and the like are all addressed during the home inspection, and the inspection report becomes a valuable reference manual for keeping the home in good condition.
Witness for the House
Our job as home inspectors is to report on the condition of the house, its maintenance and repair needs, and nothing else. We don’t take sides; we’re not there to judge. We want to make this aspect of the divorce process less stressful for everyone.
We’re happy to answer your questions before, during, and after the inspection.
Arch Inspections has been serving Bergen, Morris, Passaic, Sussex and Union Counties in New Jersey since 2014. Arch Inspections has earned a consistent “5 star” rating from Google users.