When it comes to a real estate transaction, timing is everything. Whether you're selling or buying, you need your home inspection to fit seamlessly into the process. So once you've got your inspection report, that part of the process has been taken care of, right?
Ideally, yes. But we all know it's not always that easy. Things fall through or people back out, and selling a home can take months or even years. If you're a seller, it's always advisable to get the home inspection taken care of very early on, so that you can take care of any necessary repairs or at least account for the home's conditions in your listing. (That way potential buyers won't be scared off by surprises.) And of course if you're a buyer, you want to know what you're getting into.
Unfortunately, no matter how thorough I am, no home inspection report lasts forever. In fact, I can only report on what I observe the very day I perform the inspection; every second after that, the home continues to age. The Florida sun keeps beating down on the paint, roof and wood; the electrical insulation continues to break down; the foundation continues to settle and the roots of the trees continue to grow. If there are existing issues like leaks or insects, the damage gets exponentially worse each moment.
One year after my initial inspection, a home may already have aged enough to change the way I score its various systems and features. And if there have been hurricanes or other significant weather events during that year, then even more striking condition changes may have occurred.
As good as it feels to have a thorough, expertly compiled home inspection report detailing the precise conditions of the home, understand that it's not set in stone. Things change. Once a year passes--or sooner if there's been a big storm--it's time to start thinking about another inspection. It's always better to know.