Category Archives: Home Inspection Service

Tips for a Proper Home Inspection

Buying your own shelter is definitely an achievement in itself. But purchasing the right home is not at all easy. There are many things that should be taken into consideration. By hiring a home inspector a proper evaluation of a particular property can be done. This helps to recover any issues and indicate them before one can spend on the house or probably move into them. So, follow this article to find out some of the home inspection tips that can help you spend your money wisely.

Attend the Home Inspection

When a property is being inspected by a real estate agent you should surely attend the inspection. The inspection will take just a few hours. By doing that you would be able to get all the information correctly from the inspector. This will help you find all the issues personally and can save you from making a costly mistake.

No Follow-Up

If issues are found then the inspectors might suggest you some repairing. If you feel they are not much then you can find out the estimate that might be incurred. In some instances, the first home inspector whom you approach might want to take suggestions from another service provider. This can actually be good and help you get a proper third opinion. So, wait for the opinion so that you are ensured about your choice.

Do Not Rely Only On the Inspector

If you have a suspicion you can always go for a professional checkup. This will help you determine in a better way. Another thing that you should be going for is a termite inspection. This will find out if there are termites in the place. So, there will be chances that you will be staying protected from making costly repairs after buying a home.

Home Inspection For New Homes Too

We often think that a newly built home does not need inspection. But we are wrong. This step is very important and should not be avoided. This will indicate how the building has been built and if there are any imperfections.

Additional Tests for Older Homes

If you are buying an older home then you might have to check other things. The tests that should be done are running a camera through the drainage lines, a hydrostatic test in the drains might help to find out leakages in the drainage system. It is one of the important things to remember.

The Benefits of Getting a Professional Home Inspection

What is a professional home inspection?

Professional home inspections are becoming an important factor for everyone seeking or planing to buy or sell a home. A home may look to be in very good condition but if we go through the things that can’t be seen with the eye we may find issues that need to be addressed. The need of a professional home inspection is increasing day by day because of increasing litigation due to unknown or undisclosed defects.

A normal individual is not supposed to be the expert of all these technical details. This leads to the need a professional home inspector who inspects the home. A typical home inspection will take several hours to complete. If testing is being done for things such as mold, radon, etc it could take several days to get these results back from the lab.

There are many advantages or benefits to hiring a professional home inspector, some of these benefits are:

Benefits for the buyers

1) With a professional home inspection a buyer can calculate the most realistic price of the property he is going to buy. However, in most cases, the inspection is done after negotiating the price. The home inspection results can be used in negotiating repairs or if the repairs are extensive a buyer may want to back out of the transaction if the contract allows it. The buyers can compare the features and drawbacks with the similar properties available in the same condition.

2) Ridding the buyer from the stress of legal or documentary formalities as the inspector will provide a written report.

3) A Buyer can better guess the possible lifetime of the structure; this will enable him in planning the prospective use of this structure.

4) A buyer can better understand the impact of any unknown natural disaster on the home structure.

5) This could also save hundreds of dollars by making the buyer aware of repairs needed at the surface, fitting, flooring or roof of the structure as well as electrical and plumbing.

6) It satisfies a buyer by familiarizing them with all the maintenance and repair details, well in advance.

Benefits for the sellers

1) A professional home inspection gives the sellers a better idea about the current condition of their property. This is most important in cases where seller has not lived in the house and isn’t very familiar with it. Such as rental property, inherited property, etc.

2) With the better understanding of the main features of the home seller can bargain more confidently about the pricing by making any necessary repairs prior to putting the house on the market.

3) Gives you confidence of well-trained, professional helping hands with you.

These benefits of a professional home inspection make this service very popular among buyers and sellers. I suggest working with an inspector who is a member of ASHI, American Society of Home Inspectors. A professional inspection, in the Chattanooga TN area, will cost about $325 but it’s money well spent by either a buyer or a seller.

A 411 on the Benefits of a Home Inspection For Home Buyers

Buying your own house is always a major decision to make. After all, you, as a buyer, will always want the best value for your money. One way of getting this is consulting a Professional Home Inspector service before you eventually purchase your home. However, not a lot of people are aware of what a home inspection actually is, and what is it exactly that inspectors do. Dismissing their services as only for those with extra money to spend or those who cannot inspect the structures themselves is not a very wise decision. But for the smart home buyer, having the home inspector enter take a look at the home first is always a smart move.

Before you decide to take that pen and signing that deed of sale, maybe think about having a Professional Home Inspection first. But you may ask, what exactly is it that the home inspector does? What should you expect once you do receive the services of one? In a basic home inspection, an inspector will perform a series of non-invasive and visual examination of the residential dwelling, which is designed to identify those materials defects which they may observe within specific components of the said dwelling. There are several components to each dwelling, whether it is mechanical, structural, electrical, plumbing, or any other system or component of the home. When it comes to which components are inspected, the home inspector and the client arrive at an agreement as to which one, or combination of components shall be inspected before inspection begins. In some states, as in Texas, there is a Pre-Inspection Agreement that is required to be signed before the inspection begins that outlines all the items that are covered, that are not covered and items which are optional.

The first benefit of having a home inspection is that you are assured that the home you are about to purchase is free from material defects which may endanger the lives of the residents. For instance, there are a lot of defects which any person may not notice given that he doesn’t really know how to inspect. There may be problems with the foundation of a home, the heating system, or the electrical wiring which the untrained person may not recognize as systematic.

After a home inspection, once you’ve had the inspector inspect the home and he has identified the defects, you are more or less aware of the overall condition of the house and what repairs have to be done, if any and in case you still wish to purchase the home despite the defects. This will be to your advantage as you will no longer have to make unplanned expenses in case it turns out later that the house needs more work than it looks like. In the end, paying for home inspection may actually prove to be more economical. Having the inspection is also economical in the sense that you get your money’s worth. Every consumer after all desires nothing more than getting the best value out of every cent spent, especially with today’s tough conditions. You will be sure that the home you purchase will be worth the amount with which you pay.

Whether for the safety reasons, or to get your money’s worth, or whatever reason you may have for hiring a home inspector, just remember that whenever you decide to have a home inspection, it will always be worth it.

Pre Listing Home Inspection – 7 Shocking Examples Show Why Home Sellers Need One

Over the last 10 years home sellers had it made. No need for inspections. If a buyer’s inspector found a problem, another buyer would come along. But that has changed. It is VERY difficult to get buyers into escrow now, and very easy to lose them if they find problems during their inspection. Here are true stories about issues that caused disasters ranging from large monetary losses for sellers to outright escrow cancellations. It is time for sellers to realize the value of the “Certified Pre Owned Home” services now available. A $300-$500 home inspection coupled with a home warranty can save the seller $1000s of dollars, make the buyer happier and help sell the home faster.

1. Listing says “Air Conditioned” but the home is not.

During the inspection, the buyer asked the inspector about the air conditioning. The inspector found that there is no air conditioning installed. The listing agent, when asked why the listing stated there is air conditioning, replied that the seller said there was. The air conditioning was important to the buyer, who works from home. The buyer attempted to negotiate a fair settlement from the seller to add air but the negotiation broke down and the sale was lost.

2. Home has serious construction defect.

Many homes are now built by builders as two on a lot or more. The home inspector saw that a balcony over the entry was tilted. When measured, it showed a slope to the east of over 2 inches in 4 feet. But there was no sign of distress in the stucco around the balcony. Inspection of the identical rear home showed that the same balcony was absolutely straight. The conclusion was that the builder had allowed the balcony to be finished even though it was at a tilt. The buyer dropped out stating “I was concerned that there might be other construction defects that were not as obvious.”

3. Bathroom sink has small water leak in tile counter top causing serious water damage.

Some defects are nearly undetectable. In this case, the dark tile on the counter and the rather stuffed cabinet concealed significant water damage. There was enough water to have caused the cabinet’s pressed wood base to expand, the shelf paper to discolor and some mold to start to grow on the paper. But there was no leak in the plumbing. Upon further inspection, it was found by the inspector that when water was splashed on the tile behind the faucet, it ran through small cracks in the tile grout and dripped to the back of the cabinet base. There was reason to expect that there was more moisture and mold under the cabinet base that could not be inspected. This finding, coupled with other troubling issues, caused the buyer to cancel.

4. Home has concealed earthquake damage.

A condo looked excellent from the street. The interior was in beautiful condition. Inspection of the plumbing under the sink, however, revealed a disturbing fact. The galvanized pipe drain that ran up from the bottom of the subterranean garage 3 stories below appeared to have raised up and smashed the drywall above it. Suspecting that this was impossible, the inspector recalled that this building had suffered damage from a powerful nearby earthquake. A closer look revealed that the floor had dropped 1-2 inches during that quake and not recovered and the ceiling had dropped along with the interior walls. Only the perimeter load bearing walls remained as built. The result was that the torn drywall was wall that had FALLEN onto the solid pipe. The damage was so extensive that the buyer dropped out.

5. Another listing without air conditioning.

This was a condo conversion and a very nice property. But again the listing said A/C but there was none. The buyer was, in this case, not as eager for the deal and used this as an excuse to drop out.

6. Hillside 1930’s home seller loses $200,000.

This home is on a hill and there were multiple retaining walls and tiered foundations that needed repair. There is no doubt that had the seller done a pre inspection, problems with the foundation could have been addressed for far lower cost by taking more time. But work was rushed because the home was in escrow and cost far more than necessary.

7. Lots of minor issues turn off first time buyer.

The buyer, a young lady looking for her first home, was put off by issues that were not individually that expensive, but they added up to a long list of problems she just could not cope with. Had the seller done a pre inspection and just done a little work this escrow would have closed.

Note: This article is copyrighted by the author but sellers, buyers, agents and other home inspectors are encouraged to copy and use this article as long as the author’s name and web site are kept with it.

Mistakes To Avoid During Building And Pest Inspection

Purchasing an establishment is one of the biggest investments individuals make. Of course, this venture is important to provide them with amazing benefits such as having a good establishment for their business or owning a wonderful place they can call their own. No matter what their reasons in purchasing a house, it is important to be careful and to be wise.

Surely, there are experts who can help you find the ideal house. In case that you have just moved in a new location, you can opt for a real estate agent. These agents can also help look for houses that can suit your needs. After which, you can also opt for banking institutions that can help you have sufficient finances to purchase a house.

But before, purchasing a house, it is important to also opt for building and pest inspection services. These services can help you protect your finances and provide you with the ideal establishment you are looking for. However, there are instances that building and pest inspection turns into a disaster due to some mistakes. Listed below are some mistakes you need to avoid during inspection.

Outside over inside

When checking an establishment for sale, you always find wonderful and appealing establishments. However, do not be deceived by their looks since you will never know what’s inside. Therefore, make sure that you first check its interior. This is important to ensure that the condition of the house is good.

Pleasure over safety

Safety must be the major concern when inspecting a house. Surely, you can find establishments filled with numerous appliances and fixtures. However, do not be carried away with these items since there might be hidden issues in the house. Not to mention, some fixtures may not be useful for you, which can only increase the price of the house and affect your budget.

Time vs. expenses

There are some buyers who want to purchase an establishment fast. Also, hiring an inspector is also expensive. These are some of the reasons buyers opt for a quick inspection which is a huge mistake. But, if you intend to make sure that the establishment you want to purchase is safe and reliable, it is best to spend more money to ensure that all areas of the establishment is thoroughly inspected.

Affordability vs. quality

Another huge mistake of buyers is saving money for a professional inspection. Thus, buyers do the inspection themselves. Unfortunately, this is a bad idea since inspectors have vast experience in inspecting houses. Not to mention, they know what areas must be carefully checked to ensure the credibility of the house. On the other hand, some buyers hire inexperienced inspectors due to their affordable services. Because of this, there are cases that buyers have purchased the wrong establishment.

With all these, buyers can avoid certain mistakes and find the best establishment that can improve their future. Click here for more.

What All You Must Know About The Building Inspections?

While you avail the services of building inspections, you are provided with a report that supports the essential facet for better deal of a building. The best part of the report is that it can help you avail the facility of proper legal guidance. In case any legal issue arises, then the report can be used as a support document in your favor.

Roles and responsibility of building inspector

A building inspector holds an integral role in the building inspection service. He has a combination of experience and knowledge through relevant qualification. His ability is confirmed through the license which shows that he has to work with complete professional indemnity.

The segment where the role of the building inspector arises is in the defects visible on the building. For example defects on the portion of a building where the requirement of repairing is visible or a portion that reflects disrepair, in the structural condition.

In other words, the overall condition of the building; both interior as well as exterior, disrepair, movement, any kind of physical damage or cracking in roofing in terms of any kind of leaks, state of repair, tiles, supports or last but not the least the site condition needs to be examined by the inspector.

If you are looking forward to purchase a building then the above mentioned are a few building issues which may cost a very huge amount of money, if not taken care of. The buyers must go for the pre-purchase building inspections. This will reduce all risks associated with the property, you are going to buy.

Incidentally it is ought to be known that the domain of services of inspection is restricted towards the qualification also. Some major issues of concern related to building inspector are electrical, plumbing and domains requiring professional licensing.

The building report

By utilizing the specialized services, the building inspection report in Australia is prepared considering the format as advised by the authorities. The Australian Standard AS 4349.1 lays the significant procedures here. Along with this, the entire condition of the building is also described in the report. This in turn is helpful for the buyers and gives them an indication of costs as well as the issues, if any. An important aspect to note here is that, in case there are any segments left from being clarified, then it is essential that they are mentioned in the report.

With this it becomes obvious that the building inspection reporting is crucial in a number of ways.

Working Safely with Concrete

Concrete is easy to work with, versatile, durable, and economical. While observing a few basic precautions, it is also safe-one of the safest building materials known. Over the years, relatively few people involved in mixing, handling, and finishing concrete have experienced injury. Outlined below are some simple suggestions-protection, prevention and common sense precautions-useful to anyone working with Portland cement and concrete.

The jobsite should be adequately marked to warn the public of construction activities. Fences, barricades, and warning signs can be used to restrict public access. The work area should be kept clean and uncluttered to minimize hazards to workers. Remember: safety is the job of everyone onsite.

Protect Your Head and Eyes

Construction equipment and tools represent constant potential hazards to busy construction personnel. It is therefore recommended that some sort of head protection, such as a hard hat or safety hat, be worn when working any construction project, large or small.

Proper eye protection is essential when working with cement or concrete. Eyes are particularly vulnerable to blowing dust, splattering concrete, and other foreign objects. On some jobs it may be advisable to wear full-cover goggles or safety glasses with side shields. Remember that sight is precious. Protect the head and eyes by using proper safety equipment and remaining alert.

Protect Your Back

All materials used to make concrete – Portland cement, coarse aggregate, sand, and water-can be quite heavy even in small quantities. When lifting heavy materials, your back should be straight, legs bent, and the weight between your legs as close to the body as possible. Do not twist at the waist while lifting or carrying these items. Rather than straining your back with a heavy load, get help. Remember to use your head, not your back.

Let mechanical equipment work to your advantage by placing concrete as close as possible to its final position. After the concrete is deposited in the desired area by chute, pump, or wheelbarrow, it should be pushed-not lifted-into final position with a shovel. A short-handled, square-end shovel is an effective tool for spreading concrete, but special concrete rakes or come-alongs also can be used. Excessive horizontal movement of the concrete not only requires extra effort, but may also lead to segregation of the concrete ingredients.

Avoid actions that cause dust to become airborne. Local or general ventilation can control exposures below applicable exposure limits; respirators may be used in poorly ventilated areas, where exposure limits are exceeded, or when dust causes discomfort or irritation. Avoid prolonged exposure to dust.

Protect Your Skin

When working with fresh concrete, care should be taken to avoid skin irritation or chemical burns. Prolonged contact between fresh concrete and skin surfaces, eyes, and clothing may result in burns that are quite severe, including third-degree burns. If irritation persists consult a physician. For deep burns or large affected skin areas, seek medical attention immediately.

The A-B-Cs of fresh concrete’s effect on skin are:

Abrasive Sand contained in fresh concrete is abrasive to bare skin. Basic & Portland cement is alkaline in nature, so wet Caustic concrete and other cement mixtures are strongly basic (pH of 12 to 13). Strong bases-like strong acids-are harmful, or caustic to skin. Drying Portland cement is hygroscopic-it absorbs water. In fact, Portland cement needs water to harden. It will draw water away from any material it contacts-including skin.

Clothing worn as protection from fresh concrete should not be allowed to become saturated with moisture from fresh concrete because saturated clothing can transmit alkaline or hygroscopic effects to the skin.

Waterproof gloves, a long-sleeved shirt, and long pants should be worn. If you must stand in fresh concrete while it is being placed, screeded, or floated, wear rubber boots high enough to prevent concrete from getting into them.

The best way to avoid skin irritation is to wash frequently with pH neutral soap and clean water.

Placing and Finishing

Waterproof pads should be used between fresh concrete surfaces and knees, elbows, hands, etc., to protect the body during finishing operations. Eyes and skin that come in contact with fresh concrete should be flushed thoroughly with clean water. Clothing that becomes saturated from contact with fresh concrete should be rinsed out promptly with clear water to prevent continued contact with skin surfaces. For persistent or severe discomfort, consult a physician.

When working with fresh concrete, begin each day by wearing clean clothing and conclude the day with a bath or shower.

Information Source: Portland Cement Association

What To Know About Building Inspections

Buying a house entails a lot of considerations. With the help of a licensed and reputable building inspection service, you can find out the exact condition of the property you’re considering and be confident about your safety and comfort once you move in. If you’re unfamiliar with the process of a building inspection, home experts explain a few things.

Building inspectors do the job according to prevailing standards. Inspectors have to follow the Australian Standard 4349.1 – 1995 when conducting an inspection of the residential building. So you can expect that the inspector will use strict inspection criteria, which allows for an extensive assessment of the property.

When you get a building inspection, your inspector may not check for pest infestation. Know that checking for termites, borers, and other pests indigenous to the region, will require an entirely different process. If there are concerns about termites or insects, look for services that do pest inspections. Expert contractors can also offer both building and pest inspection.

Building and pest inspection companies should operate independently. The inspector you hire should not be affiliated with relevant business like real estate agencies or pest control companies. This independence allows your inspector to deliver results uninfluenced by any party.

Building and pest inspectors use state-of-the-art equipment. From thermal imaging cameras to moisture metres, technology has given inspectors the tools needed to deliver accurate findings. This should help you make a more informed decision.

The rooms and areas for inspection will be detailed in your agreement. While inspections will be thorough, know that your building and pest inspector will be limited to areas that are not accessible. Be sure to note inaccessible areas in your home and find a way to make them accessible. Your building and pest inspector will explain the results of the inspection to give a clearer understanding of the property’s condition.

Most licensed and reputable inspectors will also be able to recommend what steps you can take to manage or resolve the problems uncovered during the inspection. The building inspection cost you pay now will pay off in the future. It’s an investment that will give you peace of mind and an exact knowledge of the property’s value.

It is really best to know a reputable property inspector so you can ensure that your home is safe, lasting and durable. Most home experts recommend this smart move to save money. If you are a property owner and you want to ensure your home is durable, get the help of a property inspection service. Click here to know more.

Essential Tips On Mold Inspection And Removal

If you know or suspect that you have mold in your home, you need to find out the best way to deal with it. Your first step should be to figure out the source so that you can find out how to stop it from spreading or coming back. Most experts agree that dealing with the moisture problem is the most important step. Only after dealing with the moisture can you successfully tackle the mold problem.

Getting home inspection

Mold will often grow in dark humid areas and it can be difficult to spot until it is too late. It does not take much for the mold to thrive and it may have spread by the time you see it. It is very important to get mold inspection services for the best results. The experts will inspect different mold prone areas like basements, attics, behind drywall, ceilings, under sinks and crawlspaces. Most homeowners do not realize the extent of the mold issue until after the inspection.

Removing the mold

If you are dealing with a small surface, you can probably clean the mold yourself. It is, however, important to make sure that you wear protective gear including gloves and a respirator, and use the right cleaning products. For most hard surfaces, a multi-purpose cleaner or regular detergent can work effectively. The use of bleach is not recommended and you should make sure that you dry the surface thoroughly after cleaning. Remove and dispose of any porous material that is affected by mold.

Professional removal

If the mold has affected a large area, you need to get trained professionals to deal with the situation. Look for a trained professional who will provide mold testing and removal. A reputable remediation expert can give you relevant advice on the best removal technique. The expert will contain the mold issue, remove and dispose of it and restore the surface back to its pre-mold condition. This means that you can get everything from replacing damaged structures to using a mold inhibitor to seal the area. You can get inspection services after the cleanup is complete; to make sure that the mold is all gone.

When a mold issue has been identified, it is important to make sure that it is solved immediately. Inspection and prompt remediation will solve the problem in your best interest. Solving the problem and ensuring that it does not re-occur is important for the home occupants. Mold control begins with moisture control and it is essential to prevent risk to people and property.

Home Inspection Basics

The Home Inspector

When you think about it, it is a bit odd. A person hires a stranger to snoop around another stranger’s house for a couple hours and report back. It’s sounds rather like someone hiring a burglar to case a house for a robbery. The major difference is that the owner of the home is a willing participant, too, and that everything is actually quite legal and above board. The motive of the buyer is, of course, to make sure that he or she doesn’t get ‘robbed’ with a broken-down furnace that the seller say is fine, for example. This happened to me in the days before home inspection was a common part of the real estate transaction. Though the service has been around since the 1970s, it has only really become an integral part of home-buying since the mid to late 1990s.

My wife and I ended up with a furnace that was soon condemned by a technician and a nice big bill for a new one. It was mid-November and we couldn’t exactly get along without one. What did we know about furnaces? We didn’t know how long one lasted or how to tell if it was in good shape or not. That was a dozen years ago. We know much better now about furnaces – nothing like getting burned to make you more wary next time.

Home inspectors are, like me, regular people who are interested in houses, their construction, their systems, and pretty much anything else about them. They are usually generalists with knowledge of thousands of bits of information about pretty much anything and everything in the home. Some, have additional specialties in various trades, or will offer additional services at additional costs for things such as Radon inspections. Many, like me, are trained and certified via colleges or corporations such as Carson-Dunlop Consulting Engineers in Toronto.

We are also interested in the people who live there and the people who are looking to move in. Like you, we have spouses, children, parents, pets, and other relatives with whom we share our living spaces. What we all have in common is that we all want a nice, clean, safe place to live with – hopefully – no nasty surprises. We want to help you realize what you have before you buy or sell, so you can make informed choices.

No house is perfect. That’s not to say something is wrong with it, but think of a house as an organic entity. It sits on a foundation. It stands on its framework. It breathes and has circulatory systems. It needs to keep at a comfortable and even temperature. And, most of all, it needs to be maintained. Like your own body, or even your car, if you don’t take care of it, it will start to age prematurely and fall apart.

But what are home inspectors and why do you need one?

Think of a home inspector looking over your house like the mechanic you have to look at your car. Houses need to be maintained and looked after. However, like cars, sometimes we don’t take as much care of them as we should. Some things are not fixed, while other things are never even noticed or checked over the years and fall into disrepair. Home inspectors act as the detached third-party that advises on the condition and status of the home without the emotional investment. Good home inspectors give the straight facts, will point out things to watch or fix, and will point out the positives of your home as well.

Just as the name suggests, home inspectors inspect homes, but they also usually inspect garages, patios, decks, driveways, and the lay of the land. Some will inspect other structures such as sheds, barns, gazebos, pools and pool houses, but these are beyond the standards for most inspectors. Many will adhere to the standards and practices of the Canadian Association of Home and Property Inspectors (CAHPI or CAHI) or the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) – whether or not they are actual members in the association.

Home inspection is the fastest-growing trade within the real estate industry in North America with about two-thirds to three-quarters of all homes undergoing an inspection. Home inspectors have become an integral part of the home transaction process. While most home inspectors are called in once a purchaser is ready to buy a home, some are called in by sellers before they want to sell, or by homeowners who are looking at major renovations or upgrades to their home.

What do they do?

In any situation, the inspection process is basically the same. After initial introductions and a discussion of what’s to be done, where to go, where not to go (the baby’s room), and other criteria, the inspector gets down to the ‘dirty’ work. The inspector will give the home and property a thorough going-over – usually beginning outside, then moving indoors from room to room making observations and notes on a checklist. It is common for inspectors to go into rooms two or three times looking at different things each time. Others will visit certain rooms only once, performing all the checks they need then and there. Each inspector is different and works differently.

Safety is the over-riding concern of the home inspector – both for the inspector and the customer. Some home inspectors will open up electrical panels to look at wiring, others will not, but all should inspect the panel(s), the wiring, distribution system, grounding, load, and other visible bits and pieces.

Most inspectors will look inside furnaces and other heating devices if the panels come off easily. Others will use tools to remove panels, but many will draw the line there. Many inspectors will walk on the roof when conditions permit to inspect the roof, the materials and workmanship, and things such as vents, chimney(s), and gutters. Some roofs are very steep, in bad shape, or are constructed with fragile tiles. Most inspectors will not walk on the roof in these situations, but will either look from the edge via a ladder, look from an adjacent structure, or use binoculars while on the ground.

Plumbing is another major system that home inspectors will spend a good deal of time examining. They’ll look at what the pipes are made of, whether it’s electrically grounded or not, how the water looks, flows, and even smells, how hot the water gets, as well as operate every tap and toilet to ensure that they are all working well and not leaking. Home inspectors will also be looking for other leaks – past and present, evidence of water damage, and they will look at drainage systems and sump pumps.

The structure is another key point of the inspection. Inspectors will look at how the house is holding itself up – literally, and how it is, or has been settling in and weathering through the years. Inspectors will look for wall and floor cracks due to settling and try to determine the age and severity of the crack. Home inspectors will also examine the brickwork, windows, doors, joists, rafters, pad, and other elements for warping, fire or water damage, poor construction, tampering or dangerous remodelling, and other tell-tale signs of how the house is build and maintained.

Home inspectors will often crawl around in crawlspaces, peer into or enter attics, look in closets and chimneys, around windows and doors, under carpets, and every other place in the house where they see or suspect evidence of something may be amiss – or may be particularly good.

Typical items not looked at are more cosmetic in nature. Paint is not a major concern unless it gives evidence to other problems like mold, weathering, and so on. Carpeting is not usually commented on unless is moldy or on top of electrical wiring. Landscaping will be looked at with regards to effect on the house. Trees and shrubs are often planted too close to a house or grow up against them over time and may cause damage. Mostly, landscaping issues deal with the slope or grade of the land and whether drainage issues are of a concern.

What do you get out of it? Good home inspectors will write up a report and give you an oral summary of what was found. The home inspector may show you certain matters of particular interest or concern, or you may simply get a summary of items noticed and noted in the report. The home inspector should not be making decisions for you on the home, but may, if qualified, make certain professional recommendations, or recommend that you get more serious matters inspected by a specifically-trained service person.

Inspectors should be giving you a status check of you home’s vital elements – not a laundry list of what’s wrong with the place. There are plenty of small things that may be ‘wrong’ as in needing minor attention or monitoring, but are not critical to the overall safety or marketability of the home. The worst thing a home inspector can do is become emotional about the house being inspected. Good home inspectors are like good doctors or mechanics. They tell you what they find, and about how critical or not a deficiency may be, but they shouldn’t be alarmist unless the situation is potentially dangerous or deadly (for example, live wires exposed within reach of children or a seriously deteriorated chimney which may collapse). Otherwise, the inspector should be detached and business-like in presenting his or her findings.

The seller has the emotional investment of living in a home and usually is quite sensitive about it. The buyer is putting an emotional investment into the home because they like the place and can picture themselves enjoying it. That’s where emotional biases come into play and sober reasoning can get the better of you by making you not see potential problems or excuse them away because you really, really want this house. This is exactly why home inspectors have entered the scene in order to remove the emotions and provide sober commentary. Home inspectors don’t get involved with the price of homes, and certainly don’t decide for you on whether to buy or not (or sell). What they reveal about a home might affect the negotiations, but the home inspector shouldn’t be involved in them directly. For example, depending on the size of a home, a nearly-dead furnace can cost $5000 to $10,000 to replace, or new roofing of very tired shingles can cost from $3000 to $30,000 – a not insignificant impact on the home’s worth during a transaction.