Tag Archives: Home

Home Inspections – A Question and Answer Guide

A home inspection is an evaluation of the visible and accessible systems and components of a home (plumbing, heating and cooling, electrical, structure, roof, etc.) and is intended to give the client (buyer, seller, or homeowner) a better understanding of the home’s general condition. Most often it is a buyer who requests an inspection of the home he or she is serious about purchasing. A home inspection delivers data so that decisions about the purchase can be confirmed or questioned, and can uncover serious and/or expensive to repair defects that the seller/owner may not be aware of. It is not an appraisal of the property’s value; nor does it address the cost of repairs. It does not guarantee that the home complies with local building codes or protect a client in the event an item inspected fails in the future. [Note: Warranties can be purchased to cover many items.] A home inspection should not be considered a “technically exhaustive” evaluation, but rather an evaluation of the property on the day it is inspected, taking into consideration normal wear and tear for the home’s age and location. A home inspection can also include, for extra fees, Radon gas testing, water testing, energy audits, pest inspections, pool inspections, and several other specific items that may be indigenous to the region of the country where the inspection takes place. Home inspections are also used (less often) by a seller before listing the property to see if there are any hidden problems that they are unaware of, and also by homeowners simply wishing to care for their homes, prevent surprises, and keep the home investment value as high as possible.

The important results to pay attention to in a home inspection are:

1. Major defects, such as large differential cracks in the foundation; structure out of level or plumb; decks not installed or supported properly, etc. These are items that are expensive to fix, which we classify as items requiring more than 2% of the purchase price to repair.

2. Things that could lead to major defects – a roof flashing leak that could get bigger, damaged downspouts that could cause backup and water intrusion, or a support beam that was not tied in to the structure properly.

3. Safety hazards, such as an exposed electrical wiring, lack of GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters) in kitchens and bathrooms, lack of safety railing on decks more than 30 inches off the ground, etc.

Your inspector will advise you about what to do about these problems. He/she may recommend evaluation – and on serious issues most certainly will – by licensed or certified professionals who are specialists in the defect areas. For example, your inspector will recommend you call a licensed building engineer if they find sections of the home that are out of alignment, as this could indicate a serious structural deficiency.

Home Inspections are only done by a buyer after they sign a contract, right?

This is not true! As you will see when you read on, a home inspection can be used for interim inspections in new construction, as a maintenance tool by a current homeowner, a proactive technique by sellers to make their home more sellable, and by buyers wanting to determine the condition of the potential home.

Sellers, in particular, can benefit from getting a home inspection before listing the home. Here are just a few of the advantages for the seller:

· The seller knows the home! The home inspector will be able to get answers to his/her questions on the history of any problems they find.

· A home inspection will help the seller be more objective when it comes to setting a fair price on the home.

· The seller can take the report and make it into a marketing piece for the home.

· The seller will be alerted to any safety issues found in the home before they open it up for open house tours.

· The seller can make repairs leisurely instead being in a rush after the contract is signed.

Why should I get a home inspection?

Your new home has dozens of systems and over 10,000 parts – from heating and cooling to ventilation and appliances. When these systems and appliances work together, you experience comfort, energy savings, and durability. Weak links in the system, however, can produce assorted problems leading to a loss in value and shortened component life. Would you buy a used car without a qualified mechanic looking at it? Your home is far more complicated, and to have a thorough inspection that is documented in a report arms you with substantial information on which to make decisions.

Why can’t I do the inspection myself?

Most homebuyers lack the knowledge, skill, and objectivity needed to inspect a home themselves. By using the services of a professional home inspector, they gain a better understanding of the condition of the property; especially whether any items do not “function as intended” or “adversely affect the habitability of the dwelling” or “warrant further investigation” by a specialist. Remember that the home inspector is a generalist and is broadly trained in every home system.

Why can’t I ask a family member who is handy or who is a contractor to inspect my new home?

Although your nephew or aunt may be very skilled, he or she is not trained or experienced in professional home inspections and usually lacks the specialized test equipment and knowledge required for an inspection. Home inspection training and expertise represent a distinct, licensed profession that employs rigorous standards of practice. Most contractors and other trade professionals hire a professional home inspector to inspect their own homes when they themselves purchase a home!

What does a home inspection cost?

This is often the first question asked but the answer tells the least about the quality of the inspection. Fees are based according to size, age and various other aspects of the home. Inspection fees from a certified professional home inspector generally start under $300. An average price for a 2,000 square foot home nationally is about $350-$375. What you should pay attention to is not the fee, but the qualifications of your inspector. Are they nationally certified (passed the NHIE exam)? Are they state certified if required?

How long does the inspection take?

This depends upon the size and condition of the home. You can usually figure 1.2 hours for every 1,000 square feet. For example, a 2,500 square foot house would take about 3 hours. If the company also produces the report at your home, that will take an additional 30-50 minutes.

Do all homes require a home inspection?

Yes and No. Although not required by law in most states, we feel that any buyer not getting a home inspection is doing themselves a great disservice. They may find themselves with costly and unpleasant surprises after moving into the home and suffer financial headaches that could easily have been avoided.

Should I be at the inspection?

It’s a great idea for you be present during the inspection – whether you are buyer, seller, or homeowner. With you there, the inspector can show you any defects and explain their importance as well as point out maintenance features that will be helpful in the future. If you can’t be there, it is not a problem since the report you receive will be very detailed. If you are not present, then you should be sure to ask your inspector to explain anything that is not clear in the report. Also read the inspection agreement carefully so you understand what is covered and what is not covered in the inspection. If there is a problem with the inspection or the report, you should raise the issues quickly by calling the inspector, usually within 24 hours. If you want the inspector to return after the inspection to show you things, this can be arranged and is a good idea, however, you will be paying for the inspector’s time on a walkthrough since this was not included in the original service.

Should the seller attend the home inspection that has been ordered by the buyer?

The seller will be welcome at the inspection (it is still their home) although they should understand that the inspector is working for the buyer. The conversation that the inspector has with the buyer may be upsetting to the seller if the seller was unaware of the items being pointed out, or the seller may be overly emotional about any flaws. This is a reason why the seller might want to consider getting their own inspection before listing the home.

Can a house fail a home inspection?

No. A home inspection is an examination of the current condition of your prospective home. It is not an appraisal, which determines market value, or a municipal inspection, which verifies local code compliance. A home inspector, therefore, cannot not pass or fail a house. The inspector will objectively describe the home’s physical condition and indicate which items are in need of repair or replacement.

What is included in the inspection?

The following list is not exhaustive. Not all of these may be in the inspection you get, but the inspector will be following a standardized checklist for the home:

· Site drainage and grading

· Driveway

· Entry Steps, handrails

· Decks

· Masonry

· Landscape (as it relates to the home)

· Retaining walls

· Roofing, flashings, chimneys, and attic

· Eaves, soffits, and fascias

· Walls, doors, windows, patios, walkways

· Foundation, basement, and crawlspaces

· Garage, garage walls, floor, and door operation

· Kitchen appliances (dishwasher, range/oven/cooktop/hoods, microwave, disposal, trash compactor)

· Laundry appliances (washer and dryer)

· Ceilings, walls, floors

· Kitchen counters, floors, and cabinets

· Windows and window gaskets

· Interior doors and hardware

· Plumbing systems and fixtures

· Electrical system, panels, entrance conductors

· Electrical grounding, GFCI, outlets

· Smoke (fire) detectors

· Ventilation systems and Insulation

· Heating equipment and controls

· Ducts and distribution systems

· Fireplaces

· Air Conditioning and controls

· Heat Pumps and controls

· Safety items such as means of egress, TPRV valves, railings, etc.

Other items that are not a part of the standard inspection can be added for an additional fee:

· Radon Gas Test

· Water Quality Test

· Termite Inspection (usually performed by a separate company)

· Gas Line Leak Test (usually performed by the gas company)

· Sprinkler System Test

· Swimming Pool and Spa Inspection

· Mold Screening (sometimes performed by a separate company)

· Septic System Inspection (usually performed by a separate company)

· Alarm System (usually performed by a separate company)

We recommend getting a Radon Test if your prospective home falls into an area of the country with known Radon seepage, since Radon gas produces cancer second only to cigarette smoking and can be easily mitigated by installing a vent system. We also recommend a water test to make sure you do not have bacteria in the water supply. Water can also be tested for Radon.

What is not included in the inspection?

Most people assume that everything is inspected in depth on inspection day. This misunderstanding has caused many a homebuyer to be upset with their inspector. The inspections we do are not exhaustive and there is a good reason for this. If you hired someone with licenses for heating and cooling, electrical, plumbing, engineering, etc. to inspect your house, it would take about 14 hours and cost you about $2000! It is much more practical to hire a professional inspector who has generalist knowledge of home systems, knows what to look for, and can recommend further inspection by a specialist if needed. Your inspector is also following very specific guidelines as he/she inspects your home. These are either national guidelines (ASHI – American Society of Home Inspectors, InterNACHI – International Association of Certified Home Inspectors) or state guidelines. These guidelines are carefully written to protect both your home and the inspector. Here are some examples: We are directed to not turn systems on if they were off at the time of the inspection (safety reasons); we are not allowed to move furniture (might harm something); not allowed to turn on water if it is off (possible flooding), and not allowed to break through a sealed attic hatch (possible damage). The downside of this practice is that by not operating a control, by not seeing under the furniture, and not getting into the attic or crawlspace, we will might miss identifying a problem. However, put into perspective, the chances of missing something serious because of this is quite low, and the guideline as it relates to safety and not harming anything in the home is a good one. There are other items that 95% of inspectors consider outside a normal inspection, and these include inspecting most things that are not bolted down (installed in the home) such as electronics, low voltage lighting, space heaters, portable air conditioners, or specialized systems such as water purifiers, alarm systems, etc.

What if there are things you can’t inspect (like snow on the roof)?

It just so happens that some days the weather elements interfere with a full home inspection! There isn’t much we can do about this either. If there is snow on the roof we will tell you we were unable to inspect it. Of course we will be looking at the eves and the attic, and any other areas where we can get an idea of condition, but we will write in the report that we could not inspect the roof. It is impractical for us to return another day once the snow melts, because we have full schedules. However, you can usually pay an inspector a small fee to return and inspect the one or two items they were unable to inspect when they were there the first time. This is just the way things go. If you ask the inspector for a re-inspection, they will usually inspect the items then at no extra charge (beyond the re-inspection fee).

Will the inspector walk on the roof?

The inspector will walk on the roof if it is safe, accessible, and strong enough so that there is no damage done to it by walking on it. Some roofs – such as slate and tile, should not be walked on. Sometimes because of poor weather conditions, extremely steep roofs, or very high roofs, the inspector will not be able to walk the roof. The inspector will try to get up to the edge though, and will also use binoculars where accessibility is a problem. They will also examine the roof from the upper windows if that is possible. There is a lot the inspector can determine from a visual examination from a ladder and from the ground, and they will be able to tell a lot more from inside the attic about the condition of the roof as well.

Should I have my house tested for Radon? What exactly is Radon?

In many areas of the country, the answer is a definite yes. You can ask your real estate agent about this or go on to the internet for a radon map of the country. Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless radioactive gas that’s formed during the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water. Radon exits the ground and can seep into your home through cracks and holes in the foundation. Radon gas can also contaminate well water.

Health officials have determined that radon gas is a serious carcinogen that can cause lung cancer, second only to cigarette smoking. The only way to find out if your house contains radon gas is to perform a radon measurement test, which your home inspector can do. Make sure the person conducting your test has been trained to The National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) or The National Radon Safety Board (NRSB) standards.

What about a newly constructed home? Does it need a home inspection?

Yes! In fact, we find far more problems, some quite serious, in newly constructed homes than in homes that have been lived in for years. This is not due to your builder’s negligence – he/she has done the best job they could with subcontractors and planning – it’s just that there are so many systems in a home, that it is close to impossible to inspect everything, and correct it before the Certificate of Occupancy is issued. Then, for some reason, the subcontractors no longer want to work on the home, and final jobs and details are missed. We recommend getting several professional home inspections near the completion stages of the home to discover everything that should be corrected. If the house is still new but sitting for a while before sale, it’s even more important to get a home inspection. We have seen water lines not hooked up, plumbing lines not hooked up, sewer lines not hooked up, vents not hooked up, and a variety of other serious but easily correctable problems!

I am having a home built. The builder assures me he will inspect everything. Should I have an independent inspector make periodic inspections?

Absolutely yes! No matter how good your builder is, he/she WILL miss things. They are so concerned with the house, they get so close to their work, as do the subcontractors, that important items can, and will be, overlooked. Have a professional inspector make at least 4-6 interim inspections. They will be worth their weight in gold.

What is the Pre-Inspection Agreement?

Most service professionals have a service agreement, and home inspection is no different. In fact, there is enough confusion about what a home inspection should deliver that the agreement is even more important. Some homeowners who get a home inspection expect everything in the home to be perfect after the repairs. This is not the case! Imagine getting a call from a homeowner a year later who says the toilet is not flushing – remember that the inspection is a moment in time snapshot. In the inspection agreement the inspector is clear about what the inspection delivers and the things that are not covered, as well as what you should do if you are not pleased with the services. We really think that by reviewing this before-hand you will understand much more about the inspection and be happier with the results. A home inspection does not guard against future problems, nor does it guarantee that all problems will be found.

What kind of report will I get following the inspection?

There are as many versions of a “report” as there are inspection companies. Guidelines dictate that the inspector deliver a written report to the client. This can range from a handwritten checklist that has multiple press copies without pictures and 4 pages long to a computer generated professionally produced report with digital pictures that is 35 pages long and can be converted to Adobe PDF for storage and emailing. Be sure to check with your inspector about the report he or she uses. We recommend the computer generated report, since the checklist is more detailed and easier for the homeowner/buyer/seller to detail out the issues with photographs. In this modern age, we feel the reports must be web accessible and e-mailable to match the technologies most of us are using.

There are some great things you can use the report for in addition to the wealth of information it simply gives you on your new home:

· Use the report as a checklist and guide for the contractor to make repairs and improvements or get estimates and quotes from more than one contractor.

· Use the report as a budgeting tool using the inspector’s recommendations and the remaining expected life of components to keep the property in top shape.

· If you are a seller, use the report to make repairs and improvements, raising the value of the home and impressing the buyers. Then have a re-inspection and use this second report as a marketing tool for prospective buyers.

· Use the report as a “punch list” on a re-inspection and as a baseline for ongoing maintenance.

Will the report be emailable or available as an Adobe PDF file?

Yes. As discussed in the last question, you will probably want your inspector to be using the latest reporting technology.

What if I think the inspector missed something?

Inspectors are human, and yes, they do miss items. However, they routinely use advanced tools and techniques to reduce the possibility that they will miss something. This includes very detailed checklists, reference manuals, computer based lists, and a methodical always-done-the-same-way of physically moving around your home. That is one of the reasons that an inspector can miss an item when they get interrupted. The inspector will have a set way of resuming the inspection if this happens. If, in the end, something IS missed, call the inspector and discuss it. It may warrant the inspector returning to view something that you found. Remember, the inspector is doing the very best job they know how to do, and probably did not miss the item because they were lax in their technique or did not care.

What if the inspector tells me I should have a professional engineer or a licensed plumber or other professional contractor in to look at something they found? Isn’t this “passing the buck”?

You may be disappointed that further investigation is required, but, believe us, your inspector is doing exactly what they should be doing. The purpose of the inspection is to discover defects that affect your safety and the functioning of the home; the inspector is a generalist, not a specialist. Our code of ethics as well as national and state guidelines dictate that only contractors that are licensed in their specialty field should work on these systems and areas. When they tell you that a specialist is needed, there may be a bigger, more critical issue that you need to know about. If you move into the home without getting these areas checked by a qualified specialist, you could be in for some nasty and expensive surprises. The inspector does not want to cause you any more expense or worry either, so when they do recommend further evaluation they are being serious about protecting you and your investment.

Will the inspector provide a warranty on the inspected items?

Most inspectors do not give the homeowner a warranty on inspected items. Remember, a home inspection is a visual examination on a certain day, and the inspector cannot predict what issues could arise over time after the inspection. However, some inspectors are now including a warranty from the largest home warranty company in America – American Home Warranty Corporation, as well as others, on the inspected items for 60 or 90 days. This is a very good deal, and the agreement can be extended after the initial period for a relatively small amount of money.

Do most inspection companies offer money back guarantees?

Most inspection companies do not offer a satisfaction guarantee nor do they mention it in their advertising. It’s always a good thing if you can get extra services for no additional cost from your inspection company, and of course a satisfaction guarantee is an indication of superior customer service. You usually have to call your inspection company right after the inspection and viewing of the report to tell them you are not satisfied. If you are not happy with the services, you should talk to your inspector first and let him/her correct the issue(s) you are unhappy with first, as the inspector is trying to make an honest living just like the rest of us, and is not failing you on purpose.

What if my report comes back with nothing really defective in the home? Should I ask for my money back?

No, don’t ask for your money back – you just received great news! Now you can complete your home purchase with peace of mind about the condition of the property and all its equipment and systems. You will have valuable information about your new home from the inspector’s report, and will want to keep that information for future reference. Most importantly, you can feel assured that you are making a well-informed purchase decision.

What if the inspection reveals serious defects?

If the inspection reveals serious defects in the home (we define a serious defect as something that will cost more than 2% of the purchase price to fix) then pat yourself on the back for getting an inspection. You just saved yourself a ton of money. Of course it is disappointing, even heart wrenching, to find out that your well researched house is now a problem house, but you now know the facts and can either negotiate with the seller, or move on. You may want the home so much that it will be worth it to negotiate the price and then perform the repairs. Imagine, though, if you had not gotten the inspection – you would have had some very unpleasant surprises.

Can I ask my home inspector to perform the repairs?

You can, but if your inspector is ethical, he/she will refuse, and correctly so; it is a conflict of interest for the person who inspected your home to also repair it! Inspectors are specifically barred from this practice by licensing authorities, and it’s a good practice – an inspector must remain completely impartial when he or she inspects your home. This is one reason you should have a professional home inspector inspect your home and not a contractor – the contractor will want the repair work and you are likely to not have an objective inspection from this person even though they mean well and are technically competent.

Does the Seller have to make the repairs?

The inspection report results do not place an obligation on the seller to repair everything mentioned in the report. Once the home condition is known, the buyer and the seller should sit down and discuss what is in the report. The report will be clear about what is a repair and what is a discretionary improvement. This area should be clearly negotiated between the parties. It’s important to know that the inspector must stay out of this discussion because it is outside of their scope of work.

After the home inspection and consulting with the seller on the repairs, can I re-employ the inspector to come re-inspect the home to make sure everything got fixed?

You certainly can, and it’s a really good idea. For a small fee the inspector will return to determine if the repairs were completed, and if they were completed correctly.

What if I find problems after I move into my new home?

A home inspection is not a guarantee that problems won’t develop after you move in. However, if you believe that a problem was visible at the time of the inspection and should have been mentioned in the report, your first step should be to call the inspector. He or she will be fine with this, and does want you to call if you think there is a problem. If the issue is not resolved with a phone call, they will come to your home to look at it. They will want you to be satisfied and will do everything they can to do this. One way to protect yourself between the inspection and the move-in is to conduct a final walkthrough on closing day and use both the inspection report AND a Walkthrough Checklist to make sure everything is as it should be.

Copyright 2010 by Lisa P. Turner

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.

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.

Pros and Cons of Home Inspection

Millions of Real Estate transactions happen on daily basis and it is important for buyers to protect themselves in as many ways they can. One of the simplest is to hire a home inspector. Home inspection offers both the immediate and long term benefits to the buyer. It can also be beneficial for the seller as it can avoid deal-breakers. If the issues and problems can be resolved before being identified by a potential buyer the seller has more chances in getting their asking price. In general, it’s worthwhile to get the inspection done for both, sellers and buyers.

The buyer gets benefits in several ways.As the buyers invest a sizable chunk of money to buy a home it is important to identify any deficiencies that may cost extra money and stress, an inspection by a qualified third-party will disclose the facts. All the serious, major and minor defects are revealed. In some cases there may be some critical structural defects that may be as good as rebuilding the house. Or, the defects may eat away a lot of money and time to rectify them. They may not be able to use the house at all till those are taken care of. There can be some problems related to the safety of occupants, which are to be removed before moving in.

Another benefit inspection offers are that the buyer can get quotes for needed repairs and uses them to negotiate the price with the seller. Moreover, a home inspection eliminates buyer’s remorse about the problems later on.

The home inspector will check and report about ins and outs of the property, areas like basement, structural, construction and safety issues, condition of the roof, and electrical, water lines and heating, air conditioning or ventilation systems. That will ensure to the buyer what all needs attention to repair or replace and he can get the quotes for evaluating the costs involved and the buyers can plan what should be done when and make their budget.

When it comes to disadvantages of hiring an inspector, there isn’t really anything major, except incurring some expenses for inspection. The cost is small in comparison to saving that can be achieved. Of course a qualified and in-depth inspection is key here.

A seller also benefits from a home inspection as he/she can avoid problems later on. Before listing the house for sale, a home inspection will help the seller to recognize the potential problems with the home and they can be addressed before showing the property to buyers. Multiple quotes fir repairs can be obtained and a proper job done as oppose to making urgent repairs 2 weeks before closing. This cant cost a fortune.

Most importantly, all issues and problems resolved before the buyer shows up. If a seller is not ready to allow inspection, and is firm on the price as is, the likelihood of a fast sale or a sale at all is very small.

A home inspection gives confidence to both seller and the buyer. Seller can prepare for the sale of the home, reduce problems and get a better price. They can also eliminate the chance of over-inflated estimates presented by the buyers at the time of the negotiations.

So overall, home inspection is a great way to minimize risk, increase property value and avoid hassles and waste of time, energy and other resources, both for buyers and sellers alike.

Home Inspections: Investment or Expenditure?

Congratulations! You’ve found the perfect home and now it’s time to do the offer and finalize the deal. If you’re like many people, you may be feeling a cash crunch by this time. You might be wondering why you would want to incur yet another expenditure, such as a pre-purchase home inspection. A valid consideration!

When choosing a home it’s important to know whether or not the house needs work, and how much it’s likely to cost. A prudent home buyer may want to make an offer to purchase “conditional upon obtaining a satisfactory inspection report. Having the home inspected before waiving any conditions gives you the security of knowing what to expect. It helps you make an informed decision about the condition and cost of upkeep of the home.

Professional home inspectors are trained to determine the presence of otherwise unsuspected problems in the home, through clues and symptoms that an untrained eye may not connect to the problem. Equally important, is the opportunity to have a thorough explanation of how to operate and maintain the home.

Shop around and choose an inspection company wisely. Look for a professional company, and inquire about the experience of the individual inspector. Look for an inspector or company that you feel comfortable with in terms of their ability to communicate with you. Attend the inspection, and ask questions. Your real estate agent or lawyer can help you locate a reputable home inspector.

A quality home inspection includes the entire structure from roof to foundation, the interior and exterior, and all the electro-mechanical systems. A complete inspection takes 2½ to 3 hours, includes a written report, and normally costs about $250 to $350 depending on the inspection company chosen. It won’t eliminate all the risk associated with home ownership, however it can be a value added, information gathering process that gives you a better understanding of your new home. And more security!

Don’t settle for less.

Importance of Home Inspection

Home inspections are important as they enable a buyer to learn about the physical attributes of the home. In almost all instances, homes are sold in less than perfect condition. Therefore, a buyer needs to be informed about the anticipated costs associated with maintaining the home post-closing.

As a result, the house inspection is a significant phase of the home buying process. An accredited and experienced home inspector investigates the home and writes up the inspection report after the inspection is completed. This detailed document becomes a very important tool in the real estate transaction process.

A property inspection typically includes an examination of the entire house including:

· Foundation and structural integrity

· Doors and windows

· Roof and exterior walls

· Plumbing

· Electrical components

· Heating and air conditioning systems

· Surrounding vegetation of the home & more…

Why Home Inspection for Sellers:

It is good to have an inspection done before a home is put on the market.

Complete repairs – Sellers can address repair issues before placing the home on the market. This can significantly increase the visual appeal of a home.

Transparent dealings – A home inspection report available to buyers communicates confidence in the quality of the home, and signals that the seller has nothing to hide.

Increased valuation – These steps result in a higher selling price, and a smoother sales process where surprises are limited and buyers bud with confidence.

Why Home Inspection for Buyers:

If a house inspection report is not completed by the Seller, a Buyer should pursue an inspection to learn about potential problems and upcoming maintenance expenses associated with the home.

Assurance – Go into this purchase with eyes wide open about the quality of the home.

Maintenance – Buyers can learn more about the future upkeep and maintenance requirements.

Value – If the home inspection report identifies problems, the buyer can negotiate for a price that accurately reflects the value of the home.

The typical cost of an inspection varies depending on the area, size of the home, and services provided by the home inspection company. As with most services, there is a strong element of getting what you pay for. Selecting the lowest priced inspector can often result in problems down the road.

Hire a licensed property inspection professional to represent your best interests-whether you are a buyer, seller or owner – to ensure the home is safe for you and your family, and that you are fully informed about major upcoming expenses.

Home Inspector NYC – Efficient Inspection Assured

Owning a home, which you call your own! The pain of not owning one can only be felt by those, who either have lost their homes forever due to some disastrous political development or otherwise. Buying a new one however, is not without its associated risks as the buyer would like to go for a perfect deal only. In this backdrop, one is effectively helped by the services of a home inspector in NYC, who prepares a categorized report on the condition of a house. The entire procedure is taken care of by efficient services of a home inspector in New York, who sees to it that you are able to select a perfect home for yourself. An intensive research is necessary on the part of a buyer to finalize a deal in which due care has been taken to include the choice of location, the facilities around, the condition of a house itself etc.

Before procuring a perfect piece of property, it is necessary to go for a proper research mechanism which helps one to get a clear idea about the performance of home inspector. It is important for personnel like home inspector to be thorough with the knowledge of home inspection, which only comes with the years of experience. Home inspector NYC offers services which are in tandem with the specific needs of a buyer. A step by step approach results in a beneficial deal for you, which actually is the outcome of their in-depth knowledge in other related fields such as real estate, engineering and construction. The actual test however, comes when the authenticity of these home inspectors need to be verified and in this endeavor, internet comes forth as the savior. In addition to this, one can also contact the erstwhile clients who can provide you with a fair idea about the services of home inspector NYC.

There are many parameters connected to the house buying procedure. Usually, it is found that a number of modifications and extensions are added to the house before following the electrical inspection rules. However, going for the services of home inspection professional ensures a thorough inspection of the property before being purchased. A major area of concern related to buying a house is the costs involved, but this factor has also been taken into consideration by the home inspectors in NYC. Understanding that the specific requirements of buyers should be in tandem with the inspection costs, they have come up with charges ranging from $300 to $500 which are quite affordable by any means. One more thing! You should demand a categorized bill, which provides you with an exact idea of their services.

The home inspector in NYC helps in the selection of a deal that satisfies you on all counts. Generally, a home inspector’s itinerary is full with the tasks related to home inspection like inspection of walls, roof, ceilings, drainage systems, electrical connections, attics, exteriors and the interiors. These very parameters come in handy while selecting a house of your dreams. The onus of checking the faults while buying a house rests with the buyer as the seller can’t be blamed in this case. Once the safety standards of a house are confirmed, the home inspector examines all the attributes of a perfect deal so that it proves to be an ideal investment for you.