Tag Archives: Home

Checklist to Judge the Right Condition of a House Using Home Inspection

If as a house purchaser you want to get assured that price quoted is right & defects do not surface after the house is purchased leading to extra expenditure then a home inspection is necessary. Additionally, it opens up an opportunity for you as well as your property agent to bargain with the seller on reducing the price in case there are defects in the house.

What is Buyer’s Role?

The main thing for you as a buyer to do at the time of the home inspection is to get all the information about the house so that you are aware of the problems which exist. You should not hesitate to ask questions even if they sound very simple or insignificant.

Home Inspection – What it consists of?

The main aim of a home inspection is to find our problems that are present in the house. Problems can exist in:

  1. Roof, where there could be asphalt shingles which are deteriorating, the ridges may be sagging, slits which are wider than normal, roof vents which are quite visible and roof deck in de-laminated condition.
  2. Chimneys, with missing mortar, masonry caps which have been cracked or chimneys which are leaning.
  3. Gutter/Downspouts, where slope of gutter is not directed to downspouts and downspouts that are far away from the foundation.
  4. Wall coverings, with flaking bricks, sidings which are rotting, exterior walls which have started leaning and missing mortar.
  5. Foundation, where masonry is damaged and soft mortar has started appearing.
  6. Basement & walls/floors, with water pipes which are corroded, walls with loose plaster, basement having water penetration and drywall seams.
  7. Electrical fittings, where heating/cooling system is very old and electrical outlets are ungrounded.

Other Problems

Some of the other problems which are traced during inspection consist of things like checking whether electrical wiring has been done as per government regulations, condition of power connections, fire safety norms have been followed or not, if radon test has been done, whether wooden beams have been damaged due to termite problem, is there a mold problem and several similar conditions.

Conclusion

Thus as we can see the main goal of any home inspection is to figure out if the house you are going to purchase is in good condition or not so that you do not have to face problems after purchasing it. The seller may not always tell you about the problems house has or he may not be aware of it and a home inspector will be the right person to judge the condition house is in.

The Home Inspection: Cavemen, Home Inspectors, And The Way It’ll Always Be

In prehistoric times, when a family was considering a move to a different cave (Hey… who wants to stay in the same old cave their whole life?), they probably communicated with their cave-dwelling neighbors to get an opinion as to whether or not their new cave was up to par… whether or not their potentially new abode was in satisfactory condition… whether it was prone to leak… or to leave them out in the cold.

There were likely some fellow cavemen that had a bit more experience with the evaluation of caves than others. So, they were sought out to give their opinion even though that opinion might have been delivered through a series of gestures and grunts… since they didn’t have any hand-held PDA’s, touch-screen computers, or highly developed language to convey their thoughts and findings.

And, no doubt, there were various levels of professionalism among the acknowledged and preferred cave assessors that led the cave-dwelling masses to choose one assessor over another in their search for new shelter… some combination of combined experience and ability to effectively communicate (Arghghhh… Urgghh… Hyrpthmblomsit) that separated them from some other creature. It’s the same way today with modern Home Inspectors… although most can communicate in their native dialect and most use computers, some sans the touch-screen, of course. Some are good, some are not so good, and some are, well… pretty darned good.

While a fairly high percentage of most all modern Home Inspectors do a reasonable job of assessing the physical condition of a home, they can be generally divided into 5 categories or types:

  • The Nit-Wit Inspector – This is the inspector that advertises the cheapest prices (sometimes referred to a Cheap Charlie) and gives the least value to his clients. They speak as little as possible (perhaps out of necessity), deliver their poor hand-written reports in a week or so after being repeated prompting, and rarely engage in anything approaching a high degree of critical thought process beyond how to get home as quickly as possible. Often, they often have little knowledge or concern about the rules and standards that pertain to their field of work. The Nit-Wit inspector is sort of like the cockroach on the wedding cake… and is best avoided by everyone.
  • The Gloved Inspector – This is the inspector who, while perhaps technically competent, has no intention whatsoever of reporting on anything that might damage their chance of future client referrals. They perform the ole’ soft-shoe routine, dancing around any potentially troubling issues, and deliver their candy-coated findings in such a way as to offend nobody at the sometimes partially disguised expense of inferiority. This inspector should be avoided almost as much as the Nit-Wit inspector
  • The Alarmist Inspector – This is the inspector who just can’t seem to control themselves when it comes to describing issues. Their description is usually accompanied with flailing arms, a red-faced demeanor along with the occasional emotional fit, and a general tendency to scare the ever-lovin’ bejeebers out of everyone within a three block radius including the home-buyer, the real estate agents, the home-seller, and the guy standing on the corner down the street. Everything’s a disaster just waiting to happen and they’re really eager to be credited for saving someone from certain and impending doom. Be careful with this type of inspector because they may burst into flames at any time
  • The Professorial Inspector – This is the inspector who is technically competent, is probably a reasonably effective communicator, and knows what they are supposed to do… but insists on relating, to anyone within earshot, everything they know about everything they’ve ever had the occasion to learn about anything. Sometimes, too much information is, well, too much information. Form your own opinion about this inspector… although, you may actually end up getting a pretty thorough Home Inspection
  • The Professional Inspector – Not to be confused with the Professorial Inspector above, this is the inspector that will provide the very best value to their clients even if their clients have to a pay a bit more to get that value. They’ll fully and calmly explain what they are going to do, how they are going to do it, why they’re going to do it a particular way, do it, and then explain what it is that they have done. They’ll welcome client questions and participation, and they’ll understand that the amount of time it takes to inspect the home is time for which the client is providing payment and not the other way around. They won’t participate in alarmist reporting practices. They won’t try to impart a lot of information that is not pertinent to the Home Inspection and the home being evaluated. They’ll be courteous to all those present and they’ll be fair to the home; they won’t inspect or report upon a 100 year old house as if it were somehow expected to be brand new, and they’ll possess a thorough knowledge and understanding of their profession. They’ll be an active member of a national Home Inspectors organization such as the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI).They’ll accurately convey the findings of their inspection, in accordance with their applicable Standards of Practice, in an even-keeled and informational manner while making reasonable and proper recommendations based upon their observations. And, they’ll convey their findings in a good, readily understandable Home Inspection report

Some things never change and so it likely goes with Home Inspectors. Home Inspectors, as with any other types of professional service providers now or as it likely was in the day of the caveman, will vary widely insofar as their knowledge, level of education, communications skills, inspection methodologies, and the delivery/explanation of their findings are concerned; it’s always been that way and it’ll likely always be that way.

For the very best Home Inspection experience, actively seek out a Home Inspector with the demeanor, education, experience, and professionalism that will provide you with the highest level of comfort and confidence.

Urghh… Arguff… Hyrpthmblombsit!

How Vulnerable Is My Home to Raccoon Invasion?

Raccoons are known to find their way into our homes, garages, barns, and porch spaces; however, do we really know how vulnerable our house is to such intrusion? How do you determine your home’s level of exposure? Read on to learn ways to inspect and animal proof your house from raccoon invasion this winter season.

Interior Home Inspections

To begin assessing how open your home is to the wild animal community, particularly raccoons, it is crucial to inspect the inside and outside of your house. Look for weak spots and pay close attention to dark, warm areas. These are ideal shelter spots for raccoons. Indoors, try starting in your basement. If you do not have a basement, turn to your utility room, crawl space, or garage as an option in its place.

In the basement or other areas, look in dark corners, and keep your eyes peeled for any open or exposed areas. These could be areas of access. If you do not see anything here, move on to the attic area. Attics are very popular spots for raccoons. They love the dark, warm shelter it provides. This is an ideal breeding ground for them too. If you do not have an attic, check under stairs and in closets.

Exterior Home Inspections

Outside, raccoon access points are easier to spot. Look to your roof and try to observe any loose shingles or pried open areas. These are indications that raccoons have been breaking in. Check under porches and patios as well. These are also common areas of access and even areas of living for wild raccoons.

Hire a Pro for Comprehensive Inspections

Doing an interior and exterior inspection of your home is a tedious and difficult task. Typically, it is recommended to hire a professional wildlife removal and control company to provide an inspection. They are highly trained and experienced professionals that know all the signs to look for, and how to remedy the disturbance within a convenient time frame. If you are having trouble, call a professional for advice. They can offer the best solutions and service.

Animal Proofing Your Home

Once an inspection has been completed, it is important to move onto animal proofing your home right away. The areas that were labeled weak, exposed, and open should be sealed immediately. By closing off the areas of access, you can stop further intrusion. It is very crucial to have all existing raccoons removed from your home with the help of a professional company before sealing off these access points.

Why Are Home Inspections Important?

Home inspections inform the buyer and the seller about the condition of the home. Many San Fernando Valley sellers pay for a home inspection at the time they put their Sherman Oaks, Encino, Van Nuys or North Hollywood real estate on the market so that they can address any potential issues or problems that potential buyers may be concerned about.

It is a good opportunity for the seller to fix or repair any statutory items that they need to comply with such as strapping their water heater to earthquake code, retrofitting toilets and showers and installing smoke alarms per state codes. If there are other items that the seller or their Realtor think may affect the price of the home or the length of time it may take to sell the home, then the seller may want to make some of those repairs if they are justified and will help get the home sold for maximum dollar and in a short period of time. Or the alternative is to offer the buyer seller concessions.

Buyers should conduct a home inspection during their contract contingency period so they are aware of the condition of the home and can make an intelligent decision as to whether they want to purchase the San Fernando Valley home, condo or townhome. This will avoid any surprises after closing as well.

As Is Condition

Although most San Fernando Valley real estate in sold in an “as is” condition, meaning the seller is not required to make any warranties or repairs, except for statutory items, the buyer still should negotiate an inspection contingency in the purchase contract which gives them the opportunity to conduct an inspection. Bank foreclosures and short sales are always sold in an “as is” condition as well.

The purpose of the home inspection is to determine any problems with the home during the inspection contingency period and to give the buyer the opportunity to go forward with the sale, ask the seller for concessions or repairs or cancel the contract if the inspection reveals major repairs or structural damage to the home.

What is Covered in a Home Inspection?

Generally, the buyer pays for a licensed home inspector to conduct a physical inspection of the home’s interior and exterior. The inspection includes the inspection of the general systems of the home such as plumbing, electrical, heating, air conditioning and the roof condition and condition of the appliances. A home inspection can run anywhere from around $250.00 – $500.00 and up depending on the size of the home and the type of home, condo, townhome, etc.

The home inspector does not conduct environmental inspections for mold, lead paint, asbestos, radon, etc. If it is determined that these conditions exist in the home, the inspector will recommend further inspections be done by the appropriate inspectors. Some home inspectors will provide these services at an additional cost. It is then up to the buyer to either hire the appropriate professionals to conduct these further inspections, ask the seller for concessions or a price reduction, or cancel the contract.

When You May Not Need a Home Inspection

If you are planning on tearing down the home and rehabbing it, then you probably don’t want to spend the money on a home inspection. You may want to obtain a geology report or soils report and a survey to determine the property boundaries. If you are purchasing a condo or townhouse, it is not necessary to obtain a survey or geology report. You will want to review the natural hazards report to determine if you are in a flood, fire or earthquake seismic hazards zone though.

In a seller’s market, it was common for buyers to waive inspection contingencies especially in a multiple offer situation. It is generally not recommended that the buyer waive the inspection though. However, it is a personal decision to be made by the buyer.

Home inspections are an inexpensive way to determine the condition of the home. For buyers, it is important that they conduct a home inspection to avoid a costly mistake by purchasing a property that needs major repairs, has structural damage or is affected by environmental hazards. Every buyer’s motivation for purchasing is different. Some buyers are willing to purchase properties that are considered major fixers for the right price. Others want move in condition properties and do not have a budget for making major repairs.

An inspection will reveal material problems about the house that the seller or their San Fernando Valley Realtor may not know about, and therefore did not disclose on the transfer disclosure statement. As a buyer, you don’t want to solely rely on the seller’s or the Realtors’ transfer disclosure statements. It is your responsibility to complete your own investigations about the property you are potentially purchasing so you know what you are getting yourself into.

Home Inspections In 2016

Ah, the dreaded home inspection. For the seller, it can be suspenseful as they wait for the report to come back with any items that need to be fixed. For the buyer, it can mean a piece of mind that everything in the home is in working order and the potential opportunity to negotiate the repairs/ purchase price if anything is turned up during the home inspection process.

In general, a home inspection is meant to thoroughly check the condition of a home and is typically done when a home is being sold. More often than not, a home inspection is done by a trained and licensed inspector that acts as a neutral third party to inspect the home and provide a written report of all findings. Items that are typically examined in a home inspection include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Roof – What is the overall condition and probable age? Does it need to be replaced?
  • Exterior of the home – Including the foundation, drainage issues, gutters, siding, etc.
  • Attic space – Properly insulated and verify no leaks are present.
  • Basement – Wet basements and crawlspaces can be a cause for concern.
  • Plumbing – Check for any leaks.
  • Electrical – Test of the light switches, electrical outlets and electrical panel.
  • Heating and Cooling Systems – Are they in proper working order?
  • Water heater – Is it in good condition and working properly?
  • Appliances – General condition and age (If they are included in the sale)
  • Other – a home inspector looks at windows, doors and any potential pest damage.

The physical condition of the house is an important aspect of buying a home. Many buyers include a home inspection condition as part of the purchase contract. The buyer is usually responsible for scheduling and paying for the inspection. If any issues are found during the home inspection process, then the buyer may go to the seller to ask for repairs or credits toward the purchase price to fix any items uncovered.

The Pre-Inspection

Some buyers prefer to do a pre-inspection before submitting an offer. This is commonly done in areas with hot real estate markets when a buyer may be competing against other offers and wants to set the offer apart by not having the inspection contingency included. It’s also not uncommon for a seller to do a pre-listing inspection of the house to fix any problems before a buyer enters the scene and requests for a repair to be made or money off of the purchase price.

Home Inspection Cost and Requirements

A regular home inspection will take a few hours to complete and can range anywhere from $150 to $500 depending on the size, location, type and age of the home. Some buyers will accompany the inspector while he or she is completing the inspection to learn more about any problems that are found and ask questions. A home inspection report will be furnished to the buyer. There is usually a state run website addressing this issue including having a list of state certified inspectors. The National Association of Certified Home Inspectors (NACHI), National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI) and The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) can also be great resources as well. Most associations require a minimum number of inspections to join. For example, the ASHI requires no less than 250 inspections to be a member. As with any home improvement contractor, you can always ask for proof of licensing and insurance to make sure they are legitimate.

Typical home inspection reports will be thorough with photos and potentially diagrams. While the home inspector does provide a fairly comprehensive report, other reports may be needed. These may include, but are not limited to, a pest report, environmental health hazards (radon, mold, lead, asbestos) and specialized inspections from hazards such as flooding.

Home inspections are worth their weight in gold as paying a few hundred dollars to uncover a potentially major problem is money well spent instead of buying a home without an inspection only to discover a costly repair needed after you own the property. Even when purchasing a new property, a home inspection can potentially draw attention to any issues.

Home Inspection Tips for Buyers and Sellers

Many will think that home inspection is not essential while buying a house but it is not so. A home inspection is important for your family’s safety as all the components, systems, structure, appliances & installations are inspected thoroughly to ascertain they are working properly. By having a home inspection you will make sure that the house is safe your family to live in and you are paying the right price for the house.

Pre-requisites for Home Inspection

At the time a NACHI certified home inspector goes to the house for a home inspection you need to make sure that the seller provides him proper access from where he can inspect every area of the house. You need to ask the seller to remove storage containers away from wall to make it easy for the home inspector to check. In case he is not able to view any particular section of the house then he should indicate it in his report.

Broad Categorization of House Defects

Most of the problems that are looked at during a home inspection can be broadly categorized into following:

  1. Tracing major defects such as some type of structural failure.
  2. Things which can cause major problems in future such as minor roof flashing leakage.
  3. Problems in the house which can create hindrance in financing the house, insure or occupy it.
  4. Safety related problems like electric panel with buss bar which is exposed.

Home Inspection Tips for Sellers

A seller can expedite the home inspection process if he follows the under mentioned tips. If these suggestions are followed then it will result in smoother inspection and less number of concerns to solve before the closing.

  1. Check that electric, gas & water services are running. Additionally, make sure that gas pilot lights are properly burning.
  2. Avoid getting light inoperable report by changing burned out electrical items such as bulbs.
  3. Get rid of dead batteries so that they do not create problems during smoke tests and carbon monoxide detection.
  4. Check that air filters (HVAC) fit in properly.
  5. Clean out wood, stored items & debris kept near the foundation as home inspector may term it as ideal location for growth of termites.
  6. Clear the path leading to water heaters, HVAC equipment, electrical panels, crawl spaces, closets & attics so that these can be inspected properly.
  7. Check and repair broken things such as latches, door knobs, screens, window panes, chimney caps & downspouts.

As mentioned above the major defects categorization & tips for sellers on how they can make the house ready before the inspector comes to the house will greatly assist buyers and sellers in evaluating problems in the house and take remedial steps to solve these problems.

What Happens During a Home Inspection?

When you begin the home buying process it is an exciting, and yet often stressful time. You look at home after home, perhaps even place a few offers, and eventually you find the place that makes you sing. You know that it is everything you could possibly want, and perhaps even a bit more, but now it is at a point that can make one crazy – the property inspector needs to check out all aspects of your potential dream home so you can know if it is truly the home for you, and your budget.

The home inspection is truly an important part of the buying process, and it should be remembered that it is there to protect you. When the property inspector visits the potential home, they will check a long list of areas of the property to determine what – if any – problems you need to be cognizant of and can often let you know how much it will cost to have the repairs made.

Areas Commonly Checked during a Home Inspection

When a home inspection is done, there are key areas that will be checked. Be sure that your inspection includes these, as well as any other areas or concerns that you may have. If the home inspector balks at any of these areas or your other requests, then you will want to talk to another inspector.

· Exterior – The inspector should check all sides of the home, being sure to check siding, windows, doors, decks, foundation, gutters, chimneys, soffit, and fascia. They will also check the surface of a paved driveway, patio or – if a part of the home – the poolside. Also included in part of the exterior inspection will be the sloping of the lot as this affects the potential for flooding, whether there has been any settling in the yard and any damage to masonry work.

· Interior – The interior home inspection will include the walls, ceiling, appliances, electrical, plumbing, flooring, fireplaces, plumbing related features, and any other elements of the home.

· Condition – As part of the inspection, the inspector will also check mechanical systems such as the HVAC system, or note any irregularities in plaster, paneling, any damage due to pests, mold or other home features.

Working a home inspector is not something that should be skipped in the real estate buying process. It is a way to protect you and help you make a wise, informed purchase that will be affect you and your family’s lives for many years to come. Many companies can be contacted regarding a home inspector, but one company used in St. Paul is AmeriSpec Home Inspection.

What Does a Home Well Inspection Include?

If you have a well, an annual well inspection should be part of your maintenance to-do list. Even if your water tastes good, lead and other contaminants can seep into the water supply and lead to health problems. A well inspection is a small price to pay to ensure the safety of your drinking water.

What Does a Well Inspection Include?

Conducted by a licensed and/or certified well water contractor, your annual well inspection should include several components:

  • A flow test to measure water output and level, pump performance, tank pressure and switch contact pressure,
  • An inspection of equipment to ensure that it meets local codes and appears to be safe,
  • A test of water for coliform bacteria and nitrates,
  • Tests for any minerals known to affect water conditions in the area, such as sulfides, manganese or iron,
  • Periodic tests for pH levels or total dissolved solids,
  • Additional tests if the water is cloudy or oily, if there are signs of bacterial growth on fixtures or if equipment is not working properly, and
  • A written report that includes laboratory data, explains results and offers recommendations.

Useful Information about Well Inspections

Once you receive the reports from your well inspection and from any other tests that were performed, you should retain the records and keep them in a safe place, along with construction documents from when the well was first dug. Most wells have a life expectancy of about 20 years or more. Having your records on hand will be useful in determining when you might need to replace it, and necessary if you sell your house.

How much can you expect to pay for a well inspection? The cost varies according to the area and is based on the sampling methods, test procedures and the number of tests performed, but a homeowner can generally plan on spending around $150-$350. More extensive sampling for more contaminants can raise the cost.

When choosing a well inspector, it is important to use one who is licensed and certified in your state and who is familiar with the local codes. The inspector should use laboratories that are licensed to test for various contaminants that may appear in the water.

Why Should You Order an Annual Well Inspection?

You may wonder why an annual well inspection is necessary if you have no problems with taste, appearance, odor or performance. Since your well is underground, you may be unaware of any possible changes. If your home is near farms, mines, a landfill or gas or oil fields, contaminants could infiltrate your water. The same is true if you have dumped oil or waste in your yard, had your home exterminated, have a septic tank problem or develop cracks in the sealed sanitary cap on your well.

Having an annual well inspection is the best way to assure the safety and quality of your water supply.

Why You Should Get Periodic Home Inspections

Have you considered having a home inspection done? Home inspection is not just for the buyers and sellers of a home but can also be an invaluable resource for those who already own their own homes. Most people do not realize they should have a home inspection done every five to ten years as part of an overall maintenance plan. But a home inspector can help you more then you may think.

For most of us the two things we will spend the most money on in our lives is our cars and our homes. You would never drive the same car for 10 years or more without taking it in to a mechanic for a tune up would you?  Of course you would not. Car maintenance must be done to ensure your vehicle will continue to run as long and as well as possible. You also clean wash it and vacuum it once in a while as well to keep up the resale value if not for your own sense of cleanliness. Why then should your home be any different?

A regular maintenance plan for your home should include a home inspection every few years. A home inspector can advise you on any repairs that should be done before they become a major expense and discuss any safety issues you may be unaware of.

Home inspectors go over every aspect of your home and give you an unbiased report of the findings. The report will show you anything that may be wrong with your home now, what may be getting ready to need repairs as well as advise you on how to make the repairs.  For instance a home inspector may notice a small stain on a wall and track that to a water leak. The leak may have been small enough to only cost a couple of dollars to fix now but it could have done a lot of damages before you found it on your own.

Home inspections can also alert you to any safety issues you may be unaware of. Worn gas lines and frayed electrical wiring often goes unnoticed until a fire breaks out or people get sick and die. A home inspector looks at electrical wires as well as gas and plumbing as part of a routine check and alerts you when a problem is found.

Engaging the services of a professional home inspector should be a part of regular home maintenance. A thorough unbiased home inspection can point out repair and safety issues before they become a serious issue and help you to retain the value of your home as well as your peace of mind.

Electrical Home Inspection: What You Need to Know!

Whether you’re buying a home, or just moving in to your new home, here is some advice that can help you. If you’re in the buying process the things you will be looking for are safety and repair aspects. Most electrical contractors can offer you an inspection to check for both of these. If you are thinking to yourself right now that you have or are going to hire a Home inspector, think again. A home inspector does a generalized inspection. Most of them will know a little about a lot of different areas, but be an expert in none with a few exceptions. It is a certainty in most areas to say you will be forced to hire one to get a mortgage, and that’s a good thing. If you hire an experienced licensed electrician, your electrical inspection will be more thorough and you can get an estimate to what repairs will cost at the same time.

When buying a home you’ll want to know what if any defects there are, or safety hazards. Items that rate high on the list are things like aluminum wiring, GFCI receptacles, grounding and water leaking into service parts. The two of these that are most critical, dangerous and expensive are the aluminum wiring and water leaks into the main service. If you are just moving into a home you purchased, there are some things you can do to be sure your electrical system is safe. I highly recommend that all the devices be changed to new ones. This would be all the switches and receptacles. There is a reason for this. Most electrical problems occur when termination points become loose or corroded. See Picture

By having the devices professionally replaced, you can nip any of these problems before they occur. The other item to consider changing is light fixtures. This can be a bit expensive so if it isn’t in your budget try to at least change the very old ones. The reason for changing these is older fixture wires tend to get very brittle. If the bulbs used in them over the years were of an improper wattage, this can exaggerate the situation, a very common occurrence.

The peace of mind you will get, knowing a professional in the electrical field inspected your home, is well worth the money spent.