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The Ultimate Consumer Guide To Home Inspections

Why Listen To Me? Here’s What People Are Saying…

 

 

“…you made sure we understood what you were doing and why you were doing it.” “We’ll definitely be referring Bulldog Professional Inspection Services to everyone!!! You took the time to do the job, and then you made sure we understood the issues that needed to be addressed before we purchased the house. We had never been through the home inspection process before, but you made sure we understood what you were doing and why you were doing it.”
p>{color:#000;}. – L. Armstrong

 

“…great to work with and gave me a flawless experience with a real professional inspector.”

“Steve went the extra mile. He was not feeling well, but did the inspection anyway so my closing could happen quickly AND it was his wife’s birthday and he came out anyway… He was great to work with and gave me a flawless experience with a real professional inspector.”

– R. Richerson

 

“The entire experience was a pleasure!”

“Steve made the inspection easy to understand and did a good job. My thoughts were reinforced when I spoke to friends and family more knowledgeable than me about homes and repairs. They reviewed the inspection report and also thought Steve did a great job! Steve was professional, knowledgeable, and personable. The entire experience was a pleasure!”

– J. Jimerson

 

“You did a great job providing me the information and the expertise I needed.”

“Steve, thank you. You did a great job providing me the information and the expertise I needed. This report is fantastic, too, awesome job making it available online. Constructive criticism: It doesn’t seem necessary to have more than 1 website? I kind of felt like I was missing information or maybe visiting an out of date site since there were two choices available. Additionally, the site and the links in your emails redirect the user to a separate portal to view reports, but that’s more understandable than having two separate websites. And, of course, I’ve made this sound a little harsh. It’s really not terrible, but there’s not really anything else I could dream to criticize, so here you go!”

- A. Fells

 

[] “Steve was very friendly and has wealth of knowledge.”

“I was very pleased with the inspection. Steve was very friendly and has wealth of knowledge. I felt it was thorough, informative, and very professional. Steve was also willing to answer any questions and explain things very well to a first-time buyer. I appreciate the thoroughness of the inspection and left my inspection feeling comfortable that nothing major had been overlooked.”

 

- K. Hershberger

 

  • * “…extremely impressed by the skills, knowledge and the professionalism that Mr. Steve Rodriguez has shown”

“I’ve purchased homes in the past and had experienced the inspection process. But, I want it to be known that I was extremely impressed by the skills, knowledge and the professionalism that Mr. Steve Rodriguez has shown throughout the entire inspection and his written summary. I would certainly use his service in the future as well as to recommending him to anyone that would require a professional home inspection.”

 

- R. Jones

 

 

Foreword

 

Dear friend:

 

Nervous? Confused? Uncertain?

 

These are all normal feelings that every home buyer goes through when buying their new home.

 

And rightly so…

 

*
p<>{color:#000;}. You’ve negotiated the painful process of gathering staggering amounts of documents so you can voluntarily let a perfect stranger scrutinize your lifestyle in order to get that ever-so-critical 3 oz. piece of single-sided paper: the Pre-Approval Letter.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. You’ve stayed up late sorting through the notes you’ve taken for all 35 homes you’ve looked at so you don’t kick yourself for putting in an offer too soon and missing out on your perfect home that just so happened to come on the market the very next day.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. And yesterday you finally found your perfect home and even managed to put in an offer before it got snatched away from you faster than a magician with a tablecloth.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. And today? Good news! Today your offer was approved and so the plot in this harrowing house hunting mystery now thickens:

 

It’s Time To Order The Home Inspection!

 

Well, it’s still too soon to break out the disco ball and welcome mat for your housewarming party because you’ve got to make sure your dream home is not a money pit in disguise.

 

And it’s at this point that the source of stress, confusion, frustration, fear, and even excitement lies for nearly every person who buys a home.

 

But that’s also where this manual comes in.

 

This is your “combat” guide to navigating the blind curves and back alleyways of this new, vulnerable, and confusing place called homeownership where your future happiness and satisfaction is left in the hands of your most trusted guide: The Home Inspector.

 

So buckle up, rookie…by the time you’re done with this manual, you’ll have uncovered nearly every issue I’ve ever encountered through the more than 4,000 clients I’ve had the pleasure of working with and you will have cleared the rite-of-passage; going from wet-behind-the-ears newbie home buyer to a battle-tested and seasoned veteran, armed and ready for anything the home inspection will throw at you.

 

And even though this may be your first home, no one will ever know the difference. Let us begin…

 

Table of Contents

 

“Steve was very friendly and has wealth of knowledge.”

“…extremely impressed by the skills, knowledge and the professionalism that Mr. Steve Rodriguez has shown”

Home Buyer Questions

Q1. What is a home inspection?

Q2. What’s included in a home inspection?

Q3. What DON’T you look at during a home inspection?

Q4. Why do I need a home inspection?

Q5. Can a house fail a home inspection?

Q6. I’ve heard about Inter NACHI®, ASHI®, and NAHI®; who are they and what do they mean to me?

Q7. Aren’t all home inspections the same?

Q8. How long will the home inspection take?

Q9. Am I missing out on any expertise by not using an engineer?

Q10. Does a home inspection warranty or insure my home?

Q11. Steve, I’m just getting started in my house search and I’m going to call you to inspect it when I find one, but in the meantime do you have any tips to help me along?

Q12. When and how do I pay for the home inspection?

Q13. Will you take payment at closing?

Q14. How much does a home inspection cost?

Q15. Do I need to be present during the inspection?

Q16. When will I receive the inspection report?

Q17. How will I receive the inspection report?

Q18. When and how do I schedule a home inspection?

Q19. Can I follow you around during the inspection?

Q20. Can I ask you questions during the inspection?

Q21. Is it a good idea to have a friend or family member perform the inspection?

Q22. Will you walk on the roof?

Q23. Hi Steve, it’s raining outside and I’m concerned that you won’t be able to walk on the roof today. Should we inspect today or wait until the weather dries up?

Q24. Will you be able to test the air conditioning system if it’s cold outside?

Q25. Is this a bad foundation crack?

Q26. How long do shingles usually last?

Q27. What is knob-n-tube wiring?

Q28. Will you light the pilot lights for the water heater, furnace, or fireplace?

Q29. Will you light a fire in the fireplace?

Q30. What if I have questions after the inspection?

Q31. Should I avoid the home inspector that my real estate agent recommends?

Q32. I’m getting an FHA loan, do you know what they’ll be looking for?

Q33. I’m getting a VA loan, do you know what they’ll be looking for?

Q34. What are the different types of inspections available?

Q35. Is it alright to have my appraiser show up at the same time as the inspection?

Q36. Is there a fee to have you come back at another time and inspect something that wasn’t accessible during the inspection?

Q37. Can you tell me where my property lines are?

Q38. Can you tell me how many square feet the home is?

Q39. Do you work weekends?

Q40. Are home inspectors required to be licensed or certified?

Q41. Are home inspectors required to carry insurance?

Q42. What happens if something goes wrong after the home inspection?

Q43. Who do I call if something goes wrong after the home inspection?

Q44. How long are the inspection findings good for?

Q45. Are home inspections just for buyers and sellers?

Q46. Are you specifically experienced in residential inspection?

Q47. Is there a fee to have you come back at another time and re-inspect something after a repair is made?

Q48. Do you offer to do repairs or improvements based on the inspection?

Q49. How long after the inspection will you be available if I have any questions?

Q50. How can I get the most use from the inspection findings?

Q51. Do you have anything available to help me take a more critical look at each home I look at before I call you?

Home Seller Inspection Questions

Q52. I’m selling my home. Should I have it inspected before the buyer does?

Q53. How is a home seller inspection different from a home buyer inspection?

Q54. Should I test for Radon if I’m selling my home?

55. As the seller, what can I do to prepare for my upcoming home inspection?

New Construction Questions

Q56. The home I’m buying is new construction, should I still get it inspected?

Q57. When is the best time to get my brand new home inspected?

Q58. My friends are having trouble with their new home after being in the house for only 6 months & they skipped the home inspection. Should they get one now?

Q59. My one year builder’s warranty is about to expire, should I get it re-inspected?

Q60. I’m having some problems with my new construction home that my builder is not willing to fix. What should I do?

Home Maintenance Inspection Questions

Q61. Where can I get good information about ongoing home maintenance?

Q62. Do you offer any inspections designed to help with home maintenance?

Real Estate Investor Questions

Q63. I’m a real estate investor and already know there’s some minor issues with the property I’m buying. I don’t want to spend a lot of money on an inspection because I might cancel my contract if there are major problems. Can you help me, Steve?

Radon Gas Questions

Q64. What is Radon gas?

Q65. Should I get my home tested for Radon?

Q66. How is Radon gas measured, and what does it mean to me?

Q67. I’m not worried about the health risks, so why should I still get my home tested for Radon?

Q68. What can be done if the Radon gas level comes back high?

Q69. How does a mitigation system work?

Q70. Is there any maintenance I need to do to the system?

Q71. Without a test, can I tell if I have Radon gas in my home?

Q72. How dangerous is Radon gas?

Q73. I have a new construction home, should I still test for Radon?

Q74. My home is on a slab or crawl space, do I still need to worry about Radon?

Q75. I’ve got granite and marble countertops, should I be worried about Radon gas?

Q76. If Radon gas comes from the soil, why don’t I get sick when I go outside?

Q77. Another house in my neighborhood was tested and the results came back low; doesn’t that mean my results should also be low?

Q78. How much does it cost to test for Radon?

Q79. Where can I go to learn more about Radon?

Q80. The sellers of the home will be moving out after the inspection. Will it be a good idea to drop off the Radon monitor during that time?

Termite Questions

Q81. I’ve got a new construction home, should I get a termite inspection?

Q82. Can you give me some pointers on how to check for termites after I move into my home?

Mold Questions

Q83. I’m buying a foreclosed property that has mold in the basement. Should I have the mold tested or should I just rip it out?

Q84. How do I know when I can rip out the moldy areas myself or when I have to call a professional remediation company?

Q85. Do mold remediation companies need to be licensed, certified professionals?

Q86. What types of mold tests are there?

Q87. What will it cost me to get the mold tested?

Q88. What if I think there’s mold in my house, but I can’t see it? What should I do?

Q89. What’s the difference between a mold testing company and a mold remediation company?

Q90. If a home I’m buying has mold, should I just walk away?

Q91. I’m already 5 days into my 10 day inspection period. If I wanted to get mold testing done, how long would it take to get the results back?

Chinese Drywall Question

Q92. What is Chinese Drywall? Should I be concerned?

Energy Efficiency Questions

Q93. I’m buying an older home and want to find out how energy efficient it is. Is there some sort of inspection or test available to show me how efficient it is?

Q94. Where can I get information about the best energy efficiency upgrades to make for my older home?

Q95. How much does it cost to get my home examined for its energy efficiency?

Older Home Questions

Q96. I’ve lived in my home for 15 years now and my husband just passed away. I know I need to keep up with the home maintenance, but should I call a contractor or home inspector?

Q97. I live in an older home, do you have any advice on the best way to keep up with ongoing maintenance?

First Time Buyer Questions

Q98. I’m a first time buyer, but I don’t have a lot of money for an inspection even though I need one. Can you help me, Steve?

Q99. Ok Steve, I’m paying ‘X’ dollars for this house and now that you know what kind of condition it’s in, can you tell me if this is a good deal?

Q101. Will you provide a 1st time buyer with any extra time or help?

Q100. Would you buy this home if you were me?

Q102. Is there any way I can prepare for the inspection?

Bonus Questions:

B1. Why are home inspections such a mystery?

B2. What’s the #1 most critically important system in every vacant home?

B3. What are the 3 things you NEVER want to overlook when buying a vacant or foreclosed home?

B4. What are the 5 major areas in every home and why do they make all the difference between buying your dream home and buying a money pit?

B5. If you only had 5 minutes to find a good, professional home inspector, would you know how to choose?

“Steve was very easy to talk to, and he knew what he was talking about.”

“…took time to explain what the inspection process was and how to maintain the integrity of the home…”

“…interviewed over 30 inspectors in the KC area. Steve was by far the most prompt and professional.”

 

Don’t see your question?

 

Submit your question to [email protected] and we’ll respond to you as soon as possible.

 

 

[]Home Buyer Questions

 

[] Q1. What is a home inspection?

 

A1. This is a really good and important question. Many home buyers (and even agents) don’t know exactly what a home inspector does. So let me clear the smoke right now. There are basically 2 aspects to every home inspection:

 

1st – A home inspection is a visual, non-intrusive, and fair effort to discover the real material condition of the home during the time and day the inspection takes place.

 

2nd – A home inspection isn’t really about the home inspector telling you what’s wrong with the home more than it is a discovery session for you to make sure you understand what you’re buying so that you can decide if it falls within your expectations and is a good fit for your situation.

 

You see, as a professional home inspector my job is to make sure I align the reality of the home’s condition with your expectations. If I can successfully do that, then I’ve done my job.

 

And that’s really it. It’s limited in scope by what can be seen and tested, which particularly applies to vacant homes where there is no past information so the inspector is forced to play detective and do the best they can during the short period of time that they’re there.

 

If time permits, you should be encouraged to take advantage of this rare opportunity to follow a professional around your home who will invite your questions, concerns, and impart key information and advice that will certainly help you buy your home with confidence.

 

 

[] Q2. What’s included in a home inspection?

 

A2.At the very least, it should involve the inspection of the:

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Landscaping

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Exterior

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Roof

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Attic

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Plumbing

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Electrical

#
p<>{color:#000;}. HVAC systems

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Fireplace / Wood Stoves

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Interior

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Basement/crawlspace

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Foundation

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Fire safety

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Appliances (that stay with the home)

#
p<>{color:#000;}. And most everything in between.

 

But at its best, your inspection will see you actively participate and involved in what will become an on-site educational course on the finer points of your home.

 

 

[] Q3. What DON’T you look at during a home inspection?

 

A3. This is an important question because it makes sure you understand the limitations of a home inspection and will not be disappointed later. There are, in fact, a few things that are excluded from a home inspection and also things that might not get inspected or tested because the inspector could not get to them.

 

These are the most common items that are not (normally) inspected:

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Things that are cosmetic (carpet wear and tear, holes in walls from missing doorstops, scratches in wood floors or countertops, etc.)

#
p<>{color:#000;}. A home’s market value or the location of its property lines

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Swimming pools

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Hot tubs

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Sprinkler systems

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Telephone lines

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Cable lines

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Installed surround sound systems

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Most home inspectors will not move a seller’s personal items that are blocking their way (sellers can be pretty sensitive about this one)

 

Some of these items can still be inspected by a specialized inspector for an additional fee, but these are the areas and items that are not included within the scope of a normal home inspection. For a complete list of items view InterNACHI’s online Standards of Practice.

 

Below are the most common areas that become inaccessible due to space limitations or storage items:

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Crawlspaces

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Main electrical panels

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Furnace panels

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Water heaters

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Attic access panels

 

Again, these are just common areas I run into all the time. Just about any area can be made inaccessible with enough clutter and storage. That being said, it’s always helpful to know this ahead of time so you can be as understanding as possible to your inspector. If the property you’re buying is occupied and you’re working with a real estate agent you may even ask them to contact the seller ahead of time and ask that all areas be made accessible and all obstacles be cleared so you can get the best inspection possible.

 

 

[] Q4. Why do I need a home inspection?

 

A4.For many very good reasons.

 

First, because you need to know what kind of condition your home is in (it’s the things we can’t see that scare us). This is especially true if the home has been vacant for any period of time.

 

Second, because it would be outrageously expensive to call out a licensed professional to evaluate the condition of every single system and component in a home. For example, let’s say we have the hourly rates of certified professionals:

 

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Electrician = $95/hour

*
p<>{color:#000;}. HVAC technician = $85/hour

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Roofer = $85/hour

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Foundation specialist = $80/hour

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Plumber = $95/hour

*
p<>{color:#000;}. A good handyman for everything else = $100/hour

 

This way, a 2-hour inspection of every component in a home would easily cost over $890 for the standard sized home (approx. 1,500 ft2) and would also be a nightmare coordinating all of them to show up then deliver their findings during your inspection period.

 

Third, you may run into “Rush Charges” of 20% or more by these technicians because these professionals have to squeeze you into their busy schedule during your short inspection period.

 

Fourth, these technicians don’t provide professional inspection reports for their findings, which is required by your lender.

 

Fifth, though these are technical professionals, they are not professionally trained inspectors with the same critical eye to evaluate and troubleshoot a home as a whole. All parts of a home - inside and out -operate and affect not only itself, but often other systems, as well. Licensed technicians are not designed to see a problem in one area and understand how it may affect one or more different areas within the home. They are used to responding to problems with their area of expertise, troubleshooting it, repairing it, and then leaving. The skill sets are different.

 

Lastly, because no house is perfect. This means there is always something to be found in every home, which could translate into trouble later.

 

For example, let me give you a real life situation from a past client.

 

Let’s call him Phil.

 

Phil buys a home in August and initially decides to skip the home inspection.

 

After he moves in, his water heater goes out and his air conditioner starts blowing hot air.

 

Not good at all for Phil.

 

You see, because of these major problems, Phil found himself spending the first week in his new home with no one to call and sifting through a sea of bad contractors to find the one he was hoping he could trust to do the repairs right the first time, which ultimately cost him $879 and more time that he still didn’t have away from the more important things he wanted to be doing.

 

Like getting he and his family settled in.

 

Afterward, he calls me to look at the home and we find a number of things that should have been repaired by the seller of the home and would have saved him about $4,250.

 

So, by using the services of a professional home inspection company, you’ll get a thoroughly trained & objective professional to give you quick information about the home’s true condition so you can negotiate with the seller to pay for things you aren’t willing to accept before you finally agree to buy the home.

 

 

[] Q5. Can a house fail a home inspection?

 

A5. No. A house cannot fail a home inspection. This is a common misconception.

 

A home can only fail an inspection performed by your city code inspector (if your area has one) when your home was first built or when any major changes are made to the home that require a building permit to be issued to the licensed contractor that is doing the work. This just ensures the work is done professionally.

 

However, the information in a professional home inspection is for you and you alone. You can use the information to negotiate repairs with the seller (if this a part of your sales contract) or you can choose to ignore it, altogether. It’s completely up to you.

 

 

  • * Q6. I’ve heard about Inter NACHI®, ASHI®, and NAHI®; who are they and what do they mean to me?

 

A6. These are non-profit governing bodies for the home inspection industry that determine a code of ethics its members must abide by, the education standards a home inspector must receive each year to maintain their membership, and the minimum number of items that must inspected in every home (this comes to about 430+ items).

 

So just like the building codes the city puts in place which gives each builder the minimum standards to build a house by, belonging to Inter NACHI^®^, ASHI^®^, or NAHI^®^ means that a home inspector is performing inspections according to their minimum standards.

 

Also, since all 3 organizations essentially perform the same function, a home inspector doesn’t need to belong to more than one (although some states don’t even require a home inspector to belong to any of them).

 

So what do ASHI, NACHI, and NAHI mean to you as a home buyer?

 

They provide a certain level of peace-of-mind knowing that if a home inspector belongs to one of these organizations, they’ve committed to a minimum level of professionalism and to their respective inspection standards.

 

But here’s what Inter NACHI^®^, ASHI^®^, and NAHI^®^ don’t do:

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. They aren’t an insurance company to protect you if a home inspector misses something.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. They aren’t a group that could punish a home inspector or kick them out of the home inspection industry for acting unethically or unprofessionally (there are exceptions that involve revoking their license, but this is not common).

 

 

[] Q7. Aren’t all home inspections the same?

 

A7. No. That’s like saying all auto mechanics are the same. While professional home inspection organizations such as ASHI^®^, NAHI^®^, and Inter NACHI^®^ have dictated minimum inspection requirements, each inspector still has the freedom to determine the depth of their inspection and method of reporting.

 

These methods range from hand-written to computer-generated reports and from little as 200 items inspected to as much as 1600+ items.

 

Also, the price will vary based upon several factors including the size and age of your home. An exact fee will be quoted when you call or when you schedule your inspection online.

 

And beware of the low-cost inspection!

 

You get what you pay for and like all industries; you can always find someone who will perform a low priced inspection. But 9 times out of 10, this doesn’t translate into a good value and you’ll end up wishing you would have invested the extra $25 or $30 for a good, quality home inspector.

 

 

[] Q8. How long will the home inspection take?

 

A8. Most Inspections take between 2 to 3 hours. The things that will affect the time vary based on the size, age & condition of the home along with the degree of client involvement. The more you’re involved, the bigger the house, the worse shape it’s in, and the older the home, the longer the inspection will normally take. However, your participation should always be encouraged.

 

 

  • * Q9. Am I missing out on any expertise by not using an engineer?

 

A9. No. And for 2 reasons:

 

1st – Their knowledge is too specific and too specialized to be used for a professional home inspection. If you hire the right home inspector, you are hiring an experienced professional who has training and experience in all systems and components present in a home. The home inspector will not only evaluate the condition of the mechanical and structural systems in a home, but also to evaluate how these systems are working together and identify areas which need to be monitored, repaired, or in the extreme case, replaced.

 

Think of a home inspector as your family doctor. A person doesn’t go straight to a brain surgeon when they have a headache; it’s just too expensive and too specialized. You visit your family doctor who will diagnose the problem and then, if necessary, send you to the specialist. That’s how the professional engineer and all other specialists (HVAC, foundation, electrician, roofing, plumbing, etc.) fit into the scope of the inspection process. Occasionally, a home inspector may identify the need for a more detailed analysis of one or more of the home’s systems or structures and in these cases, the appropriate professional will be recommended.

 

2nd – You need someone to professionally and objectively communicate their findings. The importance of this skill cannot be overemphasized. This is what really distinguishes the abilities of a professional home inspector from a professional engineer. As a basic necessity, a home inspector is continually educated and experienced in not only verbal communication, but in written communication. By trade, a professional engineer doesn’t have the need to be careful with the wording of their findings while a professional home inspector fully understands their role in the sales process and is equipped with both the communication skills and home inspection reporting tools to deliver a timely, thorough, careful, and appropriate ‘big picture’ analysis of the home.

 

As a matter of fact, hiring a professional engineer on your own can be a disappointing experience. In many states a licensed engineer can perform a home inspection without being certified. The term ‘professional engineer’ or ‘PE’ does not mean the individual has training or experience conducting home inspections. Therefore, hiring a professional engineer to complete a home inspection will likely cost you more money and not deliver the results you are looking for (or deserve).

 

 

  • * Q10. Does a home inspection warranty or insure my home?

 

A10. No. No home inspection company will ever be able to predict or anticipate every repair or maintenance item encountered while owning a home.

 

The purchase and ownership of any home brings ongoing maintenance and a certain amount of risk and unfortunately things sometimes go wrong after the inspection. It can’t be avoided or predicted. Annually, you can expect to spend about 1% of your home’s value on maintenance, but that formula along with the home inspection report is the closest any home inspector can come to predicting future costs and repairs.

 

Also, a home inspection does not represent an insurance policy. All it signifies is the material condition of your home during the time of the inspection. For detailed information on a home warranty, contact your closest real estate professional.

 

 

  • * Q11. Steve, I’m just getting started in my house search and I’m going to call you to inspect it when I find one, but in the meantime do you have any tips to help me along?

 

A11. As a matter of fact, I do. I have some super cool resources that I’m that are specifically designed to help you every step of the way…and beyond. They are useful checklists every homebuyer needs (sellers, too) as they go through the home buying process. And these are no joke. They are a result of a long search for the smartest and most useful items every buyer wants. Just go to the resources page of www.BulldogInspect.com. Here’s what they are:

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. An 8-week moving checklist – Keep your life in order and transition to your new home without dropping the ball or going crazy. This checklist covers everything from contacting moving companies and interviewing real estate agents to enrolling your kids in their new school. We’ve got you covered.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. The Ultimate House Hunting Checklist – From the neighborhood to the home, navigate the search for this most important of investments by comparing each neighborhood against 23 important criteria and each home against its own 29 separate items so you won’t forget a thing and you get the most home for your money.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. The Quik-Inspect™ checklist – This checklist is worth its virtual weight in gold. Put my experience in your hands as you walk through each home and I show you how to look at the areas that matter. This checklist is not intended to replace a home inspection, but it will greatly reduce your chances of calling an inspector more than once because of the home’s condition.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. The Ultimate Home Maintenance Schedule – You just had it inspected, now keep it protected. This maintenance schedule will provide you with on-going and seasonal maintenance items to ensure your home stays in tip top shape for as long as you own it.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. The Life Span and Cost Estimates Guide – Another incredibly helpful tool that will help you figure out what repairs or upgrades will cost on over 500 items. Use it to help you figure the cost to upgrade the countertops in your new home or finish your basement after you move in. This is an indispensable resource as your home grows and ages. And it’s only available here.

 

 

[] Q12. When and how do I pay for the home inspection?

 

A12. Payment for home inspections are almost always due at the end of the inspection. Your inspector should accept personal checks, cash, money orders, cashier’s checks, and credit cards.

 

If you are unable to attend the inspection, it will likely be expected that you pay through credit card or e-check, mail the check at the time of scheduling, or have your representative or agent provide payment at the time of the inspection.

 

Also, a paid invoice should be included with your home inspection report and the report will probably not be released until payment is made unless arrangements were made in advance.

 

 

[] Q13. Will you take payment at closing?

 

A13. Overall, this is discouraged in the industry.

 

You see, we realize the decision to buy or not-to-buy a home often hinges on the outcome of our services. As a result, if you request for payment to be made at closing and then you eventually decide not to buy the home, the home inspector will have a difficult time collecting for services on a home you don’t own.

 

So if it is unavoidable and there is no other option then a credit card number is given or a check is written to the inspector at the time of inspection with the understanding that if no closing occurs the credit card will be run or the check will be deposited.

 

 

[] Q14. How much does a home inspection cost?

 

A14. A home inspection doesn’t cost, it pays. And the method used to calculate price will vary with every inspection company and is often based on many factors:

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. The square footage of the home

#
p<>{color:#000;}. The age of the home

#
p<>{color:#000;}. The selling price of the home

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Whether a crawlspace is involved

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Whether you’d like a weekend or evening inspection

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Sometimes it’s an hourly rate with a minimum number of hours required

 

Now, not all of these criteria are used to determine the inspection cost. One inspector may use square footage while another uses both square footage and age to determine their price. Another may charge if the home has a crawlspace and another may not. Still another may charge for a weekend inspection and another will charge a flat rate of $100 per hour with a 3 hour minimum.

 

Like I said, it depends. And every method has its reasons.

 

The big thing to remember is that you are paying for the inspector’s time and the longer the time, the more the price.

 

However, don’t let the inspection price determine whether or not you get one or dictate your choice of home inspector.

 

Home inspections don’t cost, they pay and the knowledge gained from a world-class home inspection is well worth the investment.

 

And the lowest priced inspector is never a bargain.

 

The other things that will affect the overall cost of the inspection are whether you add additional services.

 

The 3 most common are:

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. A termite inspection

#
p<>{color:#000;}. A radon test

#
p<>{color:#000;}. A mold test.

 

Do your homework, shop around, and prepare in advance so you are ready to discuss these options when you call your home inspector to ensure you’re taking full advantage of your home inspection.

 

 

[] Q15. Do I need to be present during the inspection?

 

A15. You’re highly encouraged to attend the entire inspection (In fact, I will postpone an inspection in order for a client to be there), but it’s not absolutely critical. If it’s impossible for you to be there for the entire inspection then as they say, ‘the show must go on’; it just limits your overall experience and your relationship with your inspector.

 

However, can you be present for the post-inspection wrap up, which occurs at the end of the inspection? This is the time when the inspection findings will be summarized and reviewed for your complete understanding, all current questions will be answered, and any concerns are fully addressed.

 

Even if you are unable to attend, the report is loaded with detailed findings, supporting color photographs, supporting informational attachments, and summary sections to let you rest assured that understanding your inspection report will be a breeze. In addition, if you have any questions after reviewing the report you will always be able to follow up with your inspector to ask questions about anything that ends up being unclear. Be sure to take advantage of this.

 

 

[] Q16. When will I receive the inspection report?

 

A16. After the post-inspection process is complete and the results of the inspection are discussed on-site, a complete report with detailed comments, supporting photographs, supporting informational attachments and summary sections will be provided within 24 hours (usually the same day).

 

Afterward, all you’ll have to do is review the report and call your agent to consider your next move.

 

 

[] Q17. How will I receive the inspection report?

 

A17. This differs almost as much as inspection pricing. A few inspectors still deliver written reports (though these are getting rarer and rarer as technology becomes easier and cheaper to access and home buyer expectations go up). However, most of today’s inspections are delivered via the internet. Either as a pdf attachment within an email or as an HTML report which is delivered via email, but kept on a server.

 

Don’t have an email? You may create one especially for the inspection. If not, maybe a son/daughter or mother/father have one you can use. No? How about your real estate agent printing it out for you? Still not an option? Make sure your inspector knows this and they will print it out for you and have it delivered to you.

 

[] Q18. When and how do I schedule a home inspection?

 

A18. You generally have between seven and fourteen days after your sales contract is signed to get a home inspection. We would advise you to call us as soon as you sign a contract on the prospective home. This will ensure you can get the inspection done at a time that’s most convenient for you while still having the time to schedule any repairs or additional specialist inspections, if necessary.

 

When you’re ready to schedule your inspection just give your inspector a call, send them an email, or schedule it online; whichever you prefer.

 

 

[] Q19. Can I follow you around during the inspection?

 

A19. Absolutely.

 

The primary aim of any good home inspection is to make sure that YOU understand, with as much clarity and certainty as possible, what you are purchasing.

 

That’s it.

 

So if you need to follow the inspector around in order to feel comfortable then by all means follow them around.

 

If your inspector is bothered by this then it would seem like you chose the wrong inspector.

 

You are the most important person at your home inspection. Period.

 

 

[] Q20. Can I ask you questions during the inspection?

 

A20. Yes, please do. Again, referring back to Q1 and Q18, the primary aim of a good home inspection is to make sure the home you’re purchasing is a good fit for your expectations and situation.

 

And the only way you can really figure that out is by getting involved in your home inspection and asking questions.

 

So come prepared with questions written down, if you need to, so that you’re making the most of this very important investment.

 

 

  • * Q21. Is it a good idea to have a friend or family member perform the inspection?

 

A21. No way. This is the 2ndbiggest mistake many potential homeowners make when purchasing a home (the 1st is not even getting a home inspection).

 

And although the person you are considering may be very skilled, they are not trained or experienced at professional home inspections (also see Q8 “Am I missing out on any expertise by not using a professional engineer?” above).

 

Professional home inspection is a unique skill unlike any other.

 

Professional inspectors get what is called an “inspector’s instinct” for problems. That instinct takes extensive training and experience to develop. And as a matter of fact, many contractors and other trades professionals hire a professional home inspector to inspect their own homes when they make a purchase. If they trust us, you should, too.

 

 

[] Q22. Will you walk on the roof?

 

A22. Always, if it’s possible. However, this is not a requirement. For example, according to Inter NACHI®’s standards of practice the inspector is not required to walk on the roof (Inter NACHI® SOP 3.1.IV.A).

 

That being said, I’ve found it impossible to give a proper inspection without walking on a roof (for example, hail damage is sometimes impossible to see from even 10 feet away) so I will always get up there (sometimes to my own detriment). If I can’t then I’ll try to get to the roof’s edge and take the best look I can.

 

When will I NOT walk on a roof? When it’s clearly unsafe or the shingles are too fragile:

 

1. Wood shingles

2. Tile or slate shingles

3. When the roof is too steep (the good thing about this is that getting to the edge almost puts the shingles right in your face to get a clear picture)

4. When the roof has a steep slope and it’s raining

5. After the rain has stopped, but the roof is still wet

6. It’s covered in snow

7. It’s covered in ice

8. It’s covered in moss (this stuff is slick!)

9. There’s a serious obstruction like a tree or power line blocking my way

 

These conditions are not common, but they do happen and it’s important to understand all limitations so your expectations are met and there are no surprises later.

 

So now you may be thinking, “Will the inspector come back when these conditions go away and the roof can be walked on?”

 

The answer to this question is in Q47.

 

  • * Q23. Hi Steve, it’s raining outside and I’m concerned that you won’t be able to walk on the roof today. Should we inspect today or wait until the weather dries up?

 

A23. Great question. I always try to walk a roof, if possible. Even in the rain (I’ve even walked roofs in ice and snow before). A home inspector is not required to walk on a roof, but in my opinion it’s the best way to determine its true condition.

 

But, you have a few options to choose from:

 

1) If you have time in your inspection period to wait then I’d suggest waiting. The absolute best time to inspect a home is the day after it rains. This will really allow us to determine how the foundation will perform when it gets wet and waiting until the day after a rain will give the ground time to soak up the water and put both the moisture and pressure against the foundation wall.

 

2) If it can’t avoided and we must inspect today then let’s just see how it goes. If I can walk it, I will. If not, I can still get up to the roof edge and will also get inside the attic to get as complete a picture of the roof structure as possible.

 

3) I can always come back on another day to walk on the roof and inspect the shingles, but there is an additional fee involved that is paid at the time of the original inspection.

 

This gives you a few things to think about. Let me know what you’d like to do.

 

  • * Q24. Will you be able to test the air conditioning system if it’s cold outside?

 

A24. No. When the outside air temperature has been less than 60 degress within 24 hours of the inspection the air conditioning system cannot be tested. This is not just a limitation to the home inspection. Most HVAC service technicians will not test a/c systems when it’s cold outside, either.

 

The reason? To put it plainly when it’s cold outside the refrigerant that runs through the a/c system can harden. If this happens and the system is operated it could cause damage. No one wants this. In fact, many home warranty companies recognize this limitation and include a cold weather clause in their contract. This protects you in the event that you buy your home in the winter and the a/c system does not work in the spring when you turn it on for the first time. You may want to check into a home warranty that includes a cold weather clause since I can’t test the a/c system during the inspection.

 

 

[] Q25. Is this a bad foundation crack?

 

A25. To be honest, this question is too big for this manual. There are many, many types of cracks which occur not just in the foundation, but also in the walls, ceilings, and floors that are caused by almost as many varying reasons.

 

However, I’ll touch on the types of cracks which have caused my clients to ask me this question. Most of the time they’re referring to foundation cracks. Basically, there are 3 different types of foundation cracks:

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Shrinkage cracks – These are hairline cracks which occur due to the normal drying and shrinkage of the concrete. In fact, there’s a saying in the concrete business:

 

There are two certainties when it comes to concrete: 1) It will get hard and 2) It will crack”

 

99% of the time these are harmless. What’s important to remember is that these are hairline cracks, they will be random, and they can be vertical, horizontal, or diagonal. Here’s a graphic:

 

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Settlement cracks – These are caused by movement in the soil around your home. These can be major concerns, particularly if the crack goes all the way through foundation or if it is really wide (great than ¼”). These are almost always vertical or diagonal and will start at the floor and move upward. Here’s a graphic:

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Hydrostatic (Horizontal) Cracks – When people talk about bad foundation cracks, this is it. These are caused by the soil pushing in the foundation wall and often require some sort of support system to be installed to keep the cracking from getting worse. Here’s a graphic of this type of cracking:

 

 

Here’s a graphic of what an I-beam support system looks like (one of many types of repair, but still very common):

 

 

Remember, all home inspectors are trained to evaluate and report on all types of cracks. If you have any questions about the type of crack you have or how serious it is, never hesitate to ask your inspector.

 

 

[] Q26. How long do shingles usually last?

 

A26. The answer to this question involves many factors. Most of them you probably don’t care about so in the spirit of brevity and interest I will answer this question using a general rule of thumb for the most common types of shingle materials used today:

 

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Standard asphalt shingles – 15 to 20 years

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Premium asphalt shingles – 25 to 30 years

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Wood shingles – 15 to 25 years

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Metal roofs – 50 to 60 years

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Concrete tiles – 40 to 50 years

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Tile shingles – 50 to 80 years

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Slate shingles –30 to 80 years

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Roll roofing (flat roof) – 5 to 15 years

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Tar and gravel (flat roof) – 15 to 25 years

 

 

[] Q27. What is knob-n-tube wiring?

 

A27. Knob-n-tube wiring was the standard method of wiring in homes in North America between roughly 1875 and 1930. It consists of copper wires run through ceramic knobs and tubes and uses air to dissipate heat. It is because of this that these homes were originally built with no insulation in the walls or attic.

 

While not inherently unsafe, having knob-n-tube wiring in your home does present some safety issues, most of which come from the system becoming brittle with age, improper splicing into a more modern wiring system, and having attic or wall insulation installed around the wires.

 

In addition, you cannot use 3-prong outlets with knob-n-tube wiring. Here’s a graphic to show you what it looks like:

 

 

Today, many homeowner insurance companies take issue with homes with knob-n-tube wiring installed so I’m always sure to tell my clients that they should contact their insurance company to ensure coverage is available and reasonable.

 

 

  • * Q28. Will you light the pilot lights for the water heater, furnace, or fireplace?

 

A28.This will depend entirely on your inspector, but they are not required to light pilot lights.

 

I have performed many thousands of inspections over the years and have had many close calls. These close calls vary from roofs to attic spaces to crawlspaces to electrical to plumbing to the HVAC system.

 

And while I’m considered a little cuckoo by my local peers for the risks I take to deliver a thorough home inspection, I’ve still developed a personal comfort zone for things I will and will not do.

 

And messing around with natural gas and its possible consequences is one of the very, very few I have (especially if the home has been vacant for a while).

 

As such, your home inspector will have the option (but is not required) to also light pilot lights within the home. For example, according to sections 3.4.IV.D, 3.4.IV.A, and 3.8.IV.E of the Inter NACHI® Standards of Practice home inspectors are not required to light pilots to the furnace, water heater, and fireplace, respectively.

 

 

[] Q29. Will you light a fire in the fireplace?

 

A29. Only if it is an electric start gas fireplace. Lighting a fire will only impede the inspection process and prevent a home inspector from inspecting your fireplace and chimney.

 

As a side note, you should also remember that a home inspection is visual in nature and the inspector will only be able to take a look up the chimney with their flashlight.

 

Therefore, if you have any particular reason for concern, it’s always a good idea to call a professional chimney sweep to do an in-depth evaluation, which usually includes sending a light and camera up the chimney.

 

 

[] Q30. What if I have questions after the inspection?

 

A30.You can contact your inspector and discuss all aspects of your home whenever you like. Our service is a long-term investment for as long as you own the home.

 

 

  • * Q31. Should I avoid the home inspector that my real estate agent recommends?

 

A31. That’s another important question and the answer is…Not necessarily.

 

You see, good real estate agents live and breathe in the world of real estate. Good agents have been around for years and there’s a reason for it…they surround themselves with a team of professionals they can trust – including their home inspectors.

 

They are constantly showered with the advertisements of home inspection companies and other vendors; but with the help of other seasoned agents and their broker, they have weeded out the good inspectors from the questionable, or even bad ones.

 

Again, I’m referring to good agents.

 

In my opinion, a good real estate agent is one who understands that there are many homes, but only one client. Good agents work off referral business and win over their clients with service, experience, and knowledge; they aren’t the lucky ones who just happen to answer the phone when you call about a home you just drove by that had their sign in the yard. A good agent is one whose response to a home that has many things found wrong after the home inspection is:

 

Good thing we got it inspected, now let’s go find that dream home.”

 

With that, am I also suggesting that if an agent only uses one inspector, that it’s a good idea to only use them? May be. That agent may be surrounding themselves with a “team” so that they can deliver a quality and consistent experience for their client. In order to do that everyone on their “team” plays a vital role.

 

However, be just as selective about your home inspector as you were the agent you chose to work with and the home you decided to buy (that is, if you are working with an agent) because you are also compiling a team to work with and it’s important to treat all members of your team with the same level of respect. So be picky, speak to a few, and choose the best fit for you.

 

 

  • * Q32. I’m getting an FHA loan, do you know what they’ll be looking for?

 

A32. Yes, and in fact it’s a pretty long form. To see the guidelines yourself, just visit BiggerPockets.com and you can download the document yourself.

 

 

  • * Q33. I’m getting a VA loan, do you know what they’ll be looking for?

 

A33. Yes, and it’s a pretty long form. I’d recommend visiting the Department of Veteran Affairs VA Pamphlet to read and print the information for yourself.

 

 

  • * Q34. What are the different types of inspections available?

 

A34. This is a long answer because there are only a few common inspections, but a lot of special inspection. For example, in my business, I offer 4 types of inspections:

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. A whole-house inspection

#
p<>{color:#000;}. A major items inspection

#
p<>{color:#000;}. A Radon test

#
p<>{color:#000;}. A termite inspection

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Mold testing

 

These 4 types of inspections cover 99.9% of all necessary evaluations of a home for sale. However, if the need arises, there are some very particular inspections which are not so common, including:

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Asbestos testing

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Lead based paint

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Carbon Monoxide

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Septic System Inspections

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Well water inspections

#
p<>{color:#000;}. New construction phase inspections

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Stucco/EIFS inspections

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Infrared testing

 

An important point to remember, though, is that the basic whole-house inspection will get a professionally trained home inspector to walk through the home and if they identify a condition which might need a specialist’s opinion, the inspector will make the recommendation at that point.

 

I never recommend calling a specialist prior to a home inspection (unless it’s blatantly obvious) because the professional inspector will be able to point you in the right direction after they see the problem.

 

Sometimes what seems like a patch of mold (or water stain or foundation crack) isn’t as bad as it initially seems and other times a specialist will be needed. Overall, waiting for the inspector to point you in the right direction will save you time and money.

 

 

  • * Q35. Is it alright to have my appraiser show up at the same time as the inspection?

 

A35. Absolutely. This is your time to get as much done as possible so if you need to schedule the appraisal, the carpet guys, the painter, the granite guy, the decorator, and your family from out of town to show up during the inspection, then by all means do so.

 

The only time that might not be a good idea is if a Radon test is performed. According to the EPA Radon protocol, closed-house conditions much be kept the entire time the electronic monitor is in place. This means all windows and exterior doors must be kept closed (except for the occasional use while coming and going).

 

 

  • * Q36. Is there a fee to have you come back at another time and inspect something that wasn’t accessible during the inspection?

 

A36. Yes. See Q47. It’s the same principle. You’re paying for the inspector’s time and if they must reserve a spot for a re-inspection where a full appointment would go, they will charge accordingly.

 

Obviously this price is designed to discourage re-inspections. And for the best inspection experience possible with the quickest results, it’s always best to make sure the sellers are prepared for the inspection. How should they prepare? See Q58.

 

 

[] Q37. Can you tell me where my property lines are?

 

A37. I get this question about twice a year and the answer is ‘No.’

 

A survey and, in particular, a stake survey (about $450) will tell you exactly where your property line is so you can determine if there are any encroachments on your property.

 

 

  • * Q38. Can you tell me how many square feet the home is?

 

A38. I sometimes get this question (usually when someone confuses my services with that of an appraiser) and again the answer is ‘No.’

 

A home inspector can only tell you what kind of condition the home is in. The appraiser will tell you how many square feet your property is (along with telling you its market value).

 

 

[] Q39. Do you work weekends?

 

A39. I do and most inspectors will, also. We work whenever our clients need us.

 

However, I save Sundays for my family and don’t work unless the situation is absolutely unavoidable. We all need our free time, right?

 

 

  • * Q40. Are home inspectors required to be licensed or certified?

 

A40. This depends on the state and at the time of this writing, the link below contains a comprehensive list detailing which states require a home inspector to be licensed and certified and which ones don’t: [+ List of States Requiring Licensing for Home Inspectors+]

 

 

[] Q41. Are home inspectors required to carry insurance?

 

A41. Again this varies by state. For the states that do require licensing then the answer is yes and each state will determine how much insurance the inspector must carry in order to meet minimum state requirements. See the link in Q54 for those details.

 

 

  • * Q42. What happens if something goes wrong after the home inspection?

 

A42.There may come a time when you discover something wrong with the house you purchased, and you may be upset or disappointed with your home inspection. There are some things I’d like you to keep in mind.

 

Intermittent or Concealed Problems: Some problems can only be discovered by living in a house. They cannot be discovered during the few hours of a home inspection. For example, some shower stalls leak when people are in the shower, but do not leak when you simply turn on the tap. Some roofs and basements only leak when specific conditions exist. Some problems will only be discovered when carpets are lifted, furniture is moved or finishes are removed.

 

No Clues: These problems may have existed at the time of the inspection, but there were no clues as to their existence. Home inspections are based on the past performance of the house. If there are no clues of a past problem, it is unfair to assume we should foresee a future problem.

 

We Always Miss Some Minor Things: Some say we are inconsistent because our reports identify some minor problems, but not others. The minor problems which are identified were discovered while looking for more significant problems. We note them simply as a courtesy. The intent of the inspection is not to find the $200 problems; it is to find the $2,000 problems. These are the things that affect people’s decisions to purchase.

h1<>{color:#000;}.

Contractor’s Advice: A common source of dissatisfaction with home inspectors comes from comments made by contractors. Contractor’s opinions often differ from ours. Don’t be surprised when three roofers all say the roof needs replacement after we said that the roof would last a few more years with some minor repairs.

 

Last-Man-In Theory: While our advice represents the most prudent thing to do, many contractors are reluctant to undertake these repairs. This is because of the last-man-in theory. The contractor fears that if he is the last person to work on the roof, he will get blamed if the roof leaks, regardless of whether or not the roof leak is his fault. Consequently, he won’t want to do a minor repair with high liability, when he could re-roof the entire house for more money and reduce the likelihood of a callback. This is understandable.

 

Most Recent Advice Is Best: There is more to the last-man-in theory. It suggests that it is human nature for homeowners to believe the last bit of expert advice they receive, even if it is contrary to previous advice.

 

As home inspectors, we unfortunately find ourselves in the position of first man in and consequently it is our advice that is often disbelieved.

 

Why Didn’t We See It? Contractors often say, I can’t believe you had this house inspected and the inspector didn’t find this problem. There are several reasons for these apparent oversights:

 

Most Contractors Have No Clue What’s Inside or Outside the Scope of a Standard Home Inspection: All of our inspections are conducted in accordance with the Standards of Practice of their respective home inspection association (Inter NACHI®, ASHI®, or NAHI®). The Standards of Practice specifically state what’s included and excluded from the standard home inspection.

 

Most contractors have no clue this document exists and many of them have a tendency to blame the home inspector for any issue found, regardless of whether the issue is within the “scope” of the standard home inspection or not.

 

Conditions during The Inspection: It is difficult for homeowners to remember the circumstances in the house at the time of the inspection. Homeowners seldom remember that it was snowing, that there was storage items everywhere, that the air conditioner could not be turned on because it was too cold outside, etc. Therefore, it’s also impossible for contractors to know what the circumstances were when the inspection was performed.

 

The Wisdom of Hindsight: When the problem manifests itself, it is very easy to have 20/20 hindsight. Anybody can say that the basement is wet when there is 2 feet of water on the floor. Predicting the problem is a different story.

 

A Long Look: If we spent half an hour under the kitchen sink or 45 minutes disassembling the furnace, we’d find more problems, too. Unfortunately, the inspection would take several days and would cost considerably more.

 

Like Your Family Doctor, We’re Generalists: We’re generalists, not specialists. Just like the difference between your family doctor and an oncologist, we must know as much as we can about every system in your home. For example, the heating contractor may indeed have more heating expertise than we do. This is because we are expected to have heating expertise and plumbing expertise, structural expertise, electrical expertise, etc.

 

An Invasive Look: Problems often become apparent when carpets or plaster are removed, when fixtures or cabinets are pulled out, and so on. A home inspection is a visual examination. We don’t perform invasive or destructive tests.

 

Not Insurance: In conclusion, a home inspection is designed to better your odds of not purchasing a “money pit”. It is not designed to eliminate all risk. For that reason, a home inspection should not be considered an insurance policy. The premium that an insurance company would have to charge for a policy with no deductible, no limit and an indefinite policy period would be considerably more than the fee we charge. It would also not include the value added by the information we provide.

 

This is a lot to take in and this discussion is not meant to make excuses for any items that are blatantly missed which are also clearly within the scope of the inspection. In these cases, the inspector is responsible and needs to exceed the client’s expectations when remedying the situation. However, inspectors are not psychic or Superman and cannot predict a future problem or see through walls. In this sense it’s always important to make sure you, as a future homeowner, understand the limitations of the inspection process. Also in saying that, most inspectors perform superb inspections that remove much of the risk involved in buying your home. So don’t ever hesitate to get one.

 

 

  • * Q43. Who do I call if something goes wrong after the home inspection?

 

A43. This is oftentimes a sensitive situation because the subject of our service involves one of the biggest purchases you’ll ever make, which also means any indication of neglect or oversight on the inspector’s part is taken very seriously. And rightly so, but as you may be upset and fuming over a missed item or a breakdown, your inspector has no idea that your situation exists.

 

Therefore, it is of utmost importance to let the inspector know as soon as possible so your annoyance does not escalate into anger. Do not call your real estate agent or worse yet, go straight to posting a bad review on the internet. Give your inspector the respect they deserve and discuss your issue(s) directly with them because whether you know it or not, they care about you and your home and will want to turn the situation around.

 

This is also sound business.

 

So go straight to the source as soon as the problem occurs and give your inspector a chance to make it right. You will likely be pleasantly surprised how it turns out.

 

 

[] Q44. How long are the inspection findings good for?

 

A44. Because of the limited, visual nature of a home inspection, the findings are only good for 1 year.

 

If you’d like extended coverage of major items in the home, a home warranty is an excellent option. Ask your real estate agent or search the internet for recommendations of a good warranty company.

 

Not working with a real estate agent or not wanting to leave it to chance? Start with these 2 companies. I’ve had clients who have had good experiences with them:

 

#
p<>{color:#00F;}. Choice Home Warranty

#
p<>{color:#00F;}. The Home Service Club

 

 

  • * Q45. Are home inspections just for buyers and sellers?

 

A45. No. Just like our friends in Q63 below, almost anyone with a home has a need, at some point, for a thorough home inspection.

 

For example, anyone who’s about to sell their home and wants to repair any necessary items before their potential buyers look at the home, or someone thinking about adding a room addition, or someone with an older home and would like to improve its energy efficiency.

 

These are all perfect candidates for a thorough home inspection.

 

 

  • * Q46. Are you specifically experienced in residential inspection?

 

A46. This is a very good question to ask the home inspectors you are interviewing. They should be because commercial inspections are a very different breed of inspection.

 

 

  • * Q47. Is there a fee to have you come back at another time and re-inspect something after a repair is made?

 

A47. Yes. Normally, repairs are requested to be made by qualified professionals, so it’s not necessary for your inspector to come back and check on their work. As a professional, they should be providing an invoice with the scope of their work (the work that was done) and a warranty against breakdowns. By the way, you’ll definitely want to get this repair paperwork before you close on the home.

 

Therefore, if something goes wrong later, you can just call them directly instead of your agent or home inspector.

 

However, if you decide you still want the inspector to return, the fee will vary from $50 – $195. A little steep, but you’ll be occupying a slot normally used for a full home inspection so it’s still a bargain.

 

 

  • * Q48. Do you offer to do repairs or improvements based on the inspection?

 

A48. This is another great question to ask the home inspectors you are considering for your next home because the answer to this question is often an ethical one.

 

Although I’ve been asked if I would make the necessary repairs on certain items in the home, the answer is No. I will not blur the lines between objective professionalism and mild opportunity.

 

As inconvenient as that may rarely be, I will not perform repairs on any of the items I find wrong in a home. Personally, I feel this just leads to confusion since first and foremost I’m to be known as a professional home inspector, not a handyman. And if I dabble in both professions, where does my loyalty lie? Am I a home inspector trying to send work to my home repair business? Or am I a handyman trying to send work to my home inspection business?

 

See the dilemma?

 

A client’s damaged trust during that situation is not worth any extra work I would ever get from offering the extra service. I am a professional home inspector. Period.

 

 

  • * Q49. How long after the inspection will you be available if I have any questions?

 

A49. This is an easy question to answer. A home inspector should be available to answer any questions you have about your home for as long as you own your home.

 

 

  • * Q50. How can I get the most use from the inspection findings?

 

A50. Most inspectors will summarize the inspection findings within a particular category based on how important they are, such as:

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Safety items

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Major items

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Maintenance items.

 

With this, you can quickly determine which items are a big deal and which ones are not. Therefore, if you are working with a seller, the Safety item and Major item summaries can be used for negotiations and your Maintenance item summary may be used as a ‘honey do’ list after you move in.

 

 

  • * Q51. Do you have anything available to help me take a more critical look at each home I look at before I call you?

 

A51. You know, that’s a really common question and one I’ve answered with the creation of a very useful tool.

 

How? With the creation of the QuickInspect™ checklist. This unique checklist allows you to quickly and easily evaluate the 10 most common problems areas in a home.

 

How’s it used? Well, if you use the checklist and the home you’re looking at passes all 10 tests, then that’s a good indication that you should probably call a professional home inspector to perform the proper home inspection.

 

Now, let me be very clear here: THE CHECKLIST IS NOT DESIGNED TO TAKE THE PLACE OF A PROFESSIONAL HOME INSPECTION, but it should keep you from calling a home inspector too soon (or too many times) because you didn’t notice the major crack in the foundation or the furnace that didn’t work.

 

In fact, I’ve had a few clients call me up to 4 times because they kept walking away from the homes I’d inspected for them – and all for reasons they could have seen themselves if they just had some basic knowledge.

 

This is one of my gifts to you. Enjoy.

 

 

 

[] Home Seller Inspection Questions

 

  • * Q52. I’m selling my home. Should I have it inspected before the buyer does?

 

A52. Yes. Absolutely. This is a great idea and in my opinion this is how homes should be sold because it takes all the guesswork and hassle out of the process. Here are some obvious benefits:

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. You find out what kind of condition your home is in before your buyers do

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Once the inspection results come back, you get to make repairs on your schedule using the contractors you choose

#
p<>{color:#000;}. You can now list any items you’re not willing to repair as non-negotiable in your seller’s disclosure

#
p<>{color:#000;}. You can choose to raise your selling price (or stick to it) because you now have confidence in knowing that nothing big will show up after the buyer has their home inspection (which they likely will get)

#
p<>{color:#000;}. You can use your home inspection report as a marketing tool and show it to all your prospective buyers (this may convince some buyers not to get their own inspection)

 

There are other really good reasons, too. In fact, check out an article I wrote a few years ago on the subject. I think it may be eye opening: [+ Pre-Listing Inspections: A Sure Sell?+]

 

 

  • * Q53. How is a home seller inspection different from a home buyer inspection?

 

A53. Their scope is exactly the same (See Q2). However, the seller inspection may be a little more thorough just to be sure that everything the buyer’s inspector finds will not be a surprise.

 

You see, every inspector is different and each have their own signature set of items they inspect for (these items are in addition to the minimum items required by the inspector associations) and you’ll never know what those items may be. So just to be safe, it’s always a good idea to inspect everything they may possibly report on.

 

And that’s OK. This inspection is not about them. It’s about you, the seller. It’s about you knowing what condition your home is in so you can price it with confidence and avoid future negotiation hassles later.

 

However, if you would like to make it about your buyers and use the inspection as a marketing tool, see Q48 above.

 

 

[] Q54. Should I test for Radon if I’m selling my home?

 

A54. That’s an interesting question. From a purely financial perspective, I understand that some sellers will say no.

 

The reason? If you test your home and the Radon level comes back high you have essentially volunteered to pay for the mitigation system (the system that corrects the problem), which varies in cost from $650 – $2,000.

 

However, some sellers will test just to know in advance and build a sales strategy around all possible scenarios. I understand and respect this viewpoint, also.

 

So it’s completely up to you and your situation. Neither answer is right or wrong.

 

 

55. As the seller, what can I do to prepare for my upcoming home inspection?

 

A55. Yes. And congratulations. You got an offer, accepted it, and now you’re lined up to receive a home inspection.

 

Don’t fret.

 

And even though you’ve gotten your home in tip top shape there are still many things every seller can do to smooth out their upcoming inspection.

 

In fact, this will not only help your own cause by making sure you haven’t overlooked the little things, but it will continue to show your buyers that you don’t cut corners or take shortcuts, which translates into trust and in real estate trust goes a long way. Here’s a quick list:

 

Outside the home

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Remove any storage, debris, and wood that is making contact with the earth. These may be noted as termite conditions.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Trim back tree limbs 10’ from the roof and trim shrubs 1’ from the house to allow access.

 

Inside the home

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Confirm that water, electric and gas service (if applicable) are on and pilots are lit.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Ensure pets won’t hinder the inspection.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Replace burned out bulbs.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Test smoke detectors and replace dead batteries.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Install a Carbon Monoxide detector (if applicable) on each floor

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Clean or replace dirty furnace filters. Make sure they fit securely.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Remove anything blocking access to HVAC equipment, electric service panels, water heaters, attics, and crawl spaces.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Unlock areas the inspector must access – attic doors or hatches, electric service panels, closets, fence gates and crawl spaces.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Repair broken or missing items like doorknobs, locks and latches; windowpanes, screens and locks; gutters, downspouts and chimney caps.

 

This is a quick list. For a more comprehensive list of items that will help you get your home ready for sale visit the resources page at www.BulldogInspect.com.

 

 

[] New Construction Questions

 

  • * Q56. The home I’m buying is new construction, should I still get it inspected?

 

A56. Absolutely.

 

No home is perfect and even if you trust the builder of the home, it’s not the builder who’s actually nailing the nails and putting on the roof…it’s the sub-contractors he hires.

 

So very often the builder isn’t even aware of some of the problems that will be uncovered, but will probably be happy to find them out.

 

I’m talking about things like leaking pipes, bad electrical wiring, improper roof installation, furnace or air conditioner problems, and that’s just the beginning of a list of possible things that stretches a mile long.

 

Another thing…last year I went into 2 BRAND NEW homes that had NO insulation in the attic.

 

Zero. Zilch. Nada. Squat.

 

I’m talking blank attic space.

 

So again, always get any new home inspected because 9 times out of 10 the inspection will more than pay for itself.

 

Remember, a home inspection is to be looked at like an investment, not an expense and will play a big, big part in helping you enjoy the home for many years to come.

 

 

  • * Q57. When is the best time to get my brand new home inspected?

 

A57. This is a good question. In new construction this can be tricky: order the inspection too soon and the driveway and floors aren’t done. Too late and you lose the attention of your builder.

 

However, there is a sweet spot in scheduling new construction inspections, which is after the work is completed, but before your final walkthrough with the builder.

 

There is usually a week between the time the home is completed and the walkthrough with your builder. This is the perfect time to get the home inspected because it allows you to go to the builder with a list of repair items while you still have his undivided attention.

 

It doesn’t get much better than that.

 

 

  • * Q58. My friends are having trouble with their new home after being in the house for only 6 months & they skipped the home inspection. Should they get one now?

 

A58. Probably not. And here’s why. Most brand new homes are covered by a builder’s 12-month new construction warranty. The scope of these warranties diminish over time, but during the first 12-months they cover just about every item in the home (that’s why it’s a good idea to put a blank paper on your fridge and write down every little thing that goes wrong with your home during the first year).

 

Therefore, if the home is only 6 months old I’d go straight to the horse’s mouth and call the builder. Talk to them about it and they will schedule the responsible sub-contractor to visit your home and repair the item.

 

Here’s a tip: Be home when the sub-contractor comes over. Some builders will say you don’t need to be, but being home will do a few things for you:

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. You can verify the sub-contractor actually showed up and when

#
p<>{color:#000;}. You can make sure nothing gets messed up or broken in the process (or even worse, stolen)

#
p<>{color:#000;}. You can make sure the work gets done right

 

I once had some broken floor tiles in my bathroom that needed to be repaired in a new home I’d bought. I wasn’t home when the sub-contractor came over so he left the materials on my front porch so I could do the work, myself. Don’t let this happen to you.

 

 

  • * Q59. My one year builder’s warranty is about to expire, should I get it re-inspected?

 

A59. This is a great question and the answer is ‘Yes.’ Why? Here are some important points to consider:

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Are you confident you can identify all of the necessary items which need repair so that you get the most out of your warranty?

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Did you get a home inspection performed before you bought your home? If not, are you sure you haven’t been missing some necessary components since you’ve moved in?

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Lastly, it’s a known fact that we’re very likely to overlook items if we grow used to them. Therefore, since a home purchase is such a large investment, wouldn’t you like to know that you have someone representing you who has a set of fresh, objective & professionally trained eyes to help you avoid future headaches and get the most out of your new home?

 

It’s always a good idea to get a builder’s warranty inspection, especially since your 11th month represents the end of the time you can ask for so many things to be repaired. The price of this inspection is usually the same as a full home inspection due to its full scope of items to evaluate (including cosmetic items)

 

 

  • * Q60. I’m having some problems with my new construction home that my builder is not willing to fix. What should I do?

 

A60. A few years ago I worked with a law firm that represented many builder’s warranty companies. I was charged with the responsibility of interpreting the warranty and deciding the outcome of these disputes. So the law may be on your side.

 

First, keep your cool. I know this is frustrating, but you’re trying to negotiate with the one person who’s responsible for building and (hopefully) repairing whatever breakdown or damage your home is experiencing. You don’t want to make things worse. Many times builders are just really busy. Other times they’re stubborn and hope your problem will just go away. Either way, you need to find the swiftest path to get your problem resolved.

 

First, find your home warranty paperwork provided by your builder. A few popular home warranties are:

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. 2-10 Home Warranty

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Quality Builder’s Warranty

#
p<>{color:#000;}. RWC

 

Next, look up your problem and see if it’s covered under the warranty. Be prepared and knowing where your problem is located within the warranty paperwork will help your case.

 

Next, call the warranty company and tell them what you’re going through. Work with them and they will contact the builder and escalate the issue.

 

 

h1<>{color:#000;}.

[] Home Maintenance Inspection Questions

 

  • * Q61. Where can I get good information about ongoing home maintenance?

 

A61. Great question! Visit the resources page at www.BulldogInspect.com. There you’ll find the Ultimate Home Maintenance Schedule. Based on the season, you’ll have a comprehensive home maintenance checklist that allows you to quickly and easily determine which items need to be maintained.

 

For other good information on home maintenance and repairs, you might also want to check out the Home Depot 1-2-3 volumes.

 

 

  • * Q62. Do you offer any inspections designed to help with home maintenance?

 

A62. Yes. And it’s super important. It’s an inspection designed to be performed during fair weather (if you live in an area where it snows like I do, don’t schedule this inspection in the winter. There’s too many things that can’t be tested or inspected) and it’s called a Home Maintenance Checkup.

 

It’s also extremely underutilized.

 

Mainly because most homeowners and real estate agents do not know about them. When most people think home inspections they think home sale or purchase. In fact, they are also a powerful tool to help your home stay healthy.

Healthy? Well, it’s helpful to think of your home as a person. And the older it gets the more attention it needs. Like any person, it needs a regular check-up and it has its good days and bad days. It breathes, gets bumps and bruises, can get moody and even get sick.

 

For about the cost of a tune-up, a home maintenance checkup can help find problems and damages in your home before they get worse and your house needs to go to the Emergency Room (ok, I took it a little too far, but you know what I mean).

 

What does the inspection include? See Q2.

 

This is a systematically thorough home inspection and will tell you (among many, many other things):

 

*
p<>{color:#000;}. How much insulation you have in the attic (and how much you should have)

*
p<>{color:#000;}. How your windows are performing

*
p<>{color:#000;}. How your furnace is performing

*
p<>{color:#000;}. How your a/c system is performing

*
p<>{color:#000;}. If your smoke detectors are working properly

*
p<>{color:#000;}. If you have any peeling paint or rot on the outside of your home

*
p<>{color:#000;}. If your gutters are clogged

*
p<>{color:#000;}. If your shingles are worn or damaged

*
p<>{color:#000;}. If your light bulbs are working

 

It will also include a free copy of the Home Maintenance book by Inter NACHI™.

 

 

[] Real Estate Investor Questions

 

  • * Q63. I’m a real estate investor and already know there’s some minor issues with the property I’m buying. I don’t want to spend a lot of money on an inspection because I might cancel my contract if there are major problems. Can you help me, Steve?

 

A63. You’re in luck! There is actually a very specific inspection for your exact situation and it’s called a 5-point investor inspection.

 

This is what this inspection is about:

 

You see, we understand you want a professional set of eyes to inspect your investment properties, but you don’t want to spend $350+, spend 3 hours on-site, or have a report delivered that is full of items you don’t care about or already know need updating or repairs.

 

That’s why we’ve also developed a proprietary inspection process tailored specifically for residential real estate investors. We’ve “trimmed the fat” by eliminating the areas you’ll already know have issues or are of no major concern.

 

So what you get is the inspection of the 5 major systems present in every home to ensure all of your major bases are covered.

 

This is the5-Point Investor Inspection and it focuses on those areas of the property that will cost the most time and money if problems exist:

 

1.      Roof Structure (including attic space)

2. Electrical System

3. Foundation

4. Plumbing

5. HVAC

 

This is also a relatively quick inspection which costs significantly less than a full home inspection. Contact your local home inspector for more details if this type of inspection fits your needs.

 

 

[]Radon Gas Questions

 

[]Q64. What is Radon gas?

 

A64. Radon gas is a naturally occurring radioactive gas which develops from the depletion of Uranium in our soil. Radon levels in the soil (not in your home) range from a few hundred to several thousands of pCi/L (picocuries per liter).

 

Therefore, it’s no one’s fault that it’s there. It’s not the developer’s fault who put in the streets, it’s not the builder’s fault who built the home, and it’s not the seller’s fault who’s selling the home.

 

 

[] Q65. Should I get my home tested for Radon?

 

A65.If you live in an area that has Radon gas, yes…and for 2 reasons:

 

1st – It’s a sincere health concern.

 

Now, if you ask a large enough group of people you’ll find there are 2 schools of thought:

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. People who believe it’s a legitimate health hazard and

#
p<>{color:#000;}. People who believe it’s no concern at all.

 

Personally, I happen to believe it’s a true hazard and have my own home tested every year. Don’t take the chance of being wrong because the consequences are deadly. Below is a graphic taken from the EPA’s website that shows what Radon gas levels are expected to be in different parts of the country.

 

Red areas – Highest potential for high Radon levels. These are areas that have a predicted average indoor radon level greater than 4 pCi/L.

 

Orange areas – Moderate potential for high Radon levels. These are areas that have a predicted average indoor radon level between 2 and 4 pCi/L.

 

Yellow areas – Low potential for high Radon levels. These are areas that have a predicted average indoor radon level less than 2pCi/L.

 

2nd – It’s a financial concern.

 

With regard to Radon gas it’s almost always better to be the buyer than the seller of a home.

 

As Radon gas gets more attention and the EPA increasingly advertises its health effects, a growing number of home buyers are testing for this deadly gas.

 

Therefore, if you decide not to test for Radon gas when you buy your home and you ever decide to sell your home later, your next buyers will likely test for Radon and you’ll then be crossing your fingers that it doesn’t come back high.

 

That’s why it’s better to be the buyer than the seller: it’s always cheaper to test for Radon gas than it is to fix it.

 

So test now and negotiate with your sellers to get the condition corrected if the results come back high.

 

Now you can see that even if it’s not a health concern for you, personally, it should at least be a financial concern because Radon gas is an issue that will never go away.

 

 

  • * Q66. How is Radon gas measured, and what does it mean to me?

 

A66. Radon gas is measured in pCi/L (picocurie per liter).

 

It also causes lung cancer. And since pCi/L is such a strange way of thinking about something as important as lung cancer, the EPA has made an association between Radon gas and cigarette smoking (something we all understand).

 

What they’ve announced is that every pCi/L of Radon gas present in your home has the same cancerous effects as smoking 1 cigarette per day (we’ve seen levels vary from .1 pCi/L to 105.3 pCi/L).

 

Think about that…

 

You could have the healthiest of lifestyles, but live in a home with high Radon gas levels and still have an increased chance of getting lung cancer. So if the level is 10 pCi/L, it is like smoking 10 cigarettes a day. Every single day.

 

And if you already smoke, you’re just risking your health that much more. My advice? Play it safe and get your home tested.

 

 

  • * Q67. I’m not worried about the health risks, so why should I still get my home tested for Radon?

 

A67. See the 2nd part of Q65, above:

 

“As Radon gas gets more attention and the EPA increasingly advertises about its health effects, a growing number of home buyers will be testing for this deadly gas.

 

Therefore, if you decide not to test for Radon gas when you buy your home and you ever decide to sell your home later, your next buyers will likely test for Radon and you’ll then be crossing your fingers that it doesn’t come back high.

 

That’s why it’s better to be the buyer than the seller: it’s always cheaper to test for Radon gas than it is to fix it.

 

So test now and negotiate with your sellers to get the condition corrected if the results come back high.

 

Now you can see that even if it’s not a health concern for you, personally, it should at least be a financial concern because Radon gas is an issue that will never go away.”

 

 

  • * Q68. What can be done if the Radon gas level comes back high?

 

A68. If your Radon levels come back from the lab and they’re above 4.0 pCi/L, then the EPA protocol is to have a Radon mitigation system professionally installed. The system is a permanent solution to the problem and will continuously keep the Radon levels within a safe range.

 

 

[] Q69. How does a mitigation system work?

 

A69. A mitigation system is commonly corrected using a method called “sub-slab depressurization” or “sub-slab suction”.

 

 

How it works is a suction point or points are determined within the foundation floor and a pipe is inserted through the concrete slab.

This pipe is connected to other PVC piping and a fan is positioned somewhere on the pipe. The fan then draws the radon gas from beneath the home and vents it to the outside.

 

A radon mitigation system can cost between $695 – $2500 and the fan has a life of roughly 10 years of continuous, 24-hour use.

 

 

  • * Q70. Is there any maintenance I need to do to the system?

 

A70. Using sub-slab suction systems, these systems are virtually maintenance free. Simply check the manometer (tube with red liquid) periodically. The liquid level should line up with the red arrow.

 

 

  • * Q71. Without a test, can I tell if I have Radon gas in my home?

 

A71. Nope. You can’t see it, smell it, or taste it.

 

 

[] Q72. How dangerous is Radon gas?

 

A72. Radon gas has been identified as the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, second only to cigarette smoking, and it is estimated to be responsible for the deaths of more than 20,000 people annually.

 

 

  • * Q73. I have a new construction home, should I still test for Radon?

 

A73. Yes. The age of a home will not be a factor in high Radon levels in a home. Newer homes may still have high levels (and in fact, may have higher levels) since older homes are draftier and today’s new construction homes are built tighter than in the past. This will make it much less likely the gas will escape through cracks and drafts.

 

 

  • * Q74. My home is on a slab or crawl space, do I still need to worry about Radon?

 

A74. Yes. Since Radon comes from our soil, it breaches the home through your crawlspace floor drain, sump pit, foundation cracks, sinks, showers, and all other building envelope penetrations. The amount of radon that escapes from the soil to enter the house depends on the weather, soil porosity, soil moisture, and the suction within the house.

 

Check out this graphic:

 

 

 

  • * Q75. I’ve got granite and marble countertops, should I be worried about Radon gas?

 

A75. No. Not really.

 

According to the EPA, it is possible, but not likely and current data is inconclusive. I don’t worry about granite or marble as a source of Radon gas and advise my clients to feel the same.

 

 

  • * Q76. If Radon gas comes from the soil, why don’t I get sick when I go outside?

 

A76. This is an interesting question. Radon moves out of the ground and dilutes to harmless levels in the atmosphere. There’s too much room outside to get sick.

 

 

  • * Q77. Another house in my neighborhood was tested and the results came back low; doesn’t that mean my results should also be low?

 

A77. No. The levels of Radon gas is limited to the ground the home is sitting on and varies widely from area to area.

 

As a matter of fact, I once heard a story about a situation where 2 homes that were next-door neighbors were each tested for Radon gas.

 

One came back 2.2 pCi/L. and the other came back at 22 pCi/L. This is obviously a huge difference when the homes were just a short distance from each other and also proof that levels tested at homes on the same street or neighborhood play no part in what the results may be in your perspective home.

 

 

[] Q78. How much does it cost to test for Radon?

 

A78. On average, you can expect to invest between $20 and $130 for radon testing.

 

The $20 do-it-yourself test consists of a charcoal canister that you hang from the ceiling in the lowest livable space in the home and leave as long as possible (1 full year is preferred). Since the purchase price also includes a postage paid envelope and the cost of lab testing, you simply mail it to the lab when it’s time and wait for the results. In most cases, the results return in about a week.

 

Usually for $110-$130 you can get an electronic 48-hour radon test. These are ideal for real estate transactions because they have a quick turnaround and prevent tampering by home sellers by measuring for:

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Temperature

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Humidity

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Barometric Pressure

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Tilt

 

This means they detect any unusual readings of radon, temperature and humidity caused by opening the surrounding windows.

 

Tilt and power sensors detect if the monitor is moved to a different location. Hourly barometric pressure readings will even help detect unusual radon averages due to extreme weather conditions. All data is reviewed for any sign of suspected tampering by a team of trained professionals.

 

This all spells the most reliable and accurate readings you can have.

 

 

[] Q79. Where can I go to learn more about Radon?

 

A79. To get the most reliable information on Radon, I recommend visiting the Environmental Protection Agency’s Radon website.

 

 

  • * Q80. The sellers of the home will be moving out after the inspection. Will it be a good idea to drop off the Radon monitor during that time?

 

A80. No. If you know the sellers will be moving out during the days following the home inspection (and propping open exterior doors while moving furniture), then the Radon test will need to be performed around their schedule and closed-house conditions will be possible.

 

In fact, it’s probably best if you were to schedule the Radon test to be dropped off 2 days PRIOR to the home inspection so that you’ll have the Radon results and the home inspection results back to you on the same day and the sellers move will not interfere with your inspection period.

 

 

[]Termite Questions

 

  • * Q81. I’ve got a new construction home, should I get a termite inspection?

 

A81. Probably not. Let me explain.

 

New home builders must treat the property for termites at the time of construction.

 

So with that, I would say ‘No’ to the question.

 

However, certain loan programs require a termite letter as a part of their loan package, regardless of when the treatment was performed.

 

So in that case, I would have to say ‘Yes’.

 

Not an easy answer, I know, so the best answer is to ask your loan officer if they require a termite inspection and then follow their direction.

 

 

  • * Q82. Can you give me some pointers on how to check for termites after I move into my home?

 

A82. Sure. This is always a smart ongoing maintenance check to do as you go on living in a home, but if you know you have termites (or any other wood destroying insect) in your home call a professional pest control company so they can treat it before the damages get worse.

 

Also, if you live in a cold winter climate this is best done during the spring and summer months since they will be more active and easier to find.

 

Another thing to remember is that inspection methods vary with the type of wood destroying insects you have in your area. These insects range from Dry wood termites to Formosan or Subterranean termites and from Carpenter Ants (or even the Carpenter Bees) to Powder Post Beetles.

 

Lastly, there’s places where you can find a combination of these guys. Like Subterranean termites and Carpenter Ants together. These have different inspection methods and leave behind different clues.

 

As a result, these pointers are general in nature and don’t address a specific type of wood destroying insect (WDI) or wood destroying organism (WDO).

 

Whew! OK, let’s get going…

 

First, grab a flashlight and long screwdriver. These are your tools. Your screwdriver is for resonance testing (banging on wood to listen for a hollow sound) and stabbing any areas you might think has termites. If you also have a crawlspace or cellar you may want to put on your weekend work clothes because you’ll end up getting dirty before you’re done.

 

Next, start on the outside of the home. Pick a direction and stick with it; Right to left, or left to right. It doesn’t matter, but use your front porch as the starting point and look for signs of previous termite treatment in the front porch concrete (drill holes).

 

Disturb all mulch and wood that is in contact with the soil as you walk around your home. Get behind any bushes and get a look at all areas of your foundation wall. Look for mud tubes, blistered wood, and pellets.

Look at your garage door frame for mud tubes and blistered wood. Look at any walkways for drill holes (sign of previous termite treatment) and if you have bait traps around your home, open and check those, too.

 

Once you’re inside your home start at the front door and check the walls, ceiling, baseboards, and windows. Look for termite wings, bodies, frass (piles of sawdust), mud, blistered wood, etc. Open all exterior doors and check for wood decay at bottom of doors and door frames.

 

In the garage, walk around the perimeter checking for signs of previous treatment and looking closely at the concrete walls, garage door frame, and expansion joints for mud tubes.

 

Go into the attic and check your gable vents for swarmer wings, pellets, and emergence holes.

 

If you have a basement or crawlspace start at the ceiling and work your way down to the floor. You’re going to make 4 passes. The first pass you’re looking at the rim joist, main beam and support posts; the second pass you’ll look at the first two feet of floor joists in from the foundation wall; the third pass you’ll look at the rest of the floor joists, and the fourth pass you’ll look at the foundation wall and floor. Again look at the walls and floor for signs of previous termite treatment.

 

Pay particular attention to areas of rot and moisture damage and areas between sistered joists.

 

Expect this to take about 1 hour to perform. Do this every year.

 

 

[]Mold Questions

 

  • * Q83. I’m buying a foreclosed property that has mold in the basement. Should I have the mold tested or should I just rip it out?

 

A83. Good question.

 

First, if you can see mold or your home has a musty or earthy odor then you have mold. There is no need to test. Just get rid of it. Knowing what kind of mold you have does not eliminate the need to remove the moldy areas. This leads us to my next two points:

 

Find the source of moisture and repair it, if possible.

 

In my experience a foreclosed property has been minimally maintained and many times any mold present is due to the home being vacant and the air conditioner or furnace not being used. When this is the case (as it often is during the muggy summer months) the home traps heat and moisture and mold develops in corners and dark spots. Therefore, if the area of mold is small (less than 10 sq. feet) and just on the surface then it’s safe to clean it or remove the affected drywall yourself. In addition, I always recommend not re-building the areas until after the furnace and air conditioner will be running or a dehumidifier will be installed. This will reduce the chances of having to go through all of this again.

 

However, if the mold is a result of a plumbing leak then this can be a serious problem. Again, first you need to find and repair the leak. Next, you need to figure out how much mold is present. Depending on where the leak has occurred, you may have to remove wall coverings and insulation. Do it. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. At this point you dry out the areas, see what damage has been done, and repair the damage. Again, hold off on putting the damaged areas back together until after the HVAC system is running or a dehumidifier is installed.

 

So when should you do a mold test? You test for mold when you are getting sick and can’t figure out the reason or you cannot locate the source of the mold and want to pinpoint its location.

 

 

  • * Q84. How do I know when I can rip out the moldy areas myself or when I have to call a professional remediation company?

 

A84. According to the EPA,

 

In most cases, if the moldy area is less than about 10 square feet (less than roughly a 3 ft. by 3 ft. patch) you can handle the job yourself.  However, if you have health concerns, consult a health professional before starting.

 

If there has been a lot of water damage, and/or mold growth covers more than 10 square feet, consult the EPA’s A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home.  Although focused on schools and commercial buildings, this document is applicable to other building types.

If you choose to hire a contractor to do the cleanup, make sure the contractor has experience cleaning up mold.  Inexperience or recklessness in this area can do almost as much harm as good if the mold spores get spread throughout the home (especially if your furnace or air conditioner is running). Check references and ask the contractor to follow the recommendations provided in the EPA’s A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home.

If you do suspect the heating/ventilation/air conditioning (HVAC) system may be contaminated with mold, consult the EPA’s guide; Should You Have the Air Ducts in Your Home Cleaned? before attempting to clean it up. Again, be sure not to run the HVAC system if you know or suspect that it is contaminated with mold – it could spread mold throughout your home.

 

Oh, and lastly, if the water and/or mold damage was caused by sewage or other contaminated water, then call in a professional who has experience cleaning and fixing buildings damaged by contaminated water.

 

 

  • * Q85. Do mold remediation companies need to be licensed, certified professionals?

 

A85. No. Federally Regulated protocols for mold inspections, mold testing, mold sampling, and mold remediation have yet to be established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, OSHA or any other federal agency.

 

So do your due diligence when choosing a mold mitigation company and don’t be surprised if you have some questionable looking characters show up at your door.

 

 

[] Q86. What types of mold tests are there?

 

A86. There are 2 types of mold tests:

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Complete: The complete mold inspection is similar to a home inspection in its scope, but is specifically searching the home for mold or conditions which could lead to mold.

 

The complete mold inspection also involves moisture, temperature, and humidity measurements along with at least 4 mold samples (2 outside and 2 inside)

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Limited: This a mold inspection which is limited to a specific area of the home. It’s the test most normally performed when we can see existing mold and need to test for it.

 

The limited mold inspection also involves at least 2 mold samples for the area of concern.

 

 

 

[] Q87. What will it cost me to get the mold tested?

 

A87. Costs vary, but an average investment for a complete mold inspection is $225 for the inspection and $125 per sample.

 

So a Complete mold inspection with 4 mold samples would cost $225 + $500 = $725.

 

Costs for a limited mold inspection will usually cost $125 per sample or a minimum investment of $250.

 

 

  • * Q88. What if I think there’s mold in my house, but I can’t see it? What should I do?

 

A88. That’s precisely the ideal situation to get a complete mold inspection.

 

The mold inspector will closely scrutinize your home inside and out for all conditions which could lead to mold and any areas where mold currently exists. The inspector will also take mold samples to ensure there are no concealed elevated moisture levels within your home.

 

 

  • * Q89. What’s the difference between a mold testing company and a mold remediation company?

 

A89. A mold testing company tests for mold. A mold remediation company removes the mold and all affected areas.

 

 

  • * Q90. If a home I’m buying has mold, should I just walk away?

 

A90. Not necessarily. Please refer to Q96. Be sure to get bids on the proper repair work. If the numbers still work after you’ve put them all together, this could still be a sound investment.

 

 

  • * Q91. I’m already 5 days into my 10 day inspection period. If I wanted to get mold testing done, how long would it take to get the results back?

 

A91. Most mold testing results usually have a 48-hour turn-around time. You’d still have time to get them back before your inspection period runs out.

 

 

[] Chinese Drywall Question

 

[] Q92. What is Chinese Drywall? Should I be concerned?

 

A92.Chinese Drywall refers to tainted drywall imported from China which
corrodes copper and metal surfaces, often gives off a foul odor, and can make you sick.

 

There have been a few reports that homes built by large, national builders (like Pulte Homes) may have this Chinese drywall installed, leaving some room for concern.

 

How would you know if you’re buying a home with this drywall?

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Does the home smell like rotten eggs or ammonia?

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Is it more noticeable when entering your home and then seems to dissipate?

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Chinese drywall corrodes electrical wiring.  Check the electrical receptacles in your walls to see if the wires are blackened. Do this by pulling off the electrical cover plate and looking inside.

 

Chinese drywall is also friable, which means very small particles can easily dislodge with very little trouble, making them easy to enter our lungs.  For this reason, even after Chinese drywall is removed from your home, the toxic particulate will likely remain unless properly removed.

 

 

[] Energy Efficiency Questions

 

  • * Q93. I’m buying an older home and want to find out how energy efficient it is. Is there some sort of inspection or test available to show me how efficient it is?

 

A93. Yes, it’s called an energy audit. A home energy audit is the first step to assess how much energy your home consumes and to evaluate what measures you can take to make your home more energy efficient.

 

An audit will show you problems that may, when corrected, save you significant amounts of money over time.

 

During the audit, it will become possible to pinpoint where your house is losing energy and determine the efficiency of your home’s heating and cooling systems. It may also show you ways to conserve hot water and electricity.

 

You can perform a simple energy audit yourself, or have a professional energy auditor carry out a more thorough audit. An energy audit is not just a good idea for older homes (30+years), but for any home that could squeeze a little more efficiency from its systems and components.

 

 

  • * Q94. Where can I get information about the best energy efficiency upgrades to make for my older home?

 

A94. The Green Home Guide (www.greenhomeguide.com) has some excellent information about the “9 Ways to Make Your Home More Energy Efficient.” Check out all 9 here: [+ 9 Ways to Make Your Home More Energy Efficient+]

 

 

  • * Q95. How much does it cost to get my home examined for its energy efficiency?

 

A95. This is something that will vary by area and you’ll also want to shop for prices since they do vary, but for the most part, the cost for a complete home energy efficiency audit will be in the ballpark of $300.

 

 

[]Older Home Questions

 

  • * Q96. I’ve lived in my home for 15 years now and my husband just passed away. I know I need to keep up with the home maintenance, but should I call a contractor or home inspector?

 

A96. A home inspector. A contractor is trained in a specific area while a home inspector is perfectly trained for this purpose. They will give you an idea of how the entire home is performing.

 

 

  • * Q97. I live in an older home, do you have any advice on the best way to keep up with ongoing maintenance?

 

A97. Absolutely. See Q59.

 

In addition, a home energy audit may be particularly well suited for your situation. Older homes lose energy as they age; losing it in their doors, windows, attic, walls, and appliances, and more.

 

Is a home energy audit worth the investment? Absolutely. It’s not uncommon for a homeowner to reduce their utility bill up to 30% with their new energy improvements (and since most Americans spend around $2500 per year on utilities this translate into a savings of almost $500 per year).

 

The information revealed in a home energy audit is much different than a Home Maintenance Checkup because it’s focusing specifically on energy items. For example, a home energy audit will specifically address:

 

*
p<>{color:#000;}. How much your home costs to operate

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Its indoor air quality

*
p<>{color:#000;}. The efficiency of the heating and cooling systems

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Energy loss of the building envelope (everything inside the “skin” of the home)

*
p<>{color:#000;}. It can even include the use of an infrared camera to uncover invisible energy loss

*
p<>{color:#000;}. And what can be done to save energy and protect the environment

 

 

[] First Time Buyer Questions

 

  • * Q98. I’m a first time buyer, but I don’t have a lot of money for an inspection even though I need one. Can you help me, Steve?

 

A98. Absolutely. See Q60 and you’ll find out that we can still make sure you don’t buy a money pit, but for a bare minimum investment.

 

However, as a buyer-client, I need to make sure you understand the scope of the inspection so there are no misunderstandings or frustrations later if a problem develops in an area we didn’t check.

 

This inspection ONLY involves the inspection of the 5 areas listed below.

 

1.      Roof Structure (including attic space)

2. Electrical System

3. Foundation

4. Plumbing

5. HVAC

 

This inspection is a good idea for you if you have no concerns for the remaining areas of the home or the concerns that you have are limited to those 5 areas.

 

As long as you understand that the windows, doors, outlets, ceilings, floors, exterior, drainage, etc. will NOT be inspected and you feel this service will still fit your needs, then this is a great option for you.

 

 

  • * Q99. Ok Steve, I’m paying ‘X’ dollars for this house and now that you know what kind of condition it’s in, can you tell me if this is a good deal?

 

A99. This is not a question a home inspector can answer. I understand the concern, but to be totally objective it’s something only you can answer.

 

In my opinion, whether a house is a good buy is based on several factors, some of them subjective and some of them objective. For example, the subjective factors might be:

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Is this house a good fit for me and my life circumstances?

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Is it close to work?

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Does this house fit within my budget?

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Does it have enough bedrooms and bathrooms?

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Do I have the budget to make any repairs the house needs?

 

And then the objective factors might be:

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. What is the final purchase price of the house?

#
p<>{color:#000;}. How much are any repairs going to cost?

#
p<>{color:#000;}. What are comparable homes selling for?

#
p<>{color:#000;}. How long am I going to be in the home?

 

The answers to these objective factors really help determine if it’s a good investment.

 

You see, if ‘X’ is the purchase price of the home and ‘Y’ is the amount of money you need to immediately put into it for repairs, then X+Y should be less than or equal to what comparable homes are currently selling for.

 

For example, let’s say you’re buying a home with a final purchase price of $110,000. If the home needs $20,000 worth of repairs and comparable homes are currently selling for $120,000, then these objective numbers don’t make it a good investment ($110,000 + $20,000 = $130,000) because you’ll be overspending on the home by $10,000.

 

However, this is where the length of time you’ll live in the home really comes into play. If you plan on living in the home forever, then obviously the numbers don’t matter because you’re never going to sell (hopefully, anyway).

 

But, if you plan on being in the home for 7 years like the average homeowner, then you have 7 years of home appreciation to correct any amount of investment you’ve made which put your home value upside down.

 

In this example, if your neighborhood home values appreciate at an average of 3% a year and you’re overspending on your home by $10,000, then it’ll take less than 3 years for the neighborhood to absorb the investment or to breakeven:

 

Year one: $120,000 × .03 = $3,600 or $123,600 market value

Year two: $123,600 × .03 = $3,708 or $127,308 market value

Year three: $127,308 × .03 = $3819 or $131, 127 market value

 

This leaves you more than 4 years left to equity to enjoy.

 

This is a useful and objective way to determine if your home is a good investment or not.

 

 

 

  • * Q101. Will you provide a 1st time buyer with any extra time or help?

 

A101. Of course. A professional home inspection company worth knowing will always be happy to help all of their clients make an educated home buying decision, particularly if they’re a first-time home buyer.

 

They understand how overwhelming the home sales process can feel and will take as much time as you need and answer all the questions you have (before the end of the inspection) to ensure the condition of your new home is not one of your concerns.

 

Additionally, look for an inspection company that provides free lifetime support for any home improvement/repair question or concern you may have, including the name of any quality contractors they know and trust.

 

 

[] Q100. Would you buy this home if you were me?

 

A100. This is a common question and one that I cannot answer for you.

 

Everyone’s taste is different and everyone’s living situation is different.

 

However, if the question is framed this way, “Do you think this house is in good shape?” or “Can you give me a rough estimate of how much these particular repairs will cost?” Then that is a question I can answer because it relies on the objective information your inspector has just uncovered.

 

The rest of the answer is just simple math.

 

 

  • * Q102. Is there any way I can prepare for the inspection?

 

A102. That’s a great question. Yes, come prepared. Write down any specific questions you can think of and come dressed to follow your inspector around the house (not on the roof, though). Also, bring a camera just in case you want to take pictures and bring a tape measure to measure your furniture, appliances, cars, or window treatments.

 

This is the absolute best way to get the most out of your home inspection.

 

 

 

 

Well, that’s it!

 

Those are the top questions I’ve heard during my 12 year career and I know they’ll shed light on all the important questions and topics you’ll have during your home inspection (and home buying) process.

 

If you don’t see your question listed, feel free to submit it to [email protected]

 

Good luck!

 

[]Bonus Questions:

 

[] B1. Why are home inspections such a mystery?

 

A1. This is an interesting question. I remember when I first got started in the home inspection industry in 2003. I was working in investment banking in NYC and had gone through 9/11 and was ready to leave the rat race and do something I love. In my search, I came across this strange little career that I had never heard of and knew nothing about. As a researched it more and more, I realized it seemed like the perfect fit for me, but I couldn’t always help but wonder,

 

“How in the heck am I going to look at EVERYTHING?”

 

I mean, a house is HUGE and there are just so many parts and pieces and systems and stuff. This is crazy!

 

I guess my point is, many people probably feel the same way I did when thinking about the home inspection process or seeing the inspector walk through the door. Eventually, I realized it’s not so crazy and like everything else, it just takes practice. Lots of practice. In fact, years of practice.

 

Aside from that, it takes one other simple thing: A routine.

 

Every home is inspected the same way every time. Nothing is random. If it wasn’t, things would get missed and there would be no need for home inspectors.

 

Now, every inspector has the liberty to create their own routine. This is not determined by any association (the associations determine WHAT needs to be looked at, not HOW or WHEN). Therefore, these routines are as varied as the number of inspectors in the industry.

 

Which is funny because if you are on the outside looking in, it often seems like the inspector is walking around the house with a definite purpose, but with no clear direction.

 

For example, you may be confused to see your inspector may walk right by your fireplace and not pay it any attention. Or they may go into the basement, look up at the ceiling, and start walking around, but ignore everything outside their flashlight beam.

 

If you’re walking around with them you may be thinking, “What about this crack over here in the corner?”

 

Don’t worry, they’ll get to it. I can promise you it will not get overlooked, but it will happen when he gets to it in his routine.

 

This leads to another very helpful point: If you have questions about something in the home, it’s always easiest and best to keep a tab on it, but wait until the inspector gets to that particular area before you ask them about it (this is also why you should follow them around). This will help keep them focused, which is the point since they’re inspecting your home.

 

 

  • * B2. What’s the #1 most critically important system in every vacant home?

 

A2. The #1 most important system in EVERY vacant home is the plumbing system.

 

Why? For 4 reasons:

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. A home is 5 times more likely to incur water damage than fire damage. When a home becomes vacant and is winterized (the drain lines are formally flushed and filled with anti-freeze), water and drain lines are not used.

 

Therefore, when the system is energized and the water and drain lines are shocked with the sudden surge of water pressure after a long period of not being used, drain lines and their connections may have become brittle and water lines may have split during winter months. The perfect scenario for an unexpected leak.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Water damage due to plumbing and appliance failures (water heating systems failure, freezing pipes, broken washer hoses, toilet overflows, etc.) are the second most frequently filed homeowners’ insurance claim with more than a $7B annual price tag.

 

For example, if the home you’re considering to buy is 10+ years old, there is a real possibility that there may be a leak in the drain line to the street.

 

Therefore, trees in and around the drain line have been getting their water from this leak. If the water is suddenly turned off when the home is vacated, these tree roots must now go searching for their lost water source.

 

And now they end up making their way into your home through your main drain line (with waste sometimes coming up through your basement floor drain). And when you didn’t have a tree root problem in your home 2 weeks earlier, you now have a big tree root problem and the drain line must be cleaned out.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Unknown leaks. When a home is vacant, we have no information about it. Therefore, it’s critically important to search them out so there’s no major unwelcome plumbing surprises after you move in that, if left undiscovered, would develop into a major damage and health problem(through mold growth).

 

This is particularly true of homes on crawlspaces where access is limited and the space is rarely entered.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Mold growth. The high humidity conditions that exist after a water loss create the perfect environment for mold growth, a major source of indoor air problems and subsequent health problems.

 

Once mold takes hold, the subjected area often has to be removed and replaced with new materials. This cost is usually the responsibility of the homeowner since there are over 30 states that don’t have to write mold insurance policies.

 

By the way, where do most plumbing leaks come from? According to the insurance company Safeco:

 

*
p<>{color:#000;}. 30 percent were due to appliance failure;

*
p<>{color:#000;}. 62 percent were due to faulty plumbing systems;

*
p<>{color:#000;}. 8 percent were due to weather.

 

 

  • * B3. What are the 3 things you NEVER want to overlook when buying a vacant or foreclosed home?

 

A3. The 3 things you should NEVER overlook when buying a vacant or foreclosed home are ensuring that the gas, water, and electricity are turned on.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. The Gas: for operating the water heater, furnace, and a fireplace (if installed). Also, a home inspector will not light pilots so you’ll want to make sure the pilot is lit on all appliances at least 24 hours prior to the inspection. This is often the most difficult utility to get turned on.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. The Water: This lets us test all plumbing systems in the home. When a home is vacant a home inspector will turn on the water at all faucets and leave the water running during the entire inspection to ensure they come as close as possible to ensuring that there are no unwelcome plumbing problems after you move in. This is usually the 2nd most difficult utility to get turned on.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. The Electricity: We also need to ensure all electrical components within the home are working properly, including the air conditioning system. This is usually the easiest utility to get turned on.

 

 

  • * B4. What are the 5 major areas in every home and why do they make all the difference between buying your dream home and buying a money pit?

 

A4. Because these 5 areas represent the most expensive and critical areas in every home, and thus its “bones”, they are its major areas, regardless of age or size:

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. The Foundation

#
p<>{color:#000;}. The Roof

#
p<>{color:#000;}. The Plumbing System

#
p<>{color:#000;}. The Electrical System

#
p<>{color:#000;}. The HVAC System (the furnace & a/c).

 

So when it comes to areas that every homebuyer fears will have a problem, it’s these areas which should be closely looked at because these are also the areas that can’t easily be seen and…

 

It’s the things we can’t see that scare us

 

 

  • * B5. If you only had 5 minutes to find a good, professional home inspector, would you know how to choose?

 

A5.That question’s more serious than a house full of hungry kids with only one chicken nugget when you’re placing your trust in the hands of someone you don’t meet until after you’ve already hired them.

 

So how do you choose? 6 things.

 

First and foremost, try to get a referral from someone you trust. There’s nothing like hearing about the experience of a past client.

 

If that’s not possible then make sure:

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. The inspector is a full-time professional.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. The inspector belongs to a professional organization like ASHI™, NAHI®, or Inter NACHI®.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. You understand what is included in the inspection

#
p<>{color:#000;}. The inspector carries Errors & Omissions and General Liability insurance (to protect you and them if the inspector misses something).

#
p<>{color:#000;}. They have good customer reviews

#
p<>{color:#000;}. You get along with them

 

 

 

 

 

  • * “Steve was very easy to talk to, and he knew what he was talking about.”

“Steve was very easy to talk to, and he knew what he was talking about. He was open to questions the entire time of the inspection. This entire experience is memorable, since it is the first home that I have ever bought.”

 

- A. Toloza

 

  • * “…took time to explain what the inspection process was and how to maintain the integrity of the home…”

“Steve was thorough and took time to explain what the inspection process was and how to maintain the integrity of the home going forward. The conversation made for a memorable experience (along with the closeness in our kids ages).”

 

- D. Davis

 

  • * “…interviewed over 30 inspectors in the KC area. Steve was by far the most prompt and professional.”

“I have interviewed over 30 inspectors in the KC area. Steve was by far the most prompt and professional. I have called many times with misc. questions and every time the team at Bulldog makes me feel welcome and gives me a detailed answer.

 

We are real estate investors who need these reports to be very detailed and accurate so we can plan our budget. Thanks to the thorough report provided by Bulldog we are able to know every expense before we buy. They are very honest and fair and made it very personal; they speak with us on a first name basis, and are very open with all communication.”

 

- S. Sutton

 


The Ultimate Consumer Guide To Home Inspections

Nervous? Confused? Uncertain? These are all normal feelings that every home buyer goes through when buying their new home. And rightly so… You’ve negotiated the painful process of gathering staggering amounts of documents so you can voluntarily let a perfect stranger scrutinize your lifestyle in order to get that ever-so-critical 3 oz. piece of single-sided paper: the Pre-Approval Letter. You’ve stayed up late sorting through the notes you’ve taken for all 35 homes you’ve looked at so you don’t kick yourself for putting in an offer too soon and missing out on your perfect home that just so happened to come on the market the very next day. And yesterday you finally found your perfect home and even managed to put in an offer before it got snatched away from you faster than a magician with a tablecloth. And today? Good news! Today your offer was approved and so the plot in this harrowing house hunting mystery now thickens: It’s Time To Order The Home Inspection! Well, it’s still too soon to break out the disco ball and welcome mat for your housewarming party because you’ve got to make sure your dream home is not a money pit in disguise.

  • Author: Steve Rodriguez
  • Published: 2015-09-09 05:20:12
  • Words: 21111
The Ultimate Consumer Guide To Home Inspections The Ultimate Consumer Guide To Home Inspections