Questions to ask your Home Inspector

How does it work?

Most Inspectors will show you where the main components are and how to operate them. Typical items such as the main water shut off valve and the main electrical shut off and breaker panel. HVAC systems require maintenance as well as the plumbing and roof systems. Your inspector can point out these items and explain typical maintenance requirements.

Is it really as old or bad as it looks?

Inspections are based on facts. If it looks old, it probably is. Many mechanical components in homes have data plates or tags that may or may not be readable or legible. Now it becomes the “opinion” of the inspector as to its age. What may look like a major costly repair to you could be just a cosmetic issue in the inspectors mind. Many items have life expectancies and your inspector may call it out just based on age, sometimes, that straightforwardness makes it hard for you, the home’s buyer, to understand what a big deal is and what so much isn’t. All this information is what you need to know whether to move forward with the deal, whether to renegotiate and what to plan ahead for.

Can you show me?

During the inspection your inspector will be busy collecting data, crawling through spaces and doing laps around the perimeter. You take this time to visualize where your new sofa will go and wonder will it be too big for this room. Soon you realize somewhere the inspector is inputting data and you had a question. If the inspector is finished he/she should take 10 or 15 minutes and walk you through the place, pointing out all the items they’ve noted need repair, maintenance or further inspection.  When you get the report, then, you’ll know what and where the various items belong. Also, choose an inspector who takes digital pictures and inserts them into each section of their reports!

If you were to buy this, what would you do first and how soon?

Our job as inspectors is to point out all items in need of upgrade or repair to include maintenance and routine time lines for future inspections and possible failures.

But, no home is perfect.  What should you do if something is at the end of its useful life? My opinion may be “Do nothing until it breaks”. That could be today or 6 months from now. Point is, we can’t predict a failure, but we can prepare. We can give you a better understanding of what does and doesn’t need to be repaired, how to repair in order of importance, and how a home warranty can be a big help during the buying process to protect your money in the long run.

Can you refer me to someone to fix it?

Most home inspectors will probably tell you that you can fix some things yourself. This may help minimize the laundry list of repairs at the end of an inspection report to know that a number of them are really DIY-type.  Even uncomfortable Buyers feel empowered to either (a) watch a few YouTube videos that show them how it’s done, or (b) hire a handyperson to do these small fixes, knowing they shouldn’t be too costly.

And even on the larger repairs, your home inspector might be able to give you a few referrals to the plumbers, electricians or roofers you’ll need to get bids from during your contingency period, which you may be able to use to negotiate with your home’s seller, and to get the work done after you own the place. And same goes for any further inspections they recommend – if neither you nor your agent knows a specialist, ask your home inspector for a few referrals.

 

When do I need a Home Inspector

When do I need a Home Inspector? Do some research. While you may have already decided on looking for a new home, why not start your search for a home inspector as well. Referrals work well, I still recommend checking credentials as well as experience. If you can not get a referral, many sites offer services you may need and, they already did your homework and checked the credentials.

If your buying a home, once you have reached an accepted offer, you can now get your inspection scheduled. Most contracts give you a 10 day inspection window where others may only have 7 days. Check with your Realtor agent.

Pest inspections or Wood Destroying Organism Inspections may be required by your lender.

If you need one of three insurance inspections as per requirement, before  a new policy or renewal, contact an inspector right away to get on the schedule. Most inspection companies can accommodate insurance inspections within 48 hours. These inspections are as listed; Wind Mitigation Verification reports, Four Point Insurance Inspections and Roof Certification reports. All must be performed by a qualified Licensed Inspector on approved forms.

Anyone wishing to put their home on the market would benefit from a pre sale inspection. A pre sale would give you the edge, knowing what the issues are before listing. Many items found during a pre sale inspection could be corrected and minimize the repairs or conditional requests from potential buyers. Most buyers who purchase a home with a pre sale inspection will waive the inspection period, resulting in a quicker sale.

11 month warranty inspections can be ordered within the 11th month. These inspections cover all aspects of the home 11 months after build to avoid an out of warranty issue.

 

Should I be at the Home Inspection?

Should I be there for the Home Inspection?
You are not required to be there for the home Inspection. However I recommend that you be present. It’s a valuable learning experience for most people and will help you get the most benefit from the home Inspection. By following your home inspector you can ask questions directly and the home inspector can explain maintenance tips for specific areas. I feel you will be able to better understand the finished home inspection report and get the most benefit from it by having attended the home Inspection. I will not leave the property until you are satisfied I have answered all of your questions.

Can I just do the home inspection myself?
Chances are that even If you happen to be very familiar with home construction, you still do not have the knowledge, training and experience of a professional Home Inspector. I have inspected thousands of homes. I are not only familiar with all of the systems and components of a home, how they work and need to be maintained, but I also know what to look for warning signs for potential problems. But beyond the technical expertise and experience a professional home Inspector brings, it is important to remember that the home inspector remains an impartial third party. If you are involved in buying or selling a house, it’s impossible for you to remain completely unemotional about the house, and this may cloud your good judgment. As your professional home inspector I will provide unbiased, objective reporting of the facts.

 

Home Inspections

What is a Home Inspection? A home Inspection is a professional, complete visual examination of the all of the systems and physical structural elements of a home. My emphasis is on identifying existing or potential problems that would affect a purchaser’s buying decision, or provide them with information they can use to their advantage when negotiating with the sellers.

Why do I need a Home Inspection? A home is by far, the largest purchase most people will ever make. Learning as much as possible about the house you are interested in before you make that final financial commitment only makes sense. You can avoid costly repairs and problems with your new home if you are informed about all of these problems prior to making the huge financial commitment. Our thorough, accurate home inspection report will also advise you of what maintenance is required to keep your home in top condition for many years to come. A home inspection by a certified, professional home inspector will give you a clear picture of the many systems, components and structural elements that make up the property. If you are selling your home, a listing home Inspection will point out any problems that might be uncovered later by the buyer’s home inspector. Discovering them early will give you the opportunity to address them before listing your home, in preparation for a quicker and smoother sale.

What does a Home Inspection Include? My home inspections cover all of the major systems, components, and structural elements of the house such as ceilings, windows, walls, floors, doors electrical, plumbing, HVAC, roof, structure, grade and drainage plus a visual mold and wood destroying insect inspection. Items cosmetic in nature are not reported, but may be discussed. Maintenance is an ongoing part of home ownership and will be discussed throughout the inspection.

How long will the Home Inspection take?
The time will vary depending on the size, condition and age of the home. For most homes, 2 – 3 hours Is an average time. I will not leave the property until my client has exhausted all questions and feels comfortable with my inspection.

What is the cost of a home inspection? Costs vary depending on size and additional services that may be needed. Check my pricing blog or my website for a list of prices and services.

Roof Certification

What is a Roof Certification? A roof certification is a visual inspection to determine the age and condition as required by the Insurance Industry. A basic inspection takes a few minutes and is required to be accompanied by several photos.

All roofs must be in good condition with no damage including curled or missing shingles, or visible signs of leaking to be eligible for homeowners insurance coverage. Additionally, all roofs, regardless of age, must have at least three (3) years of useful life remaining.

Sometimes a roof can naturally reach the end of its useful life without experiencing a roof failure. It just looks old and worn, and you are doing preventive maintenance on your home. If replacing an old roof is delayed, however, it could result in bigger problems down the road. So watch for the warning signs to be sure to give yourself plenty of time to add the project to your TO DO list.

Potential signs that your roof may need to be replaced:

    • Shingle edges are curled or shingle tabs are cupped
    • Bald spots where granules are missing
    • Cracked shingle
    • Your roof is at least 20 years old; while many shingles today are produced for durability, many factors can accelerate the aging of shingles. For example, if your roof is not properly ventilated, it can negatively impact your shingle
    • Neighbors are getting new roofs. Homes built around the same time period can experiencing the same types of weather conditions can mean that your roof is nearing its useful life
    • The roof just looks old and worn
    • Dark streaks. Airborne algae cause dark streaks on roof decks. While this may not necessarily harm the roof shingles, it may not look good. Algae streaks can be removed using a 50:50 blend of water and bleach sprayed on your roof. It is important to use a low volume garden hose so you do not knock the protective granules off your shingles. It is also important that you protect your landscaping from the bleach run-off
    • Moss. Moss can grow on roof surfaces that don’t get much sunlight especially in cool, moist climates. Moss growth can be more than a cosmetic issue. Moss holds moisture against the roof surface and overtime in freezing climates can cause damage to the granules on the top of the shingles. Moss can be brushed off but it won’t prevent it from growing again; take care not to damage the shingle surface. You may need to contact a professional roofing contractor.

 

 

 

4 Point Insurance Inspection

What is a 4 point Insurance Inspection?

Usually, a four point will be required if the home is 25 years or older, regardless if it’s a new policy or one that may be up for renewal.

What the Inspection Covers

This type of inspection covers four basic areas: Heating, ventilation and air conditioning or HVAC, Electrical, plumbing, and roof. Any of these components could be a potential source of a home owner’s insurance claim. If they’re in good condition, the insurer can feel more confident about issuing a policy. Otherwise, the Insurer can request failed components be updated prior to issuing the new policy.

What can be a red flag during a four point inspection?

Over the years, building techniques and materials have changed. What was once a new and innovative product 25 years ago may now be todays problems.

What is a 4 point Insurance Inspection?

This type of inspection covers four basic areas: Heating, ventilation and air conditioning or HVAC, Electrical, plumbing, and roof. Any of these components could be a potential source of a home owner’s insurance claim. If they’re in good condition, the insurer can feel more confident about issuing a policy. Otherwise, the Insurer can request failed components be updated prior to issuing the new policy.

What can be a red flag during a four point inspection?

Over the years, building techniques and materials have changed. What was once a new and innovative product 25 years ago, may now be today’s issues.

HVAC Systems; Older systems may still be in use but not energy efficient. Many HVAC systems will last 15 to 20 years. What I find is the a/c component was replaced but the air handler was never serviced or upgraded.

PLUMBING; Polybutylene, usually a gray or white plastic is a form of plastic resin that was used in the manufacture of water supplies from 1978 to 1995. A series of reports have suggested that increased use of choloramines inhibit corrosion to not only the polymers in the plastic but to the metal connections as well. It isn’t inherently bad. It does not make you 100% uninsurable. It will not definitely fail. It does, however, put a homeowner at a potentially higher risk for serious plumbing leaks.

ELECTRICAL SYSTEM; Most homes today are up to date and have approved panels and wiring. This is not the case when it comes to some specific panels and manufacturers.

Federal Pacific Electric Company (FPE) was one of the most common manufacturers of circuit breaker panels in North America from the 1950s to the 1980s. Millions of their panels were installed in homes across the country. Yet, as the years passed, electricians and home inspectors often found Federal Pacific Electric panels failed to provide proper protection to homeowners and their families. Experts now say that FPE panels can appear to work fine for years, but after one over current or short circuit, they can overheat and become fire hazards. I advise upgrading.

ROOFING; There are many options for roofing. Many types have a life expectancy averaging 25 to 40 years. Most problems associated with inspecting for a four point is that the roof has not been updated and many have reached the life expectancy. Here are some life expectancies;

asphalt shingle (3 tab) = 15 to 25 years
asphalt shingle (architectural) = 20 to 40 years
roll roofing = less than 10 years
built-up roofing = 10 to 20 years
single-ply membrane roofing = 10 to 20 years
metal roofing (shingle and sheet) 25 to 50 years
clay and cement tiles = 25 to 50 years

 

 

Wind mitigation verification reports

What is a wind mitigation you ask? Wind mitigation is the implementation of certain building techniques in order to limit damage caused by intense wind.

In Florida, the portion of a homeowner’s premium covering wind damage can be up to 70% of the total, depending on location.

Generally, a wind mitigation inspection is needed to determine which credits apply to a home. During a wind mitigation inspection, a certified inspector looks for key features and add-ons that reduce the amount of damage your home may suffer in the event of a hurricane or strong windstorm.

In summary, wind mitigation is a strategy designed to limit the amount of wind damage inflicted on a structure. Various incentives are in place to motivate homeowners to implement these enhancements, and qualified inspectors can determine which improvements are necessary.

Wind mitigation techniques

A windstorm inspection, also referred to as a windstorm mitigation inspection, windstorm insurance inspection or wind mitigation inspection, is a kind of home inspection common in the coastal areas of the Southeastern United States.