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.

 

New construction home inspections

Do newly constructed homes need Home Inspections? A professional home Inspection of a new home is very important. I can spot potential problems early, while they are still easy to correct. As a qualified home Inspector, I may find problem areas where the sub-contractors have taken shortcuts or have exhibited poor workmanship.

The good news is that hiring a professional licensed home inspector can pay for itself many times over both monetarily and with peace of mind.

New construction homes have many problems. Building a home is a complex orchestration involving many different subcontractors and their employees each working on a different system of the house usually without regard to the other house systems. With all the separate activities occurring at the same time, it is nearly impossible for the builder to carefully check all phases of construction.

The job of municipal building inspectors is to check for compliance with applicable building codes. Building codes are minimum standards. While most municipal building inspectors are doing their best, factors beyond their control prevent these inspections from being enough.

Problems found before you buy can be fixed before moving in to your new home. You won’t have to deal with the dust and noise from repairs, or the inconvenience of having to stay home from work while workers are in your house. While there will likely be some minor touch-ups that will need to take place after you move in, you will want the builder to fix any significant repairs right away.

Defects can be repaired before they result in serious consequences or costly damage. Safety items such as gas leaks need to be addressed to protect you and your family. Missing attic insulation that will result in higher utility bills can be installed. Raised shingles which can lead to rotted roof sheathing can be repaired before purchasing your new home.

When you decide to sell your formerly new home, the buyer will likely get a home inspection. Problems that date back to the original construction will be discovered even if you never knew they existed. At this point, it’s too late to get the builder involved. You now own those problems.

11th Month Warranty Inspection

11th Month Warranty Inspections

An 11th Month Warranty Inspection is conducted specifically to benefit new homeowners that have lived in their residence for slightly less than one year.

Builders and selected subcontractors typically extend a one year warranty to the first/new homeowner covering many aspects of a new home. This warranty will typically cover structural components (including the roof), electrical systems, mechanical systems (including appliances that were furnished as a part of the home), and possibly other structures such as pools, spas, and even landscaping.

Many homeowners forget that their warranty is about to expire, missing the opportunity to have the builder correct defects that they are liable for. Most builders typically do not warn the new homeowner that their warranty period is about to expire.

An 11th Month Warranty Inspection creates a “punch list”, where items that need attention are called out. This punch list might then be discussed with the builder before the warranty period expires. In many cases, items might be discovered during a warranty inspection for which the builder is not responsible (for example, adjustment to a garage door opener installed by the homeowner), but it nevertheless presents a safety hazard that needs attention. Warranty inspections, unlike a real estate buyer’s inspection, might call out cosmetic deficiencies.

If your home is currently under a builder’s warranty that is about to expire, an 11th Month Warranty Inspection is money and time well spent.

11th Month Warranty Inspection 11th Month Warranty Inspection

For a small fraction of what you paid for your new home, a professional home inspection can pay dividends in peace of mind and in helping to identify and correct minor problems before they can become major ones.

 

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.