Inspecting the home inspector
||Inspect Before You Buy: Insider Secrets You Need to Know About Home Inspection - With Companion CD-ROM (Paperback)
~ Charlie Rose (Author)
This book is for prospective home buyers, real estate investors, and those interested in starting their own home inspection business. Home inspections are an important step in the home-buying process. Everyone agrees that you should use a home inspection service before buying a home. Home inspectors conduct a thorough examination of your home to detect any problems before you purchase. A detailed home inspection usually takes a few hours, and you get a written report.
But there are two problems: first the cost a good home inspection can cost several hundred dollars depending on the size of the house. And who has extra money when you are trying to afford a new home? Second, they are not flawless mistakes are made. It is difficult to test everything in a house in just a couple of hours. No one will examine a house like the prospective owner.
Now you can be armed with the right information and save a lot of money and time. Through explanations, the experiences of others, and dozens of forms and checklists you will learn all about:
Foundations: floors, walls, paint, windows, decks, garage doors, roofing, flashings, chimneys,
Plumbing: piping, fixtures, faucets, water heating and fuel storage systems, pools and equipment,
Wiring: main service panels, conductors, switches, receptacles, heating, air conditioning and heat pumps, ceilings,
Floors: railings, doors and windows, attics, walls, foundations, kitchens, and bathrooms.
In addition you will gain valuable information about: septic systems, wells, water quality testing, mold, radon testing, asbestos, termites, carbon monoxide testing, and lead testing.
The right to have inspections comes with the challenge of hiring diligent and competent inspectors. Finding
the right Home Inspector isn't as easy as it may seem because in most states, just about anyone with an official-
looking checklist and a flashlight can set up shop as a home inspector. The exception to this home inspector free-for-all is
that special training is required to perform inspection or remediation work for such potentially hazardous
materials as asbestos and lead-based paint.
A professional home inspection by gives everyone involved a better understanding of the physical condition
of a home, enabling smarter decisions and greater piece of mind .
In the past, home inspections were unheard of in residential real estate sales. Buyers simply relied on their
own impressions of the home and the representations of the seller's real estate agent. Today, the process is
dramatically different. Most real estate purchase contracts give the buyer fairly broad rights to order one
or more professional inspections of the home before completing the purchase.
Benefits of a Home Inspection
- More accurate pricing based on a professional inspection of a home's
- The identification of any potential problems before a home goes on
the market - and a chance
to make repairs.
- A written report that supports full disclosure, which facilitates the sales process.
- Smoother negotiations because everyone is aware of a home's assets and defects, making it
easier to arrive at a purchasing price acceptable to everyone.
- Increased comfort levels for all parties about the buying decision and purchase price.
- Less chance of buyers remorse due to major repairs after purchase.
A Home inspection Inspections is a great way to add the confidence and trust that
makes everyone happier with their home transaction.
A good real estate agent should be willing and able to recommend several well-qualified home inspectors. The
tricky part is selecting the best candidates among the group. Here are six of the many factors to consider:
1. Qualifications. Ask open-ended questions about the inspector's training and experience as it relates to home
inspections. The inspector should have some training in construction and building maintenance standards and a
track-record of experience in the home inspection business. Depending on the location and age of the home, you
may need to hire an inspector who's qualified to deal with asbestos, lead-based paint or other potentially
hazardous substances. You may also need to hire a geologist or structural engineer.
2. Scope. Ask the inspector which components of the property are -- and are not -- included in their inspection.
Will the inspector check out the roof? How about the
swimming pool? The
3. Sample report. Ask the inspector to provide a sample of their checklist or inspection report. Does the report
include a narrative description or just check-off boxes? Is the information presented and explained clearly and
completely? Does the report highlight any problems that could present a safety hazard?
4. References. Ask the inspector for the names and telephone numbers of several homeowners who have used their
services. Call those people and ask them whether they were satisfied with the report and other services they
received. Be sure to talk to some people who have owned their home for a few months or longer. Some problems
overlooked by an inspection can take a while to materialize.
5. Memberships. Many good inspectors don't belong to a national or state association of home inspectors.
However, all else being equal, an association membership is often a plus. These groups provide their members
with training and certification programs and up-to-date information about industry practices and inspection
6. Errors and omissions. Even top-notch inspectors are only human and can make errors or overlook problems they
probably should have noticed. Ask about the company's policy in such situations. Does the company have
insurance for errors and omissions? Does the company or individual inspector stand behind the report? Many
companies ask customers to sign a waiver limiting the company's liability to the cost of the inspection.
Whether you are buying or selling a home, you should have a professional home inspection performed.
If you are buying a home, you need to know exactly what you are getting. A home inspection, performed by a professional home
inspector, will reveal any hidden problems with the home so that they may be addressed BEFORE the sale is closed. You should
require an inspection at the time you make a
formal purchase offer.
Make sure the contract has an inspection contingency. Then, hire your own inspector and pay close attention to the inspection
report. If you are not comfortable with what he finds, you should cancel the sale.
Likewise, if you are selling a home, you want to know about such potential hidden problems before your house goes on the market.
Almost all contracts include the condition that the contract is contingent upon completion of a satisfactory inspection.
And most buyers are going to insist that the inspection be a professional home inspection, usually by an inspector they hire.
If the buyers inspector finds a problem, it can cause the buyer to get cold feet and the deal can often fall through. At best,
surprise problems uncovered by the buyers inspector will cause delays in closing, and usually you will have to pay for repairs
at the last minute, or take a lower price on your home. It's better to pay for your own inspection before putting your home on
the market. Find out about any hidden problems and correct them in advance. Otherwise, you can count on the buyers inspector
finding them, at the worst possible time.
Purpose of a Home Inspection
A home inspection usually takes place when a home is placed on the market (at time of listing) or when an offer has been put on
the house (usually within ten days from the date the contract was accepted). A home inspection is an objective visual examination,
of readily accessible areas, of the physical structure and the systems of the home.
The purpose of the inspection is to inform the buyer or the seller on the condition of the home so they will have a better
understanding of the home before purchasing or putting the home on the market.
What is Inspected:
Major Systems and Components
Let the home inspector know if the home has special inspection needs.
Buyers Should always Attend the Inspection:
One of the biggest mistakes made during the inspection process is not having the buyers at the home during the entire inspection.
This significantly increases the chance of a misunderstanding, overstating or understating what the inspector found during the
inspection; which may lead to a complicated closing, blown deal, or even a lawsuit. The inspection is the buyer's time to learn
everything about the condition of the house, how the systems operate, and also maintenance tips and cost saving ideas.
If you own a fireplace, it is important to get your chimney
cleaned at least once a year. Proper chimney and fireplace maintenance will prevent dangers like fires or carbon monoxide poisoning
and keep you home and your family safe.
As fires burn, smoke goes up the chimney. Some of that smoke condenses in creosote on the flue -- the inner surface of the chimney.
Creosote, a hard tar-like substance, builds up over time. When a thick coat of creosote catches fire, you get a chimney fire, a
powerful and frightening inferno that can be as loud as a low flying jet. Chimney fires are often so hot that nearby walls and
rafters burst into flame. The fire spreads so fast that firefighters often arrive too late to save any of the home. Not all
chimney fires are loud roaring events, but quiet ones can be just as dangerous. The extremely high temperatures associated with
chimney fires cause cracks to form in the flue and chimney. Carbon monoxide is generated anywhere fuel is burned, including your
fireplace, woodstove or furnace. Normally, these deadly fumes
up the chimney. But if the chimney starts to leak, the fumes may be drawn back into the home. Proper chimney maintenance and care,
including routine chimney sweeps, will an important part of preventing chimney fires.
Carbon monoxide is a sneaky poison. The odorless colorless gas can be lethal. The human body treats it as if it were oxygen.
Quickly distributed throughout the body, the poison has the biggest effect on the brain. Children can sustain brain damage with
low levels of exposure. Symptoms mimic the common cold, so most people are unaware they are being poisoned. More extensive
exposure leads to vomiting, nausea and, eventually, death. The good news is that your fireplace can continue to be a source of
safe pleasure if you stick to a simple maintenance schedule. Have your chimney cleaned regularly and inspected by a chimney sweep
trained in chimney inspection.
How Often Should Chimney Sweeps Occur?
The Chimney Safety Institute recommends that if you light fires in your fireplace or woodstove three or more times a
week during the heating season, proper maintenance would include
cleaning and inspecting the chimney once a year. If you burn
unseasoned wood (wood that is still a bit wet or green), twice-a-year cleaning and inspection may be necessary.
If I Keep a Small Fire Regularly, Should I Have Chimney Sweeps More Often?
Most of the creosote build-up occurs when the fire is first lit. A cold chimney causes much more of the smoke to condense on the
chimney flue. Therefore, a continuous fire will usually foul a chimney more slowly than many separate fires.
How Much Does a Chimney Sweep and Inspection Cost?
Typically, a chimney inspection will run about $30-$50. A chimney sweep goes for about $60 to $130, depending on the difficulty
level. However, major chimney repairs can cost thousands of dollars. Most major chimney problems can be prevented with regular
What Is a Chimney Liner?
Nearly all new chimneys have chimney liners. Chimney liners may be made of metal, tile or cement and create a smooth, airtight
path up your chimney. By increasing the distance between heat and combustible surfaces like rafters, chimney liners can provide
an extra level of protection from chimney fires. They also help prevent water from getting into the masonry work, where it can freeze and cause permanent damage to your chimney. Many efficient furnaces require chimneys
with precisely sized chimney liners.
Do I Need to Clean My Furnace Flue?
Yes. Whenever you have your chimney cleaned, have the furnace flue cleaned at the same time. While furnace flues are typically
less susceptible to creosote build-up, they do get fouled with sulfur and chlorine. Allowed to accumulate, these chemicals
combine to form a powerful acid that eats away at the flue.
Old World Chimney Sweep 209-951-2832 Master Sweep N-Clean 209-367-0443
O'Tooles Chimney Sweep 209-478-1928
Old London Chimney Sweep 209-858-1248
A home warranty generally covers all the mechanical components of the home, depending upon the coverage obtained.
Roof Inspections and Reports
Would you go out in the rain with a defective umbrella? - then why ignore the condition of your roof ? So many people do though
until its too late & water damage has occurred. Most people when questioned about this attitude actually knew that their roof
was in poor order but decided to ignore the fact - out of site out of mind seems to be a common theme.
Termite and Pest Control Inspections and Reports
Homeowners are usually reluctant to admit to potential buyers that their homes have been damaged by termites. For some people,
the mere mention of the words "termite damage" conjures up images of tiny insects with very big teeth dining on
weight-bearing wood beams until a home collapses in a heap of sawdust. Thankfully, this is not usually the case.