Home Inspection[s] pros & cons

Page 1 of 2  
I may be buying a home in the near future; it would be less than 10 years old.
Is it a reasonable thing to do, on a somewhat newer home, or should I save the hundreds of dollars?
On it's surface, it seems a prudent thing to do, being that you "might" stumble upon a problem, but I wondered if there were any arguments against...
marc
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Friday, November 22, 2013 10:45:48 AM UTC-5, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

One factor is how experienced you are yourself. If you know a lot about houses, construction, typical problems, etc, then you're in a better position to be able to figure out what may be wrong by yourself. Even new homes can have problems either of their own creation, eg foundation problems, or of the owner's making, eg DIY basement finishing done wrong....
But the way I look at it, in many cases the home inspection winds up being free. The inspector is likely to find enough things wrong that the seller will discount the price a few hundred bucks. And it's more likely the seller will accept the opinion of the inspector vs just the buyer.
The problem of course is finding an inspector that's competent. There are a lot of bad ones out there.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

That is the way I see it too. Try to find a competent inspector.
I bought a house about 9 years ago. I also had a house inspector to look at it. I was there and followed him around to see what he looked at and he mentioned some things while we were walking around. Also got a report after the inspection.
He did a few things I would not have thought of. He put a gallon jug and cought a minuit of water from the bath tub. Then he let it run for a while as we walked around. Still had flow after a while so he said the well should be good enough at a flow of so many gallons per hour.
He found a few minor things, but nothing big enough to bring down the price of the house. He did run the dish washer and it sounded like it was on its way out. That was ok with me as the wife wanted a new stove and frig so we got a new dish washer to match.
When making a major investment, a few hundred may just be good insurance unless you are very familiar with homes and their construction.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 11/22/2013 10:45 AM, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

I've bought two houses in my lifetime and back then, home inspection was not a career that existed. Younger people had dad or a trusted uncle look at the house. Today, inspection is very common and may even be required by the mortgage holder.
If you can find a good inspector, it may be worth the money to find out about the mechanical systems. At 18 years, potential problems may just be showing up as is normal. Three tab shingles that many builders use are good for about 20 years. The inspector can maybe give you a good assessment of the condition so you can plan for it when a roof will be needed. Have the built in appliances been changed out? Good quality appliances last a long time, but builder's special may have been replaced after 10 to 15 years.
Wear on these things is normal but an inspector may find lurking problems that you may not even know to look for.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Ed Pawlowski;3153292 Wrote:

No, that's not true. As a landlord I can buy both GE and Frigidaire builder brand appliances any day of the week. I have the GE and Frigidaire builder appliance sales rep's names and phone numbers in my Windows Cardfile, and I buy 12 cu. ft. builder brand fridges from GE and 24 inch wide ranges from Frigidaire every time I need a new appliance. I find the only difference between the appliances that GE markets under it's own name or under it's Concept II builder's brand name is the finish and the warranty. GE namebrand appliances will have black fridge door handles instead of white ones that don't show the dirt as much. GE namebrand appliances will have a plastic cover over the top freezer door hinge whereas their Concept II models won't have anything. GE namebrand appliances will have a longer warranty on the freon system than Concept II fridges, but they both just have a 1 year warranty on everything else. But, both lines of fridges are put together by the very same people at the very same factory with the very same parts. Really, the only difference is that the builder brand models are meant to be straight forward with only the most popular features, whereas GE markets a dozen or more models of stoves to the general public so that you can get a lot more features by buying a more expensive stove. But, there's much less difference in the name brand and builder brand fridges. The builder brands cost about $150 less for a 12 cubic foot fridge; $475 versus $625 only because GE knows that I buy a fridge or two every year or two. Stoves much less often.
What I would do as a house buyer is visit your city's property tax office. You should find computers there whereby you can type in an address and see a copy of the property tax bill for that address for the past 20 years or so. They do that so that people that are unhappy about their property tax assessments can find out what comparable houses in their neighborhood were assessed at. If you can show that similar or comparable houses in your area have lower property tax bills, they'll lower your property tax bill to the same level.
Look at the bottom of the tax bill. Those things are generated by computers, and they always put the owner's name and mailing address near the bottom so that it will show through the envelope's transparent window so that the City doesn't have to spend money addressing those bills.
I would look at the ownership history of the house, and find out who owned it prior to the previous owner. Then, look in the phone book for his/her name, or people with the same last name that could be relatives, and make contact with him/her. Find out what the previous owner has to say about the house and why he sold it. He no longer owns it, so he has no vested interest in influencing your decision to buy, so you should get reliable information.
Certainly, things deteriorate with time, but if there were any problems with the way the house was built, whether it encroaches on anyone else's land, any problems with water leakage into the basement or sewer back ups, etc. the previous owner should be aware of them.
I'd also take pictures of the house interior and exterior and show them to the previous owner. Any renovations done since the previous owner sold the house could very well have been done by the current owner, and there's a good chance that's where you're going to find problems, especially code violations. The current owner is going to want you to pay top dollar for his renovations, but you might just be paying extra for his learning experience. I renovated an apartment block, and I found that every time I did a particular kind of renovation in a suite, I did it better than the last time. I ended up doing some of the original ceramic tiling I did in bathrooms over again just because the way I was doing them to begin with couldn't compare to the way I ended up doing them, and I was doing it for my own benefit so I didn't mind re-doing them. So, don't pay extra for someone else's learning experience.
--
nestork

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 11/23/2013 4:00 AM, nestork wrote:

Thanks for proving my point. GE and Frigidaire appliances are mediocre quality and may have needed replacement already. I'm very familiar with the fact that different band names are identical as I used to be a supplier to Frigidaire and have been in a couple of their plants. We did make one part with a minor difference for when they ran Sears brand.
They gave us millions of dollars in business, but I'd not buy their appliances for my house. Maybe for a rental though. In the past month I bought a KitchenAid dishwasher and Maytag washer.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

The worst dishwasher I ever had was a Maytag, worse Frig was a Maytag also. Never had a problem with Frididare stuff nor Whirlpool. DId have a GE Dishwasher that was terrible though. And the "builder quality" Whirlpool SC Oven in my house is going is almost 30 years old and still works and looks like new. All my Kenmore stuff has been good, AFAIK it's usually made by Whirlpool.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

I've had many good years with Maytag washers and dryers and Kitchen Aid dishwashers and refrigerator. Our first refrigerator was a Frigidaire but that is back when they were a part of General Motors and made good appliances. Now it is just a name by a company that has bought and sold many of the appliance names like Hotpoint, Crosley, Emerson, White, Westinghouse, Gibson and more.
Whirlpool now owns Maytag, Amana, Kitchen Aid.
Kenmore used to have a lot of Whirlpool, but they also bought from Roper, LG, Frigidaire and probably others. We were supplying parts for the Frigidaire room air conditioners and there was a specific Sears version with a tiny useless variation that was there just to be different.
My next refrigerator will be an LG because it is the only company that makes what we want in a 33" wide version. we can't fit a 35" in the spot needed. Current fridge is 22 years old but still working.
BTW, check the warranty on refrigerators. Many now only give 1 year for the sealed system, a few still have 5 or 10 though.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 11/24/2013 1:08 AM, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

For many years, Whirlpool has been my favorite brand of appliances. Simple, and straight forward. And the repair parts are less expensive than GE, for example. The GE ones with the circuit board are a continuing issue, the boards go bad.
LG is also a bit too complicated for my desires.
I lost a lot of respect for Sears when I find they use off spec parts. For example, a lawn mower with Sears Tecumseh engine won't use Tecumseh points, flywheel, or air cleaner.
--
.
Christopher A. Young
Learn about Jesus
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Electrolux. A rather large global appliance company.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sun, 24 Nov 2013 08:44:42 -0700, Arthur Conan Doyle

Makes great stuff, here in the US.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 11/24/2013 12:36 PM, snipped-for-privacy@attt.bizz wrote:

Electrolux (not to be confused with the vacuum cleaner people) tries to use that name for the premium line as opposed to the value Frigidaire line. They bought the old WCI group from Husqevarna. When it was still owned by White Consolidated Industries, the marketing department did a survey of all the brand names they owned and people associated Frigidaire as the best of the bunch. GM sold the appliance division in 1979 to White Sewing Machine Company. Then it was White Westinghouse.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
In the past, Kenmore washers and dryers were typically made by Whirlpool, but my understanding is that over the past dozen years or so, that's increasingly not true.
In Canada, Whirlpool appliances are sold under the name "Inglis". Similarily, Amana washers and dryers are sold in Canada under the name "Speed Queen".
Companies prefer to operate in other countries under a different corporate label so that if the Canadian subsidiary gets sued, it's officially a different entity than it's US parent company, and so the US parent is unaffected by that law suit.
The reason why so many coin operated laundry mats use Maytag top loading washers is because Maytag's top loading washer design is significantly better that that of the competition. (see PS below) Their dryers aren't any better than anyone else's. And, with a Maytag top loading washer, you can service the machine almost entirely from the front and top.
Ranges, fridges, and clothes dryers are all mature technologies and everyone basically uses the same technology. There are several companies the the USA that made fridge and freezer compressors, but Tecumseh and Embraco are the largest. So, if GE, Frigidaire and Maytag all use Tecumseh compressors, how can one say that GE fridges are any built any better or likely to last any longer than anyone else's.
PS: Maytag top loading washers have a stupid part called an "air injector" that from what I can see does absolutely nothing. It introduces bubbles of air into the water stream that's headed for the wash basket, and Maytag claims that the resulting turbulence helps to get the laundry soap dissolved in the water. But, that's BS because less than a second after those air bubbles flow into the wash tub, they rise to the surface of the water and break. It's the stupidest thing; a well designed washer with a part on it that does nothing that needs doing, and is just a potential water leakage site.
--
nestork


Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

It may be the parts used by the major companies.
I bought a John Deere riding mower. Thought it should be a good mower. After 300 hours it would not pull up a hill. Found out later there is a company that makes transaxles for many mowers. They have some very good ones, and also some that are not very good.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Saturday, November 23, 2013 4:00:34 AM UTC-5, nestork wrote:

You would think in the vast majority of cases, if you're about to buy a house, you already know who the current owner is.

I'm not so sure about that. If a person sold a piece of crap house with problems, to someone and didn't tell them about what they really knew and some stranger calls up years later and starts asking. "Were there any problems with the house?", I would doubt you're going to get reliable information. There is also the problem of figuring out where the previous owner now lives years later.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
" Look at the bottom of the tax bill. Those things are generated by computers, and they always put the owner's name and mailing address near the bottom so that it will show through the envelope's transparent window so that the City doesn't have to spend money addressing those bills.
' snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net[_2_ Wrote:

That's true, but looking at the property tax bills that were sent out since 1990 will tell you who owned the house before the current owner, and who owned it before that. That's because in each case, the property tax bill you're looking at each year will be exactly what was sent out in that year; showing the current resident/owner of that address.
This is in fact how I screen prospective tenants. If a tenant gives their current address as a house and gives their landlord as Mr. Joseph Blow, and I look at the property tax bill and find that it's still being sent to Joe Blow at that same address, then I know that I can't trust any reference I get on that tenant from Joe. While it's possible the tenant rents a basement apartment from Joe, there are just too many instances where people know that they're not going to get a good reference from their real landlord, so they just ask anyone who owns a house to pretent to be their landlord for the purpose of giving them a glowing reference. If the person paying the property tax on that house lives at a different address, then there's a much higher liklihood that the relationship between them is strictly that of landlord and tenant. The property tax bill will always be sent to the landlord or property management company, never the occupant of the property such as a tenant, because they could very well just throw the tax bill in the garbage to cause problems for the landlord or management agency.
--
nestork

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 11/22/2013 10:45 AM, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Most home inspectors are idiots and hiring them would be a waste of money.
I'd rather have real inspections performed by a licensed electrician, plumber, roofer, HVAC pro, general contractor, termite company etc.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 11/22/2013 12:00 PM, Ed wrote:

You might multiply your chances of hiring an idiot :o) Best to be up on basic construction knowledge yourself (which, hopefully, remains as long as you OWN a home). Our inspector found a number of minor electrical issues (easy fixes) and checked things that would never have occured to me. Our home is modular, which neither of us knew until the inspections ;o)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

*IF* new construction and the seller is selling distressed, forget it, look yourself.
*IF* 'normal' pricing, do it! then use as leverage to chew the price down.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

It's a very prudent thing to do. Just because the house is newer, doesn't mean there aren't issues (either as built or since) that need to be identified.
Three comments - First is do not use an inspector hired by or recommended by the seller or either real estate agent. You want the inspector to be working for your interests, not the seller or their agents. (BTW: You do understand that when you purchase a house, "your" agent is still working for the seller, right? Google 'agent fiduciary responsibility' if you are confused about that.)
Second is to use a qualified inspector. Your brother-in-law's best mate who use to frame or some person who builds houses is not a qualified inspector.
Third, many inspectors will give you a canned report with a million things noted, just to prove they did something. There will be lots of cosmetic issues listed that don't impact the value of the house or can be easily addressed after you've moved in. Buyers who use an inspection report as a punch list for the seller frequently lose the house.
Your task is to understand what things are critical - look for structural flaws and major systems that need repair. Also look for major systems not tested - ie. a/c in the winter, heating in the summer.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.