Hello all. My wife and I are 99% through the process of purchasing a home
for the first time. I'll be following the inspector through the home
tomorrow. I plan on taking notes along with him, but I was hoping to
glean some information from the pool of experience here.
Are there things I should especially keep an eye peeled for during the
inspection? This is in south central Indiana, the home was built in 1965
and it has been raining today and is forcast to rain more tomorrow. The
home has an unfinished basement (smelled and looked very dry during a
prior visit, but it had not rained recently).
Thank you all in advance!
From someone who learned the hard way.....
First thing... if you hired one of those $300 inspectors
(Homecheck...) be careful because they typically aren't "deal
Since it is raining check the basement for leaks. If the rim
joist/sill plate area is open check for mold. White/Yellow Mold is
common in humid basements.
If the attic is unfinished check to see if there is adequate
ventilation (soffits/ridge vents...etc). If the attic insulation is
stuffed into the soffit vent area pull some of the insulation back to
check for Black Mold.
Also, if the home inspector wants to skip looking at an area because
of the homeowners items are blocking access.... insist that he/she
looks at the area.... don't assume that everything is OK.
Also look at obvious things like leaking faucets(turn them on
If you see something that looks out of place (furniture... soap
dish...etc) try to move look around the object to see if they are
Also, get the termite inspection, radon test and CO test if you have a
gas furnace/water heater. Have the home inspector check the CO level
on the gas furnace for a cracked heat exchanger. Check the air filter
to see how the homeowner maintains the furnace.
A little bit a paranoia will ensure that you are not buying a
On Tue, 11 Nov 2003 21:31:02 +0000 (UTC), Chris Eller
As well as inspectors that are recommended by real estate agents.
Agents HATE "deal breaker" inspectors, as they would rather see you
unknowingly buy a money pit rather than lose a commission. They'll
usually recommend someone who will point out a leaky pipe, or a dead
outlet, but not the fact that the roof is 5 years past it's
replacement point, or the furnace is dying.
I, and my extended family, have used a local guy who agents hate,
10-15 times for investment properties and homes. In two cases, his
inspections have broken deals, which is exactly why I hire him. In
other cases he has provided genuine, useful negotiation material for
me to lower the price.
Broken deal #1 was a rotted mud sill that was NOT apparent. Broken
deal #2 involved an active termite colony, even though the seller
stated the home was termite free, and a large chain pest removal
company had warranted the home as pest free THE DAY BEFORE! <G>
This guy works roughly as follows:
Enter the home, turn on all hot and cold water, lights, and climate
controls full blast, leave it on during inspection. Heat and A/C
systems will compete if they are separate.
Check the sills, foundation, porches, exterior columns, driveway,
Check the roofing, chimney, vents, soil pipes, etc... for condition,
operation, and flashing / seal condition.
Work from the attic down to the basement on the interior. Why
downward? The water's been running all this time, and we're looking
for travelling leaks that may take time to appear from pipe and cable
holes in the basement.
The furnace, A/C, water , and electricity should continue to function
properly under full load throughout the inspection.
All along, he's testing outlets, doors, windows, appliances, etc...
for proper operation, looking for evidence of water leaks, pest and
rodent damage, ice dams, fire / calamity repairs.
He does not note things like missing interior trim, peeling paint or
wallpaper, etc... As he puts it, "You can SEE that". <G> If the home
has a septic system he will recommend that it be pumped and inspected
by a specialist.
All in all, he takes about three hours for a typical single family
home. He will not do the inspection without the buyer present and at
his side for all but climbing on the roof.
For some inexplicable reasons, B a r r y B u r k e J r .
:On Tue, 11 Nov 2003 16:59:10 -0500, Joe Esposito
:>From someone who learned the hard way.....
:>First thing... if you hired one of those $300 inspectors:>(Homecheck...) be careful because they typically aren't "deal
:As well as inspectors that are recommended by real estate agents.
:Agents HATE "deal breaker" inspectors, as they would rather see you
:unknowingly buy a money pit rather than lose a commission. They'll
:usually recommend someone who will point out a leaky pipe, or a dead
:outlet, but not the fact that the roof is 5 years past it's
:replacement point, or the furnace is dying.
Maybe it's only Texas and Florida, but none of my agents for
purchases in those states recommended a home inspector. They did have
photocopies of names and addresses of local inspectors, but I wasn't
required to choose from those lists.
Wendy Chatley Green
Wendy Chatley Green ( email@example.com) wrote:
: Maybe it's only Texas and Florida, but none of my agents for
: purchases in those states recommended a home inspector. They did have
: photocopies of names and addresses of local inspectors, but I wasn't
: required to choose from those lists.
Oh, I wasn't *required* to take the inspector that my real estate
agent recommended. And he didn't even recommend one until I asked. I
was simply naive enough to ask him to recommend one, and go with his
recommendation. And that's what I'm warning against.
On Tue, 11 Nov 2003 19:40:06 -0500, Wendy Chatley Green
Here in CT, they will only recommend if you ask. No one is required
to do anything.
That said, it's amazing how many will use an inspector recommended by
the selling agent, use an attorney that represents the bank, etc...
to save a few bucks.
A home is both the largest investment and the largest purchase of a
lifetime for many people. It's really worth it to spend a few extra
bucks to make sure _you_ are represented.
In MA realtors can not reccomend inspectors (state law.) I would choose a
well known outfit that comes reccomended. (actually, I did. Also since it
was an FHA loan they sent an inspector as well, which I had to pay for.)
Chris Eller ( firstname.lastname@example.org) wrote:
: Are there things I should especially keep an eye peeled for during the
Oh, there are lots of things I wish I'd done differently at my home
Stay right by the inspectors shoulder. Do not let anyone distract
you. Bring a partner (you mentioned a wife?) whose job is to head off
people who want to talk to you. I ended up chatting with my real
estate agent and the seller's real estate agent and the seller, and
missed a lot of stuff.
Bring a video camera and videotape everything. My inspector said a
lot of things like, "this will need to be tightened", and when the
whole thing was done, I couldn't remember whether that was in the 2nd
floor bath or the 3rd floor bath. My inspector told me that he'd
write up the inspection and give me a whole binder. What I got was a
one page statement of the major findings, and a pre-printed, "How to
maintain your new home" booklet, in a binder.
Follow the inspector everywhere. That means up ladders to the roof,
and into crawl spaces. Wear appropriate clothes, and bring a
flashlight. If the inspector pokes his or her head into an access
panel, then you poke your head in. I was a little nervous about
climbing and squeamish about crawl spaces then, but I've since gotten
used to both. I wish I'd followed the inspector around.
Make sure that you and the inspector look at the attic, crawl spaces,
and everywhere. If you can't figure out how to get access to a space,
ask. Buckets or trash cans in the attic often mean leaks in the roof.
It may be too late, but don't use an inspector recommended by your
real estate agent. My real estate agent did a great job for me, and I
sincerely recommend him to my friends, but inspectors who get
recommended by agents try not to alarm the customer, since that may
break the deal. Some new home buyers over-react to every flaw. It's
not like buying a new microwave from the store, where if there are any
imperfections you exchange it for "a good one". You don't want a home
with no problems - you want a home whose problems you know and can
either accept or can afford to fix (both time and money). You want an
inspector who will give you the straight dope.
Ask lots of questions. This is a great opportunity to learn what all
the gizmos do. Someday you'll need to find the cut-off valve for the
2nd floor rear bathroom *fast*, and you'll be glad that you know where
Keep in mind that furniture and rugs may be hiding damaged walls or
floors. I don't think you can do much at the inspection (you can't
really ask people to move every book case and rug), but make sure that
at the final walk through the place is *empty*. The people I bought
my house from had a couple of cardboard boxes with the last load of
stuff they were moving. After closing, I found large burn marks on
the floor that had been hidden by the boxes, and had been hidden by
rugs during the inspection.
1. Lead paint. You can buy test kits at Home Depot. A 1965 home could have
it. Not a real big deal unless you have children under 7. If you do have
young children it can cause brain damage at quite low levels.
2. Structure. Homes usually rot from the top down. Push up ceiling tiles or
oitherwise try to get a good look at the woodwork supporting the roof. In
the cellar make sure the main beams, supports and their foundations are in
3. Environmental issues. If there's an oil tank, make sure it hasn't ever
leaked oil into the ground. Fixing a spill can cost more than a house. Other
issues like asbestos could come up, but you have to decide how big of an
issue that is.
4. Safety. You should have 100 amp service at a minimum, preferably 200 or
more. Determine if outlets are grounded and if GFCI is in basements, kitchen
and baths. Make sure your heat source is properly vented. If you have a hot
fuel, especially wood, you need to strictly comply with fire codes (wood
becomes flamable at very low temperatures over time when constantly exposed
On Tue, 11 Nov 2003 21:31:02 +0000 (UTC), Chris Eller
The rain is to your advantage. Before the guy comes, totally saturate
the lawn next to the driveway, and tell him that he must park his
caddilac there. His car will sink into the mud all the way to the
axels, and he will lose his shoes while walking to the front door.
Then get a BIG dog that bites. The dog will bite his ankles, and he
will scurry back to his car, use his cellphone to call a wrecker, and
will never enter the house. By the time he leaves, you can use the
dog as a weapon to force him to write a good report about the home.
If he refuses, then refuse the wrecker to enter the property, and Mr.
Inspector will be forced to walk home without his cadillac and his
shoes, and with a dog biting his ankles every step of the way.
There ARE ways to get approved !!!!!
Don't expect the home to be 100% perfect. Also, kep in mind if you get too
petty witht the buyers you could kill the deal. I would try to get the
repairs taken off the price but be fair.
A couple of things to look for:
1. Does the house have copper plumbing? If not then you can expect to
replace the pipes as they get older.
2. What size electrical service does the house have? Is there room in the
electrical box for more breakers? Try turning on a few applicanes and also
pluggin in a vacum...
3. Check how the toilets flush? Ask about the cesspool and the last time
it was services.
4. Lok for water damaged and leaks.
5. Check behind the refirig for mold.
6. Does the roof need to be replaced?
7. How is the heating system?
8. What kind of shape are the floors in?
9. Is there any exterior work that need to be don? (rotting siding, etc.)
10. What kind of shape is the windows in?
11. Is there adequate heating in the house?
There are so many things to look at. Be careful and make sure that your
inspector does a good job.
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