Thank Goodness for Home Inspectors!

eldemilaSeptember 3, 2009

We had a contract on a home that I knew needed a lot of help/work but not until I had some home inspections did I know just how much trouble this house was in.

I've owned 3 homes in the last 28 years and this was the first time I had an inspection beyond a roof and termite inspection, first time for a whole home inspection, and chimney inspection. They found a lot more than I bargained for, and I walked from the deal.

As much as I hate to waste money, it was worth EVERY PENNY I paid to have this home inspected. I also learned a LOT from the internet and a book I happened to find at the library about inspections. I feel this was a full learning experience and have gained a lot of knowledge, but moreso, a whole new respect for home inspectors, this guy earned every penny and saved me a ton of money and aggravation.

Kudos to home inspectors!!!!!

Now to find the RIGHT home!

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Debelli, please share the name (and author, if we're allowed) of the helpful library book. It sounds like just what one needs to help get a house ready for sale. Thanks in advance for your help.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2009 at 9:21PM
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Book is Inspecting a House by Rex Cauldwell.

I just ordered my own copy, but check your library to see if they have a copy.

One thing I didn't find mentioned in his book was about ghosting - which this house had in a bad way. Luckily, I found a ton of information about this on the web, but if he ever does an update on this book I'd hope he'd address this problem.

Book was extremely helpful. If anyone knows of a book similar to this that they found helpful, I hope they will post it. The more we know, the better decisions we can make!!!

    Bookmark   September 7, 2009 at 9:42AM
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What's ghosting?

    Bookmark   September 7, 2009 at 10:38AM
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    Bookmark   September 7, 2009 at 12:48PM
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Just a quick side note...

After all of the above happened, and I pulled my offer to buy the house, my RA agent told me a few days later (before we were suppose to close) that something water related busted in the house and a neighbor called the listing agent to tell him that water was streaming out of the garage - they found the finnished basement flooded then the water went out the garage.

Once again, thank goodness for inspectors. Will be using him again, just had our offer on another house accepted today - not a foreclosure or short sale, wish me luck!!!!

    Bookmark   September 26, 2009 at 7:41PM
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So what things did the inspector find? We will be selling our house in a year or so and need to get a jump start on stuff that we need to fix ahead of time- especially those things that we might not "notice".

    Bookmark   September 27, 2009 at 8:10PM
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I don't know if it would be fair to list all he found as this house was a short sale/pre foreclosure and had some major (and too many to list) issues.

I can tell you what he finds after this inspection which will probably be done later this week. This house is just an older home built in 1985. I'm sure he'll find issues, I have already, but it's the ones I can't see and the extensive ones that I'm most interested in.

On his associations website he belongs to (there is another large one that I know of as well) it does show details of what they inspect, the link is below. Read their forums too, I learned a LOT from the site as well as the book I mentioned above.

I'll check back once we have the other home inspection done and let you know what the outcome is. Unfortunately, I can't be at that one, I had to come home last night after being up there for a month looking (again) for homes - wouldn't you know it, finally find a home and can't be there for the inspection - thankfully my Mom is still up there and will have to serve as my eyes and ears, but will still have the inspector email me the photos (they take a LOT) and write his report.

Personally, I would probably have an inspection done prior to putting it up for sale. My reasoning being to fix all that you can now so a potential buyer can't come back and either pull out because there's a major problem (which you'll have to either fix or deduct costs to repair from price most likely) If I find anything more than a thousand dollars to fix, if the owner won't deduct it, I'm walking. I'm having to invest more money than I thought I would have to in this house. Then again, some people may not think twice about it, not buyer savvy.
Best of luck to you with the sale of your home - I'll be on that end not too long from now!

Here is a link that might be useful: What Inspectors Look For During A Home Inspection

    Bookmark   September 28, 2009 at 7:35AM
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Janie, hope you see this post. Good for all buyers/sellers to read, really!

Home inspector went out Thursday. I also hired a chimney inspector and a termite and moisture inspector - all there at the same time at one point.

I'm going to paste a list of my request of repairs that were sent to the owners LA which are just some of the problems/suggestions that were from the report.

At least 9 broken/split shingle tabs, one hole and several popped nails was observed on the roof, have shingles
reviewed/repaired by a qualified roofer to prevent leakage. Note: Shingles was observed in the crawl space. Some of the shingle tabs are broke along the rake of roof in a couple areas, have repaired to prevent water from seeping
into roof sheathing. A few of the nails have backed out of the ridge vents, have secured by roofer Squirrel damage to plumbing vent boot - nail hole where they've eaten away the rubber Replace and repair.

Chimney needs to be cleaned and crown needs to be sealed due to cracks. (see above)*

The deck framing has pulled away from each other on outside corner, there is a joint along of the front framing that is not supported. One support in the middle of the deck that is leaning badly and two of the corner posts are landscape timbers and should not be used as a structural member having framing/post review/repaired by qualified contractor. Could collapse.

Back of House/Deck - part of ledger board was and isn't supported properly. Needs to be fixed, could collapse. Needs to be bolted, not nailed. The rear deck is not bolted to the home, have lag bolts installed by a qualified contractor.

The condensate drain is not connected to the air handler and has come apart at one of its couplings, have reviewed/
repaired by contractor to prevent condensation from draining into crawlspace.

A couple of the foundation vents are at the soil grade level, during heavy rains this will allow water to pour in through vents, have vent wells installed where the vent is at grade level. Some crawlspace vents are broken and need to be repaired or replaced. The downspout extension to the right of the front porch is draining near the foundation vent, have moved away from foundation.

Crawlspace -The dryer vent is plastic where it passes through the floor and is not connected to the metal duct in the crawlspace, (just hanging there, with lint coming out). Have plastic vent replaced with metal and re-connected in the crawl by a qualified contractor. Lint needs to be cleaned out, potential fire hazard.

Water Heater -The temperature/pressure relief valve is not piped to the exterior of crawlspace, if this valve should open or leak you would not know it.

The floor joist under the bathroom near the crawlspace door has been severely cut for the waste drain, this will allow it to sag over time, have repaired by contractor.

FOUNDATION CRACKS - There is a large crack on the right side of the foundation, the stepped crack is at least 1/4 inch wide and the brick is displaced at least 1/4 of an inch, recommend review by a structural engineer to determine cause and if any repairs are suggested besides repairing and sealing.

On the right side of the home, the wood beam is not in contact with the column/pier, this may cause or have caused
some settlement in this area since it is next to he large crack in the foundation, have repaired by contractor.

Above garage in attic needs to be supported by 2x4 where beams come together, one of the gable end supports is not supporting the ridge rafter (needs shimmed), have repaired by contractor.

One open chase in attic was observed on the far left side of home (over master bath), if a fire was to start in the home it could quickly spread into attic, have covered/insulated by contractor.

The bathroom exhaust vents are not routed to the exterior, this allows excessive moisture into crawlspace, recommend
routing to the exterior.

Garage-put storage door back on (I can do this if you have the pins available I think)

The door leading into the garage did not latch when closed, have adjusted/repaired.

The garage door did not reverse when met with resistance (usually just an adjustment), have repaired for safety.

A large knock-out has been removed for a small wire in the top of electrical panel, if a fire was to start in the panel it could spread quickly into the wall. Have clamp and reducing rings installed by electrician.

The heat pump is connected to a 40 amp breaker, the data plate states a maximum breaker of 30 amps to protect the
unit, have replaced by electrician. There is a electrical wire in the crawlspace(near the dryer vent/under kitchen/hall) that is not properly capped or installed in a junction box, have repaired by electrician.

The switch did not operate the ceiling fan in the front right bedroom, the light and fan works but did not shut off with the switch, have reviewed by electrician. The ceiling fan in the front right bedroom wobbled badly when tested, have reviewed by electrician.

The chimney inspector said he was unable to tell if any of the flue tiles were cracked because the fireplace was dirty. My response to the sellers were the following:

As for the chimney, as I mentioned in a prior email, the inspector was not able to view the flue tiles due to the fireplace being dirty and having cobwebs and spiders. If there is any flue tiles cracked, to fix this would be "thousands" from what he said, and if there are cracked tiles, a possible fire hazard when using the fireplace. If the fireplace was clean, he could have reported if there were any issues at the time of inspection. I cannot go forward without knowing if there are any flue tiles cracked before closing. He said that he would be willing to re-inspect the chimney for free and put a camera down there at no extra cost once the chimney has been cleaned to make sure there are no cracked flue tiles. His estimate to clean the chimney is $130 and to seal the crown $150

This above wasn't all that was reported in the inspection that needed attention. Below is the list I sent that I would eventually take on and be responsible for doing:

Brick in front porch has settled, driveway and sidewalk all have cracks from settling, repair and seal to prevent more damage

Front porch soffits need to be adjusted & soffit missing in rear corner, left side. There are three (3) areas of siding that are loose and need to be fixed.

Gutter -some gutter guards are missing and need to be replaced. Gutter needs to be cleaned out in areas.

Crawlspace, insulation is falling and some pieces are on the ground which needs to be replaced and repaired, held up by metal wires

Return duct needs cleaning

Garage- door opens and closes fine, has a gap on one side, needs a new weather strip

Garage- Very minor rot observed at the bottom of one of the garage door panels, have sealed.

The sprayer did not function properly for the kitchen faucet when tested, have reviewed/repaired by plumber.

Tree limbs that overhang the roof should be cut to limit squirrels access to roof. Squirrel damage evident

Minor suspected carpenter bee damage was observed to a couple of the exterior wood window sills, have repaired and or treated if problem continues.

Between the front porch and the garage, the soil grade is in contact with the vinyl siding, there should be at least a 6inch clearance between the siding and ground to prevent water seepage into band joist during heavy rains and for
periodic pest inspection, have repaired. Note: Staining to the band joists was observed in this area from the crawlspace

Settlement cracking was observed in the front bedroom door frame/sheetrock, no obvious reason for settlement was
observed under this area, have reviewed if desired.

The 2 smoke detectors did not operate when tested, have smoke detectors installed in the hallway and bedroom areas
for life safety.

Some minor damage was observed to the window trim at the bottom of the rear exterior door, have repaired..

The air handler in the crawlspace is very rusty at the bottom and may leak during the summer months, observation
recommended. (will try to keep an eye out for this)

The majority of the crawlspace did not have a vapor barrier installed on the crawlspace floor, recommend installing to reduce and maintain low moisture levels in the crawlspace. (will have installed)

The heat pump is 24 years old, typical life expectancy is 15-20 years, although it is working properly it will likely need to be replaced in the next couple years. Roof is beyond typical life expectancy and will need replacing in a couple years

So there you have it. Again, I will say THANK GOODNESS FOR HOME INSPECTIONS. Not only do I know what's wrong with this house that the inspector(s) could visually see, but now, so do the owners.

We are now in a wait and see phase. Waiting to hear to what they are going to agree to fix on the list I have sent. I have not asked these people for ANYTHING at all that is not on the inspection report and many of the problems that need correction have to be done due to safety. Here's a man that smokes and neither of the two smoke detectors work! Also, the lint and dryer vent problem can easily start a fire.

THe major issues are the chimney and the foundation - others are all easy to fix. If the chimney is cleaned and it shows no issues in the flue, than it's just down to the foundation failure - and we wait and see.

After going through all this, here's my 2 cents for sellers and getting an inspection PRIOR to putting your home up for sale...

If you get a home inspection done prior to putting it on the market, you will not only know what issues are there, but what issues you know MUST be fixed before any bank would agree to give a potential home buyer a mtg on the home.

You will save money in the long run! The reason I say this is...
If the sellers of the property we are looking at did an inspection prior to listing the house for sale, they probably wouldn't have gone down as far as they did in price during negotiations. Obviously, they didn't know the REAL condition of the house - and if they had gotten the inspection, they would have known and priced accordingly, knowing what HAD to be done. Instead, they came down probably more than they now think they should have, now having to come up with more $$ to fix the problems if they want the deal to go through. If they aren't fixed, I walk. And from what I understand, they are in love with another house and really want to sell, but I'm sure they didn't see these problems coming. The inside of the house is great- as you can see from the repair list - many issues were in areas not easily accessible or in easy view.

Have to say, I'm glad they didn't know beforehand in my case - they wouldn't have reduced the price as they did, I'm sure.

It saves time - Knowing what the inspector found and fixing what you can prior to listing it for sale makes the buyers/banks inspectors findings that much less. Buyers will be more apt to purchase a home that has less issues I think - it just looks better on paper. You can have the cleanest and most well taken care of home on the interior, which seesm to be the case here, or at last it seems so, but knowing that there's dryer lint hanging in gobbs from the detached duct shows me, whether it be her or prior owners, someone did NOT clean out the lint filter in their dryer! Doing it before hand also saves you time because the less there is to fix, the faster you can close!!!!!

Don't be penny wise, pound foolish as the saying goes. This is something I say for all buyers and sellers.

As you can see if you read the posts I wrote above, this wasn't my first home to have a contract on recently - this is the second one. And honestly, from the looks of the home, I would NEVER have thought there would have been this many issues with the home. We saw a few of them, I wrote them down, but NEVER thought it would be like this!

I had all of the same inspectors come out again as last time, though I paid the full inspection amount this time vs last time when I didn't have the inspector send me a written report and his summary, it just wasn't needed as I saw all I had to see on his computer at the inspection.

You may not need a totally full inspectors report. Maybe there is so little that needs to be done on your home your inspector will allow you to view his findings on his computer while you write down the problems. My inspectors charged $280 but during the first inspection charged me half, I paid him the full $280 this last time - again, I hate wasting money, but it was well worth it!

I hope I've provided some useful information! Hopefully this deal will go through, if not, I'm hoping that with the next house that maybe the inspectors will have a repeat customer discount, a buy 2 get 1 free offer, or something of the like - now, wouldn't that be nice! Hopefully, it won't come to that.

Best of luck to all who are buying/selling a home!!!!

    Bookmark   October 3, 2009 at 5:49PM
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Sorry, one more thing - the contract was based on having an inspection that I found acceptable - the less issues there are, the less options there are for a buyer under contract to try to get out of it if they want to (cold feet, found a nicer/better house after they put in a contract with you,etc) If you know up front what's what - there won't be any surprises and less opportunities of giving a buyer a way out in saying it has issues. I could easily walk out on this deal by saying not matter what, even if they want to fix the foundation, it's not acceptable to me as I'm not agreeing to it. And I get my money back, no questions.

AND, as I told my realtor, after they have been told of the problems, they are now aware of the issues - so if I walk, I told my realtor they would have to make a new sellers disclosure - they indicated they knew of now foundation problems - yes, there was a crack, but most people do not know if a crack is bad or not. BUT now, they know and as far as I'm concerned, if I don't take this house, and they sell it to another person without a new sellers disclosure, they are flat out lying. Since there were a few issues, there would be a few lies if the SD wasn't changed after this date.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2009 at 6:02PM
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Uh, Jane_NY, just why would you think this whole thread smelled of Spam? I guess you have no clue what Spam actually smells like and I'd love to know just why you think it does smell like Spam???? As far as MY posts go, I can tell you they are in no way Spam, so saying the whole thread is Spam, well, let's just say I will accept your apology you gave in advance, as you are 100% wrong!!!!!

What in your mind would make you even think this SPAM is really what I'd like to know???? What did I personally post that would make you think this?? Geez, that just blows me away.

Would you like to see a copy of my inspection report?? Would you like to see a copy of the 6 checks I've written for 2 inspections on two different properties to three different inspectors in the past month? Would you like to see a copy of my contracts? How about you call my realtor? Maybe a copy of my purchase receipt for the book I mentioned above?

Maybe you should just look at some of my posts here on different areas of the forum/site over the past few months and see what my posts are like (you can find me in the kitchen forum, bathroom forum, flooring forum, fireplace forum, decorating forum, to name a few). You can even view a post right in this forum that I wrote as well, see the link below.

Yep, I'll accept your apology, but I have a feeling unless proven wrong, you'll still be skeptical.

Anything else????

Here is a link that might be useful: Homes Where Smokers Live - How Did You Get Rid of Odor?

    Bookmark   October 4, 2009 at 4:43AM
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If you want a new house I suggest talking with a builder.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2009 at 10:38AM
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I think every home, even new ones have problems. I met a young man who's entire family does construction, building new homes. He said he'd have an inspector of his own come out and do an inspection on a new home. Just because it's new doesn't mean it can't have problems. You have to know when buying any home, new or used, there's going to be issues, the inspector is there to let you know what they are.

I've looked at enough homes over the past year, some only a year old that had issues already and I'm almost sure when the people bought it they probably didn't have a personal inspector go out to look at it because it was new. What difference a year or two can make.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2009 at 11:15AM
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Just dont use Housemasters they are NOT WHAT HEY SAY THEY ARE

    Bookmark   October 7, 2009 at 7:46AM
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"He said he'd have an inspector of his own come out and do an inspection on a new home."

Except that a "new home" inspection by a typical HI is about useless.

They do not really know what they are looking at, and will have enough weasel words in their contract to try and escape their screw ups.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2009 at 1:40PM
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