Home inspector vs. various trades coming in?

dreambuilderSeptember 6, 2012

I have probably watched too much Holmes on Homes, but I feel like a home inspector is not the best investment (and from past experience--one of ours missed a giant hole in the foundation--old dryer vent--b/c homeowner had put a painting over it)! Anyway, who would you call in instead of a home inspector....I'm thinking HVAC, plumbing, electrical....anyone else?? Other thoughts?

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    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 9:59AM
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Gas line, and Termite inspection. Check if the seller carries termite bond, and if you can take over the policy.

If there are old, large trees check if they are healthy. Removing large, dying tree is expensive.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 10:44AM
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If you bring in every expert to inspect a house, it's going to be ridiculously expensive.
If you bring in a home inspector, then just think of them as another set of eyes (in addition to yours) that could identify potential problems. Yes they miss things but it isn't possible to spot everything that is wrong with a house in a cursory inspection. And of course some inspectors are totally useless but that's the case with any profession. You have your good people and your bad people.
Then depending on the house and what the inspector and you identify, you may want to bring in specific specialists.

Not much sense in bringing in an electrician for a house that was built a couple of years ago, however if the house is 80 years old and the wiring hasn't been updated recently, then an electrician may be a good idea.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 11:52AM
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The 'home inspector' is there to check for visible problems and provide an extra set of eyes.

Based on what a good one sees you then might want to have an area expert (structural, electrical, plumbing, roofer) further review serious problems that have been identified.

Even in states that try to regulate, the profession is very hot or miss.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 12:30PM
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FWIW, some info on "Holmes Inspection".

First and foremost, all HGTV shows are staged and therefore must be taken with a grain of salt.
Second, a "Holmes" inspection is not a true home inspection, as he has the luxury of being told of the problems the buyers are having post purchase, and the luxury of dismantling systems, opening walls, etc that is not possible when a home inspector is inspecting a home that his/her client does not yet own.
What seller is going to allow an invasive "Holmes" inspection of their home?

It is true that there are the good, the bad and the in between in terms of quality with home inspectors...as is the case with all professions.

IMO, buyers greatly increase their chance of getting a poor inspection if

1) They hire an inspector based upon the cheapest fee
2) If they wait until the last minute to hire and just go with the real estate agents recommendation without performing any due diligence
3) If they fall for the hype of an onsite or same day report (which benefits the inspector but screws over the buyer), ditto for a "written" report that is mostly boiler plate.
4) Fail to take some time to familiarize themselves with what is and is not included in a home inspection, either in accordance with state licensing and absent that, nationally accepted standards.
5) Fail to ask to see a sample report before they hire.
6) Fail to ask to review the pre-inspection agreement before they hire.

A home is THE biggest investment most people make...but time and again, all too many go for the bargain basement inspector using the "eeny, meany, miney mo" form of choosing who gets the job.

Excellent HI's do exist...buyers just need to be willing to do their homework..and THEN choose.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 5:48PM
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Even calling in trade workers may not provide a good answer.

At least one of plumbers I had work on projects in the past few years did not know how to make or repair a poured lead and oakum cast iron pipe joint.

He knew how to cut out the suspect joint and use no-hub CI (uses rubber boots and clamps to joint the sections) but no idea how to repair the joint (clean it out- re-pack, re-pour lead and tighten).

It has been out of favor for a long time and he is in his late 20s.
Houses generally only are required to meet the building code in effect when they where built, and in effect when additions or major changes are made.

Wiring and plumbing may be VERY 'out of date' by modern standards, but still perfectly functional and acceptable, even if they are not convenient..

Grandfathering of existing work goes back almost forever (there are a few exceptions in some places fr limited things).

GFCI kitchen and bathroom protection and smoke detectors are two common 'required' upgrades at sale.

Without grandfathering, we would be tearing houses apart every time a new code revision came out.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 4:49PM
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If you read the inspection report closely, or the agreement that most use for signing before the inspection even begins, clearly state that they will not move furniture, rugs, insulation... Heck, most do not even get on roofs anymore. I just got rid of my long time inspector because he stopped getting on roofs.
I accompany the inspections so that I can move furniture if needed, and I always pick up area rugs... you'd be surprised what can be hidden by rugs.
Like has been said, inspections are just a starting point to help you decide if the home is in generally good condition or not, and if any other experts need to be bought in.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 6:06AM
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In many cases, there is a limited time-span available for inspections during the closing period. The time-span will be specified in the purchase agreement or in the materials from the title company. This may be approximately 10 days, or somewhat longer, depending on what is customary in the local area of the sale.

The point is that there is only a limited time, and scheduling multiple inspections with completed reports within the available time may be difficult to achieve.

Good luck on your project.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2013 at 2:20PM
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I would get trade people next time. If there is a next time. Sure the 6 year old AC unit cooled and worked. But when we went to have it service and they pulled off the handler cover, what can I say, nothing 7,800.00 didn't fix. I wouldn't have an home inspector again. Would have rather spent 800 or 900 and known what we were getting into..

    Bookmark   August 3, 2013 at 9:43PM
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If you don't trust a home inspector, just hire a few tradesman than you trust/care most about. No one is going to spot everything, but I'd look for the most expensive replacement items a non-trained eye might miss, and hire those tradesman to check out the property. For me it would be a structural engineer, a roofer and an electrician. Others might have differing opinions.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2013 at 1:17PM
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Another option is to get a good inspection, and then get a one-year home warranty, just in case.

Just as there are good and bad inspectors, and good and bad home warranties, you've got to do some research, but it's worked well for several friends of mine that bought older homes.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2013 at 3:14PM
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