|Posted by Jeff Bennett, Certified Master Inspector, Commercial Property Inspector on March 23, 2016 at 1:05 PM||comments (272)|
The Purpose of the Inspection
The purpose of the home inspection is to identify any problems within the house that you're not willing to accept. When you make an offer to buy a house, the offer should be contingent upon a successful home inspection. In other words, if the inspector finds something you're not comfortable with, you should be able to back out of the deal. That's what it means when the offer is "contingent" upon the home inspection.
Generally, the inspection takes place after you've made an offer to purchase a home, and the sellers have accepted your offer. You should schedule it as soon as possible after this step.
What the Home Inspector Looks For
So, what does the home inspector look for during this process? While they might handle the process in different ways, most inspectors look at the same types of things.
The inspector will examine the roof, to make sure it's in a good state of repair. He might do this by using a ladder to climb up on the roof. Or he might just look at the roof through a pair of binoculars, while standing out in the street. I've seen home inspectors do it both ways. They just want to make sure there's no major damage with the roof, since that's obviously a major cost that could be involved. They will check the condition of the shingles or tiles, the flashing around the chimney, and the overall integrity of the roof.
The home inspector is going to look at the foundation of the house, and possibly the walls as well (since they connect to the foundation). Here, the inspector wants to make sure there aren't any cracks or water damage that could be a sign of serious maintenance costs down the road.
The home inspector will check the electrical system in the house. He will ensure that the system is safe, and that there are no overrated fuses, overloaded circuit breakers, or faulty connections. And, of course, he will make sure everything works. He will go room by room and turn on all of the lights and electrical fixtures, throughout the entire house.
The home inspector will look at the HVAC system, if there is one. HVAC stands for heating, ventilation and cooling. He will look for proper function of any system that's currently installed -- central air, furnace, baseboard heat, etc. When he walks into the house, he will probably turn on the air conditioner or heater to make sure it works. This is often the first thing they do upon arrival. The inspector will let the system run while he's performing the rest of the inspection. This allows him to test the thermostatic controls as well.
The inspector will look at the plumbing system inside and outside of the house. This includes the sinks, toilets, bathtubs and outdoor spigots. He'll go room by room, systematically, to make sure all of these items work. He will also look for any leaks around plumbing pipes and fixtures.
The inspector will check any installed systems inside the house. In this context, "installed" means anything that is attached to the home where its removal would require tools. Garbage disposals are a good example. If the house has a sump pump in the basement for removing moisture, he will check it for proper operation.
The inspector will look for water leaks, or evidence of water leaks. He will check all the areas where water leaks generally occur. Inspectors know exactly where to look for this kind of thing -- on floors, along the foundation, in basements, etc. Leaking water can be a sign of two problems. First, it can suggest that the pipes need repair or replacement. Additionally, the water itself can cause damage and erosion to floors, ceilings and foundations.
This is just a bare minimum. The inspector will probably look at some additional areas, above and beyond the items on this list. When he's done checking these things, he will give you what's known as the home inspector's report. He will sit down with you and go over each item on the list, noting any problems he found along he way. He will explain what the problem was, and what might be required to fix it. The potential repairs are obviously important to you, because they bring additional costs along with them.
Negotiating the Repairs
Next, you need to decide what you're comfortable accepting, and what you're not willing to accept. If you're not comfortable accepting a certain item on the list, you'll have to ask the seller to fix it. This is an important step in the process, because it will require some negotiating on your part. Seek your agent's advice, as they are experienced in these matters.
How much you ask the seller to fix will be between you and your Agent.
If you're in a seller's market, you might not be able to ask for much. The homeowner can probably expect another qualified buyer to come along soon. And the next buyer might not make any repair requests at all.
If you're in a strong buyer's market (where sellers go further to accommodate buyers), the seller might be willing to fix everything on the list. Chances are, they've been on the market for a while already. And who knows when the next offer will come along?
So consider the market you're in, and consider how much you want the house. Remember, if it's something you can live with, be flexible. You don't want to lose the house over that particular item.
This is what a home inspector looks for when inspecting a house. And this is how the process works. It takes place after the offer is accepted, and it gives you a way out of the contract if you find something that you're not willing to accept. Every buyer should have an inspection done. It doesn't cost much, in the grand scheme of things. And it gives you the comfort of knowing "what lies beneath."
|Posted by Jeff Bennett, Certified Master Inspector, Commercial Property Inspector on February 27, 2016 at 12:50 AM|
You can make a roof more leakproof at three stages in the life of your home. The first opportunity comes when designing and building a new house. Later, roof replacement and then the maintenance in-between replacements offer two more chances to enhance leak resistance.
Let’s start with three ways to design-in better water resistance for the roof of a new home:
• Simple roof shape - A roof like the one shown below is visually appealing, but the complexity creates roof intersections and roof-to-wall junctures that make it more prone to leakage.
A gable or hip roof over a rectangular footprint will be the most trouble-free, but lacks the curb appeal that many homeowners desire. So we recommend trying to get the desired architectural effect with the minimum of roof complexity.
• Minimize roof penetrations - Each thing that pokes through the roof surface, such as a skylight, plumbing vent pipe, or gas appliance flue increases the likelihood of water leaks due to failed flashings, sealants and gaskets. Here’s several ways to minimize roof penetrations:
1)A minimum of one plumbing vent through the roof is required by the building code, but you reduce or eliminate the number of additional plumbing vent pipes through the roof by using air admittance valves (AAVs) and consolidating vent stacks below the roof where possible. See our blog post “What is an auto vent, air admittance valve, or check vent?” to learn more.
2)Exhaust fans can terminate through walls instead of the roof.
3)High-efficiency gas appliances can be vented through a sidewall
4)Choosing electric appliances for HVAC and water heater eliminates the flues required for natural or LP-gas units.
• Install a premium underlayment - The underlayment is a secondary layer of water resistant material attached to the sheathing before the roof is installed. It is commonly a 15-lb. or 30-lb. asphalt felt paper that is laid in downlapped strips. But the new synthetic underlayments, which are manufactured from polypropylene and polyethylene, are sturdier and more tear-resistant. Popular brands include RhinoRoof®, Grace Tri-Flex®, and Titanium UDL30®. To find out more, go to our blog post “What is the difference between roofing felt and synthetic underlayment?”
An even higher level of premium underlayment is a self-adhesive bituminous membrane that is also self-sealing for small punctures. If your roofer installs this material, you will get a discount on the windstorm portion of your homeowner’s insurance in Florida. Grace Ice and Water Shield® is a popular brand.
Roof replacement is the next opportunity to improve your roof’s water resistance. If the old roof is 3-tab shingle, you can upgrade to heavier-weight architectural shingle, and there are hail-resistant shingles on the market that offer improved impact resistance. Moving up to a metal or tile roof will provide a longer lasting surface.
Be sure that your roofer replaces all the flashings along with the roof material. We have seen several budget roof jobs recently where the more difficult-to-replace flashings around the fireplace and roof-to-wall junctures were left in place and the new roof installed over them. Unfortunately, a new roof that starts its life with 25-year old flashings is likely to have flashing problems long before the roof itself deteriorates.
Examining your roof and doing minor maintenance regularly is another way to prevent leaks or catch and repair them before that do much damage. See our blog post “How can I make my roof last longer?” for tips on roof maintenance, and visit our other blog post “How can I tell if the house needs a new roof? for ways to visually evaluate the condition of your roof.
Check out our review page Email SouthCarolinaHomeInspections@hotmail.com
|Posted by Jeff Bennett, Certified Master Inspector, Commercial Property Inspector on February 25, 2016 at 2:40 PM||comments (125)|
Full Service Home Inspections, Summerville, SC
How Much Peace of Mind is Enough?
Buying a home is a huge investment, and you can never know too much about the property you intend to purchase. That’s where Full Service Home Inspections can help!
Tips and advise on New Home Buyers
You should always get a home inspection and with new construction. I advise getting two inspections if possible, one before the sheetrock goes up and the second when the home is complete. This is the only time it is appropriate to literally hand over the inspection and tell the builder to fix anything the inspector found.
The building inspections are not looking at the quality of the work only checking for code violations which isn't the same thing.
Whether you're shopping for a previously-owned home or new construction, it’s important to know the home's true condition before making an offer. Full Service Home Inspections examine more than 400 items both in and outside. Our reports are organized and detailed with specific pictures. This report can be forwarded to you builder or to the Agent handling the sale of the home you are purchasing.
Please keep in mind that the goal of a home inspection is not just to inspect the property, but also to educate the potential buyer about the property’s condition. This is better achieved if you are present at the time of the inspection but not neccesary because our reports are so specific.
During the course of the inspection, the inspector will explain the condition of the property. You will also be provided with the AmeriSpec Report to help you make an informed purchasing decision.
With Full Service Home Inspections, you’ll understand why the right home inspector helps offer peace of mind to home buyers.
Full Service Home Inspections, LLC is located in Summerville, SC
|Posted by Jeff Bennett, Certified Master Inspector, Commercial Property Inspector on February 25, 2016 at 9:15 AM||comments (208)|
Attics inspections are important, though often overlooked in a home inspection. It is not unusual for a homeowner to have never entered their own attic. Attics can hide a lot of problems-from mold and insulation problems to electrical and fire concerns.
Attics come in two main styles: Full and Crawl attics. Full attics are large enough for a person to stand and walk around in and may have a full floor. The walls and ceiling of this type of attic may or may not have exposed beams. A Crawl attic is usually smaller than a full attic and may not have a floor. In such crawl attics one must support themselves on the ceiling joist or you may step through the drywall ceiling into the room below.
The attic should be inspected to identify the type and amount of insulation present in the house. Insulation directly pertains to heating and cooling costs, so make sure there is an adequate amount of insulation present. Insulation should lie between the roof rafters, with the vapor barrier facing the heated portion of the structure, namely the ceiling of the room below. The vapor barrier is usually attached to the insulation bundle and may be made of a number of impermeable materials. All of these barriers reduce the amount of moisture moving from the heated portion of the house into the unfinished attic.
Air ducts should be insulated to increase the efficiency of the heating and cooling system. Metal air ducts are often insulated on the inside. Insulation and proper attic ventilation will minimize moisture concerns, like mold from condensation, by maintaining a more constant temperature in the attic. You should make sure air ducts and exhaust pipes from appliances, like the stovetop and bathrooms, are not broken and do not vent moisture, gas, or fumes into the attic. Nothing should vent into the attic itself. This bathroom vent blows moisture straight into the attic. Here you can see the long-term results of such improper installation.
Modern home science has promoted attics sealed from the outside and air conditioned like the rest of the house. This arrangement reduces the differences in temperature between the two sections of the house. In doing so eliminates condensation and therefore mold from the attic by moving the condensation point to the exterior wall and roof where moisture can dissipate.
Your roof should be inspected from the inside for leakage or past water damage. Water damage will appear on the underside of the roof as brown rings on the wood or insulation, which commonly occurs at joints or around the chimney. Any structural disorders should also be addressed like broken or sagging joists and trusses.
Fire hazards are a major concern in an attic inspection. Such dangers can come from poor maintenance and substandard electrical instillation. Electrical boxes should be inspected to make sure all connections are done to code, leaving no loose wires. All connections should be secured and finished off inside an approved electrical box. Extension cords connecting ceiling lights or fans are not approved of and are a fire hazard. If there is any evidence of burnt wood around the furnace or chimney, this signals a major fire concern. The furnace was not installed or is not operating properly. Attic fans should be mounted properly with a code certified electrical source. Any improper electrical work in the attic may not be noticed from occupants in the house however; it puts all of homes occupants at risk from fire. Proper electrical work reduces this risk