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The many hats of a home inspector

Today I would like to talk about the different functions of a “home inspector.” We get many calls (more than I care to admit) from people who need help “after the fact.” You have to keep in mind that if a private inspector can inspect your home before purchase, an inspector can also help with other situations in your home before it becomes a problem. Here are a few different scenarios that can help you before it’s too late.

RENOVATION

So, you need a new roof, kitchen, siding, gutters, etc.? You call a contractor (licensed, of course), and he comes out a gives you a price. A price for what? Did you get the type of shingle, cabinet, etc., that he will put on? Did your contractor include roof sheathing if needed? What about gutters once a roof is put on (are you putting the old ones back on), etc., etc. A “home inspector” can come out and review your bid (preferably 3 bids) to make sure all the pieces are there and that your product is at least mid-grade for the money your investing. You want to make sure everything is in writing. You don’t want to hire a contractor and then be told, “oh, you want roof sheathing, that will be an extra.”It would also be a good idea if your home inspector came out before the final money being paid to the contractor (to make sure everything was done according to the contract, permits were pulled, etc.). Once you give a contractor all his money and you find something not done right a few weeks later, it is often tough to get them back to fix those small items.

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PROBLEM ASSESSMENT

Oh my gosh!!! My basement is leaking. My house is going to fall down!!! What have I done buying this house? I better call a basement contractor to come and fix my walls. HOLD EVERYTHING!! Doesn’t it make more sense to have an independent expert who is NOT GOING to perform the work to come out and evaluate the condition for you?

THIS IS A TRUE STORY

I received a phone call from a gentleman who invested $7,000.00 in repairing a leaky foundation, paid the contractor $5,400.00, was ready to cut the final check, and the leak surfaced at the same spot before the repairs were made. He called me, and I went out to evaluate the situation and found that new gutters were installed when the roof was re-done. The contractor relocated the downspout into a front attached brick flowerbox, which collected water next to the house. The addition of a simple downspout extension or relocating that downspout (for approx. $65.00) would have remedied the “leak condition” (and did).

ARE YOU BUILDING/BUYING A NEW HOUSE?

If it’s new and pretty, there’s no problem. WRONG!!! The difference between a new and used home is that with a new house, many times the problems have not yet surfaced, and doesn’t it make sense to have someone familiar with construction techniques to inspect the house during construction and before closing to bring any of those possible future problems to light.

On this subject, we have received calls six months after occupancy when people say, “I can’t get my contractor back out to the house, I have no screens for my windows,” or “I moved in my house during the winter months and now that the snow has melted I have ponding water in different places.” These issues would be recorded on a report, and money could be held in escrow until everything required is done correctly. When you’re ready to move into your home in January, you do not think of ponding water or screens; you are more worried about the dirty shoes on your clean carpets and floors. These are just a few common scenarios that my office encounters could have been resolved before they turned into a “nightmare.” Think before you react. Don’t panic. Your house isn’t going to fall. Just make the right decisions before you invest your hard-earned money.

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