Choose home inspector as carefully as you choose your home
By Bill Modisett
**Home inspectors in Odessa have this advice for homebuyers: Choose the inspector you use as carefully as you do your new home.
Weldon Langley, owner of Langley Home Inspections in Odessa, said it’s important for homebuyers to choose an inspector who will level with them about problems they may be purchasing in their home, particularly if it is not a new home.
There can be electrical issues that can be deadly as well as expensive to correct, Langley said.
“Homeowners will, with all good intent, work on their own place electrically, but if they don’t know what they are doing, it can be very dangerous,” Langley said.
“Electrical conditions cause fires and fires cause deaths,” Langley said.
Another problem, Langley said, comes from a lack of routine maintenance in bathrooms and kitchens.
“People store so many things underneath their kitchen sink — solvents and cleaners and other things,” he said. “All that stuff presents an opportunity for moisture to get behind the wall.”
That can lead to a costly black mold problem, he said.
But there are other problems that are just as serious, he said. Grout around showers, tubs and lavatories that is allowed to dry and chip away lets moisture creep through. Toilets that are not properly maintained can lead to water problems.
Langley said he had seen one report that indicated a normal home inspection can identify problems that cost $3,500-$5,000 to correct.
“Most of it is negligence on the part of homeowners,” Langley said.
“But every time I open a fuse box, I see electrical issues – like new items being wired in that could cause an overload and result in a fire,” he said.
J.D. Cotton, owner of Alexander Pest Control, agreed that choosing a home inspector is one of the most important decisions a prospective homebuyer can make.
Cotton stressed that the choice of an inspector is the homebuyer’s and they should choose an inspector who will give them a complete assessment of the house they are considering.
If they choose a termite inspector, he said, they should work with that inspector and not turn the project over to a third party.
Electrical problems in older homes were also stressed by Glenn Terry of Allstar Home Inspections.
“A lot of those older houses were built with inadequate electrical power,” he said.
In early homes built in Odessa, he said, homes may have been designed with only 50-75 amps of electrical service where nowadays they are typically designed for at least 200 amps.
If a homeowner has “an entire electrical update,” the cost can be $3,000 up to $10,000 or more, Terry said.
Termites are also a common and potentially serious problem, said Lonnie McComas, owner of Advance Test Management Services.
McComas said “every house on my block has had termites” and that termites can cause a lot of damage in a short time.
“Termites can eat a foot of wood a month,” he noted, but they usually are apparent to homeowners since they can eat through paint and leave dirt-covered tunnels on interior walls.
The good aspect in regard to termites, he said, is that if a homebuyer is paying for his home with a loan, a termite inspection is required.
However, McComas said, an inspection for wood-destroying insects usually should be performed at least yearly.
Inspectors contacted said in Odessa the most common problems revealed by home inspections are electrical issues, plumbing problems and termites. **