Originally Posted By: gromicko
This post was automatically imported from our archived forum.
By Sherri Camp
A single mother is looking for a home for her and her young son. She finds a great house in a wonderful school district. The house has a pool, which she knows her son will enjoy, and it is listed at a reduced price. She cannot believe she has stumbled upon such a terrific deal.
Since the home is older and just to be on the safe side, the mother decides to have the home inspected. After all, buying a home is a major purchase, and an inspection would offer her assurance that this terrific deal is all that it seems. She hires Frank Magdefrau of DeSoto Home Inspection Services.
Upon arriving at the home, the first thing Magdefrau notices are these massive oak trees in the yard. They are beautiful, but he sees where some of the branches have been sawed off. A bad sign. Next, Magdefrau visually inspects the ridge of the roof from the driveway. He spots a dip in the middle of the ridge. A really bad sign. He suspects that some tree branches have fallen onto the roof and caused damage. However, Magdefrau wants to verify this before informing his customer.
Magdefrau continues his inspection by going into the attic. It is extremely cluttered, with boxes piled almost to the roof. Being cautious and thorough, Magdefrau moves all boxes that are obstructing his ability to inspect the roof. His suspicions were confirmed. He finds severe structural damage to the rafters and decking of the roof, apparently caused by the straight-line wind storm that hit the Mid South last summer .
Instead of having the damage repaired, the owner of the home had taken 2 x 4's and wedged them underneath the broken rafters and sagging decking. Of course, he did not disclose any of this damage, although he is legally obligated to do so. Instead, the owner advertised that the house had a new, structurally sound roof.
Magdefrau hated to disappoint this single mother, but he was glad to know that he had spared her from being taken advantage of by a dishonest seller. The damage would have gone unnoticed if she had not hired a home inspector. Had this mother bought the house, she would inevitably have spent thousands of dollars repairing the damage herself. She was grateful to Magdefrau for saving her that money as well as the heartache and disappointment that she would have surely suffered.
Should everyone who is considering purchasing a home have an inspection? "Absolutely," says Magdefrau. A home inspection is defined as a "thorough, in-depth visual examination of the structure and mechanical components of the home performed by trained professionals," according to the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors. "We go where most buyers don't," says Magdefrau with a grin.
Most people who are buying a home with residents still living there are reluctant to invade the family's personal space by inspecting their closets, looking under their sinks for leaks, and crawling into their attic in search of scorched wires. However, this is the job of a home inspector. He offers a set of non-biased, expert eyes whose judgment isn't clouded by aesthetics or an extreme desire to purchase the home. He simply assures that your purchase is a sound one.
Most people see the need to have older homes inspected, but what about new homes? Everything should be perfect, right? However, as Magdefrau points out, "New homes are built by people, and people make mistakes." Sometimes severe ones.
One costly mistake that Magdefrau has encountered is insulation that was installed upside down. Obviously, the climate of the living quarters is not being maintained, and the result is enormously high utility bills.
In addition, this mistake causes moisture to accumulate in the attic or crawlspace. Eventually, mold will start to grow and the wood will start to rot. Although it will take a few years for the damage to manifest, it is a serious, expensive mistake that should never happen, but does.
Another common mistake of new homes is the height of the landscaping mulch. Homes with slab foundations have weepholes in the brick. Their purpose is to allow air to flow within the walls and around the foundation, keeping all wood and insulation dry. Many landscapers cover these holes with mulch, cutting off the air supply. Once again, moisture builds up which leads to wood rot, damaged insulation, and possibly electrical shortages.
That is if the termites don't get there first. Mulch over a weephole provides an excellent route for termites who want to munch on your house. Once you notice you have termites, it is usually too late and the damage is already done. Therefore, it vitally important to avoid this problem and make sure the weepholes of your home are fully exposed and breathing properly.
When choosing a home inspector, Magdefrau stresses two items that are essential. "Make sure the inspector is certified and licensed in your state, and that he carries both general liability insurance and errors and omissions insurance." He also recommends that the person be a member of the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors. This is crucial because all members must follow the Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics set forth by the association. Customers are guaranteed that a NACHI inspector is knowledgeable and professional. Anyone can visit their website, www.nachi.org for a list of inspectors in their area.
According to Magdefrau, a typical home inspection should last two to four hours. It should include all structural elements (foundation, roof, walls, floors), all mechanical systems (plumbing and drainage, electrical, ventilation, heating and cooling, hot water system), all appliances, and all exterior features (siding, gutters, windows, chimneys, sidewalks, driveways). Magdefrau also stresses that the inspector should encourage the buyer and seller to be present during the inspection. This way both parties are made aware of any problems and know that they are legitimate.
Whether buying or selling a home, an inspection is always a wise decision. It gives the buyer peace of mind knowing their purchase is worthwhile. It also makes selling a home easier because buyers know that you are honest and confident about the integrity of your home. Not only does it save the buyer money by pointing out future costly repairs, it also confirms that the home is a safe environment for you and your family. In all cases, a home inspection is money well spent.
I much prefer email to private messages.