An excerpt from an article written by Tarek El Moussa of 'Flip or Flop'.
4. Bypassing a home inspection because the house looks perfect
One time at the start of my career, when I was trying anything and everything, a homeowner called me with a proposition. He had an old home he'd just inherited, and no cash for renovations. He would put up the property, I would put up the cash to renovate, and the profit we would earn when we sold would be split 50/50.
We started ... and it was one thing after another. The electric system needed to be totally replaced. The pipes were rusted. Then we found termites. It got to the point where I'd feel nervous whenever my phone rang. When we finally sold, I lost money. I'd been certain it would be a sure thing.
Moral of this story? Hire a professional home inspector to carefully examine all the details and bones of the home before you buy. With a home, it’s what’s underneath that counts.
Just remember, building inspectors look for faults: It's their job. So don’t get upset when you see their 40-page report. Pay attention to the big-ticket items, which include the electric wiring, plumbing, foundation, and things that concern health, like old building materials such as lead and asbestos.
This is why home inspections are a major contingency in most home purchases. One of my clients was so excited about a place, she decided to forgo the inspection contingency on her offer. The good news: Her offer was accepted. The bad: There wound up being an issue with the foundation that cost her an extra $45,000 to fix.
5. Assuming new construction is in great shape
One time, I put an offer on a new house being built in Tustin, CA. Since it was new construction, the buyers didn’t think that an inspection was necessary. I told them it was worth the few hundred dollars, and insisted. We ended up finding that the builder had faulty plumbing ... which was found to be the case for the entire newly built neighborhood!
Even with new builds, do your due diligence.
Many homeowners cover their electrical main panels with pictures, enclosures, or paint the same color as the wall. Electrical codes do not allow any of these practices. In reality, the "code police" are not going to show up and issue a ticket. Regardless of code, you want the panels visible and easily accessible in case of emergency. You need to think of fire fighters, renters, or guests that might not have any idea where the main panel is hidden. Is it really worth the risk to be cosmetically appealing to hide a panel?
Always be aware of any remodels done to the home by the owner. Many people watch TV and get on the internet and think they are qualified to do remodels. I recently inspected a kitchen that had been remodeled by a homeowner. They installed new cabinets and placed a cabinet on top of a HVAC register. Instead of ducting to the outside of the cabinet they just removed the register and had the air flow deadheading against the bottom of the cabinet. It does not take a Mike Holmes to realize this is wrong in so many ways. Without a diligent home inspector like me this would have never been realized by the potential buyer. Just another example of the importance of hiring a good home inspector.
We are in the ultimate service business, so when we get a review like the following it is very appreciated.
"To Whom It May Concern"
"When we decided to build a future retirement home in Myrtle Beach, SC, we pondered whether we would need a home inspection service since we were doing new construction. I have used a home inspector on a new build in the past and valued their services greatly in keeping the builder honest in making sure everything comes out perfectly as much as possible. Since I was new to Myrtle Beach coming from Cleveland, the first place looked to find a trusted professional was on Angie's List. I read the reviews on Dale Herendeen at WC Home Inspection and called him up. I was surprised when he answered.
I found him to be very knowledgeable and he gave me a lot of pointers how he could help in the new construction process starting with a pre-drywall inspection and then final walk through inspection prior to closing. Dale was the ultimate professional, and very friendly as well. He found numerous items that could be improved and/or needed rework, even items that I might have overlooked. The end result would be a house that would surpass my expectations.
So you if are looking to buy an existing house or a new build, don't hesitate to contact Dale Herendeen at WC Home Inspection. The small fee that he charges will pay back great dividends in your home satisfaction!"
A busy week with 5 inspections and all of our clients were pleased with our service. We did homes in Roebuck, North Myrtle Beach, Rock Hill, and two in Myrtle Beach. Keep in mind that home inspections before listing the property could save you some trouble and possibly put money in your pocket as a seller. Several of the owners would have been well served by having a pre-listing inspection. Keep us in mind for your home inspection needs in South Carolina.
JANUARY 2, 2018 MIKE HOLMES
They say they don’t build them like they used to, but even the most well-built homes will eventually start to show their age. Every material has a lifespan, and as a homeowner, it’s your job to understand what signs to look for that indicate an aging home, so you can step in and make a few small home maintenance fixes to prevent long-term problems.
1. Breaking Brick and Mortar
Brick is a popular exterior material for a house. It’s a classic look that people associate with strength and integrity - but you need to be careful. For older brick homes, you need to keep an eye out for brick that’s starting to break apart (which is known as spalling).
When moisture penetrates brick, it can freeze, causing the brick to expand and crack, giving you your spalling. You can’t repair brick that’s already begun to spall, and instead need to replace it with new brick and mortar.
Speaking of mortar, eventually it will start to break down - letting more moisture penetrate the brick, speeding up the spalling process. So what do you do when your mortar starts to break down? You’ll need to scrape out all the old stuff and replace it with newly mixed mortar, sealing any gaps in between your bricks. This process is called tuck pointing.
2. Damaged Shingles and Pulling Gutters
Your home’s exterior is its first line of defence against the elements, and after years of wear and tear, you might notice some weak spots that need some repair.
Your roof will take the biggest beating from the weather - and you want to look out for things like asphalt shingles that have curled edges, are peeling or entirely missing. These are a sign that it’s time to install a new roof. I like metal roofs because they typically last longer than your traditional asphalt shingle.
Look for gutters that are pulling away from your roofline; this is a sign that the fasteners that hold it to the fascia have deteriorated with time. Replacing the hangers is a fairly inexpensive task, but if you’re doing it yourself, always keep safety in mind when you’re working at heights.
3. Water Leaks
Look for evidence of leaks or water stains around the interior of your home, especially beneath bathroom areas. This could indicate a plumbing system that’s made it to the end of its lifespan. For visible piping, look for any rusted or corroded materials - a sure sign that it’s time to call in a plumber. You want to be proactive with your plumbing and deal with things before you spring a major leak.
If your property uses a septic tank, make sure your system is getting inspected and pumped regularly. You can’t use your nose as a guide here - if something starts to stink, you’ve already got a problem.
Wear and tear is normal for an older home. By checking for these signs of aging, you'll be able to make small fixes now instead of being tempted to rush major repairs later.
About the Author Mike Holmes, professional contractor and TV host, is working with Associa to refine the standards and protocols that today’s Homeowner’s Associations use to Make It Right™ for their homeowners. He brings more than 35 years of experience in renovations, construction, and inspection services, and is best known as the contractor and host of “Holmes on Homes” and “Holmes Makes It Right” where he rescues homeowners from repair and renovation disasters.
On a periodic basis I will sending out some thoughts on current issues I am seeing out in the field. Today I will discuss existing homes homes and buyers expectations. Also, we will discuss pre-listing inspections as the two go hand in hand.
Many of the buyers of existing homes in the Grand Strand area are expecting existing homes to be in perfect condition or the same as new construction from a cosmetic standpoint. In many cases this is an unrealistic expectation but this does not seem to matter to the buyer. Many of these buyers are retirees leaving homes that they have spent time, energy, and money to make perfect in their eyes. Or they have viewed cosmetically perfect new construction in the area. Remember perception is reality.
They arrive here and start looking at both existing homes and new construction. If they decide on existing and have a home inspection completed there are typically concerns. Many of the concerns are not costly to repair and can be handled by a qualified handyman. Also, many buyers are unable to decide what items to focus on for pre-closing repair and instead want everything fixed that the inspector found or want a totally unrealistic price reduction.
I have worked hard to provide my clients the realistic costs to repair the items of concerns and provide references of reasonable pros that can address the concerns. Also, we stress the overall condition of the home and try to divert the focus from the fix it list. As you all know many of these concerns are easily repaired and nominal cost especially when considered versus the price of the home. In other words, chump change.
A way to avoid some of these issues is a pre-listing inspection. I can complete an inspection and provide a list of items that need addressed. In addition, we can help find the good pros to make the repairs. If your seller decides not to have any or all of the repairs done at least they are not surprised just before closing. Also, if the repairs are completed by the owner, they improve the realtors negotiating position and likely puts or keeps money in the sellers and listing agent pocket.
Sorry for the rambling but I believe it is a pertinent subject. Just for some perspective, I also work in the Rock Hill/York/Lancaster area and this is not as big as an issue in that market.
Have a great week and always call me if you have questions or need an inspection.
This week we inspected properties in Little River and North Myrtle Beach, SC. Both clients gave us excellent reviews on HomeAdvisor. Next week we will be inspecting 13 homes for an investor and helping with a final walkthrough on new construction. It will be busy. Keep us in mind for any home inspection related needs.
Getting ready to be busy. Going to Surfside Beach tomorrow, Little River on Saturday, and Pawleys Island on Sunday. We are the best home inspection service on the Grand Strand.
If you are getting ready to sell your home think about the heat pump and hot water heater. They are definitely not eye candy but systems in poor condition will likely cause you concerns during negotiations. I recommend having the heat pump system serviced by a HVAC technician before listing and document so you can show the buyer. If it beyond servicing consider putting in a new, energy efficient system. It will help the selling process to go much more smoothly.
My only comment on hot water heaters is if they are old and corroded they should be replaced. Any competent home inspector will note a corroded hot water heater in their report. A nice new hot water will be much more appealing to buyers.
These recommendations will make the selling process go much more smoothly and possibly but money in your pocket.
I am a full-time home inspector servicing all of South Carolina.