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Skipping a Home Inspection to Get The House!!!

The current market is forcing many people to skip their home inspection clause for fear that they may lose their dream house. In some cases it isn’t even their dream house but the only house they haven’t been turned down on. It is a very finicky market and it is very tough to find a home and have your offer accepted. I have heard many people tell me they have put offers in on multiple homes only to have them turned down because they included the home inspection clause. When you are faced with such uncertainty in a sellers market such as we have today it can create an atmosphere of desperation. You need to move. Your house is sold and closing date is coming up. You will do whatever it takes to get a house…any house. So you take the risk and skip the home inspection, go in over asking price and your offer is accepted. Now what? What risk have you taken? Well in most cases, 90%, you have purchased a home with typical maintenance concerns. Nothing really out of the ordinary. However, 10% of the homes have larger issues. I will share two stories from recent inspections.

  1. A couple with their young daughter purchased a home without an inspection and had me come in to do a comprehensive inspection the day after they took possession to provide a list of things that they needed to do or repair. Throughout the inspection there were typical items for maintenance and repairs. Nothing surprising for the age of the home. We talked about the maintenance items and I got to know the couple a bit as we progressed. We arrived in the master bathroom which contained a beautiful two person jacuzzi tub. The tub was filled and jets tested and everything was working fine. I continued the inspection, finished with the attic and proceeded to begin the Thermal Scan looking for any leaks. When we arrived on the main floor we found that all of the water from the tub was coming through the ceiling and light fixture in the living room, landing on the beautiful hardwood floors and continuing on down into the basement. In this case their ceilings, hardwood floors, walls in main floor family room and basement and carpets in the basement had to be torn out, everything dried out and repairs completed. All this because the drain for the tub was disconnected. Had they had their home inspection prior to purchasing this would not be their problem. Unfortunately, they were supposed to move in the next day but were unable to due to the repairs required. It should be noted that testing all plumbing fixtures in a home is part of a home inspection. Total cost for repairs exceeded $15k.
  2. A gentleman contacted me to inspect a house he purchased without inspection a few months earlier. He was concerned because he was seeing water stains and mold in his master bathroom ceiling. When I arrived he informed me that the house had been a flip and the contractor he purchased it from assured him that everything in the home had been done to code and inspected. This included the roof, plumbing, electrical etc. When I got on the roof, the front portion which was visible from the road looked in OK condition. Would need to be replaced in the next year or two but OK. The rear of the house, however, should have been replaced at least two or three years before this. The rear of the house was facing southwest which typically deals with the most exposure to the elements. There were missing and torn shingles and the ones that were there were curled and deteriorated so bad that they would not be holding back much water. The contractor he bought the home from assured him the roof had been inspected. Once inside the house there were typical things but nothing out of the ordinary. When I reached the second floor it was clear there was mold in the ceilings and water leaks from the roof along the entire back portion of the home. When I entered the attic there was extensive water damage, half of the insulation was missing, all of the potlights were incorrect for application near insulation, all of the wiring was not done to code, the bathroom vents were discharging into the attic instead of outside and there was mold everywhere on the sheathing. So much for the contractors assurances that it was all inspected. Total cost for all of the repairs required exceeded $35k.

It is typically a limited risk when going through with a transaction without an inspection but always be aware, you could be purchasing one of the 10% of homes that have some serious issues.

 

Things to ask your prospective home inspector….

What you should ask your home inspector before hiring him/her

  1. How much experience do you have?

    1. Be sure you hire someone with plenty of experience. Being certified as a home inspector is great but certification cannot come close to hands on experience. Defect recognition cannot be taught in a classroom. It comes only from doing the job and great on site training.
    2. The team at 4Sight Inspections Inc. have a combined 40 years of real, hands on home inspection experience.
  2. Do you have insurance?

    1. If you hire a home inspector be sure they carry both Errors and Omissions insurance as well as General Liability. Feel free to ask for proof of insurance as well. Any inspection company that carries it will have no hesitation in showing you their documentation.
    2. 4Sight Inspections Inc. carries $2,000,000 General Liability and 1,000,000 Errors and Omissions
  3. What do you cover in your inspection?

    1. A home inspection should be comprehensive covering all aspects and components in the home.
    2. A 4Sight Inspections Inc. home inspection covers everything in and out of the home that is visible and accessible.
  4. Do you climb on the roof?

    1. A good home inspector will climb on the roof so long as it does not pose a risk to him/her. Concerns such as how steep or how high the roof is or if there is snow, ice or frost may keep the home inspector from climbing and walking on the roof.
    2. At 4Sight Inspections Inc. we climb on and walk on approximately 60% of roof structures. The other 40% are not walked on due to the above listed safety concerns.
  5. Do you go INTO the attic?

    1. A good home inspector will go into the attic and do a full walk around so long as it is safe to do so. Concerns such as asbestos (vermiculite) insulation, tight space for maneuvering and structural problems may keep an inspector from entering.
    2. At 4Sight Inspections Inc. we climb into approximately 95% of attics.
  6. Do you belong to any associations and what are your designations?

    1. A good home inspector will belong to one of many Home Inspection Associations. The better associations are OAHI, CANNACHI, CAHPI and InterNACHI
    2. All 4Sight Inspection Inc. Inspectors are members of InterNACHI and their membership is required to always remain in good standing. Each 4Sight Inspections Inc. Home Inspector holds the designation of Certified Master Inspector or Certified Professional Inspector.
  7. Do you offer any kind of guarantee on your work?

    1. A home inspection company that believes in their work will have no problem in guaranteeing they will not miss anything.
    2. At 4Sight Inspections you receive our exclusive $1,000.00 guarantee that if we miss something that could have been seen and should have been documented as a defect then we will pay up to $1,000.00 to fix the issue.
  8. How long will your home inspection take?

    1. A home inspection for a high rise condo will typically be about 1 hour. A mid unit town home 1.5 to 2.5 hours. An end unit townhome, semi detached or detached home should take 2 to 3 hours. These are approximate times of course. The actual time taken is dictated by the number of defects found in the home that require documentation.
  9. What kind of report will I receive?

    1. There are several forms of reports available. CD with digital report, printed report on site, digital report as an email attachment and digital report linked to a secure server.
    2. 4Sight Inspections Inc. uses the latest technology. All reporting is done through an app on our smart phones. The data is then synchronized with our secure server. Each report is scrutinized for errors, arrows and circles added to photo’s where necessary and then emailed via a link to the secure server. Each report is interactive and contains upwards of 100 digital photo’s from throughout the home.
  10. When will I receive my report?

    1. The answer could range from same day to 3 days typically
    2. From 4Sight Inspections Inc. you always receive your report same day and in many cases in as little as 1 hour after the inspection completes.

You have to be comfortable with the home inspection company and the home inspector that you choose. They are essentially giving you the thumbs up or thumbs down on the biggest purchase of your life. Be sure you are informed about who you are hiring.

Asbestos

Asbestos In Your Home

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a mineral fiber that can be positively identified only with a special type of microscope. There are several types of asbestos fibers. In the past, asbestos was added to a variety of products to strengthen them and to provide heat insulation and fire resistance. InterNACHI inspectors can supplement their knowledge with the information offered in this guide.

How Can Asbestos Affect My Health?

From studies of people who were exposed to asbestos in factories and shipyards, we know that breathing high levels of asbestos fibers can lead to an increased risk of lung cancer in the forms of mesothelioma, which is a cancer of the lining of the chest and the abdominal cavity, and asbestosis, in which the lungs become scarred with fibrous tissue.

The risk of lung cancer and mesothelioma increase with the number of fibers inhaled. The risk of lung cancer from inhaling asbestos fibers is also greater if you smoke. People who get asbestosis have usually been exposed to high levels of asbestos for a long time. The symptoms of these diseases do not usually appear until about 20 to 30 years after the first exposure to asbestos.

Most people exposed to small amounts of asbestos, as we all are in our daily lives, do not develop these health problems. However, if disturbed, asbestos material may release asbestos fibers, which can be inhaled into the lungs. The fibers can remain there for a long time, increasing the risk of disease. Asbestos material that would crumble easily if handled, or that has been sawed, scraped, or sanded into a powder, is more likely to create a health hazard.

Where Can I Find Asbestos and When Can it Be a Problem?

Most products made today do not contain asbestos. Those few products made which still contain asbestos that could be inhaled are required to be labeled as such. However, until the 1970s, many types of building products and insulation materials used in homes contained asbestos. Common products that might have contained asbestos in the past, and conditions which may release fibers, include:

  • steam pipes, boilers and furnace ducts insulated with an asbestos blanket or asbestos paper tape. These materials may release asbestos fibers if damaged, repaired, or removed improperly;
  • resilient floor tiles (vinyl asbestos, asphalt and rubber), the backing on vinyl sheet flooring, and adhesives used for installing floor tile. Sanding tiles can release fibers, and so may scraping or sanding the backing of sheet flooring during removal;
  • cement sheet, millboard and paper used as insulation around furnaces and wood-burning stoves. Repairing or removing appliances may release asbestos fibers, and so may cutting, tearing, sanding, drilling, or sawing insulation;
  • door gaskets in furnaces, wood stoves and coal stoves. Worn seals can release asbestos fibers during use;
  • soundproofing or decorative material sprayed on walls and ceilings. Loose, crumbly or water-damaged material may release fibers, and so will sanding, drilling or scraping the material;
  • patching and joint compounds for walls and ceilings, and textured paints. Sanding, scraping, or drilling these surfaces may release asbestos fibers;
  • asbestos cement roofing, shingles and siding. These products are not likely to release asbestos fibers unless sawed, dilled or cut;
  • artificial ashes and embers sold for use in gas-fired fireplaces, and other older household products, such as fireproof gloves, stove-top pads, ironing board covers and certain hairdryers; and
  • automobile brake pads and linings, clutch facings and gaskets.

Where Asbestos Hazards May Be Found in the Home

  • Some roofing and siding shingles are made of asbestos cement.
  • Houses built between 1930 and 1950 may have asbestos as insulation.
  • Asbestos may be present in textured paint and in patching compounds used on wall and ceiling joints. Their use was banned in 1977.
  • Artificial ashes and embers sold for use in gas-fired fireplaces may contain asbestos.
  • Older products, such as stove-top pads, may have some asbestos compounds.
  • Walls and floors around wood-burning stoves may be protected with asbestos paper, millboard or cement sheets.
  • Asbestos is found in some vinyl floor tiles and the backing on vinyl sheet flooring and adhesives.
  • Hot water and steam pipes in older houses may be coated with an asbestos material or covered with an asbestos blanket or tape.
  • Oil and coal furnaces and door gaskets may have asbestos insulation.

What Should Be Done About Asbestos in the Home?

If you think asbestos may be in your home, don’t panic.  Usually, the best thing to do is to leave asbestos material that is in good condition alone. Generally, material in good condition will not release asbestos fibers. There is no danger unless the asbestos is disturbed and fibers are released and then inhaled into the lungs. Check material regularly if you suspect it may contain asbestos. Don’t touch it, but look for signs of wear or damage, such as tears, abrasions or water damage. Damaged material may release asbestos fibers. This is particularly true if you often disturb it by hitting, rubbing or handling it, or if it is exposed to extreme vibration or air flow. Sometimes, the best way to deal with slightly damaged material is to limit access to the area and not touch or disturb it. Discard damaged or worn asbestos gloves, stove-top pads and ironing board covers. Check with local health, environmental or other appropriate agencies to find out proper handling and disposal procedures. If asbestos material is more than slightly damaged, or if you are going to make changes in your home that might disturb it, repair or removal by a professional is needed. Before you have your house remodeled, find out whether asbestos materials are present.

How to Identify Materials that Contain Asbestos

You can’t tell whether a material contains asbestos simply by looking at it, unless it is labeled. If in doubt, treat the material as if it contains asbestos, or have it sampled and analyzed by a qualified professional. A professional should take samples for analysis, since a professional knows what to look for, and because there may be an increased health risk if fibers are released. In fact, if done incorrectly, sampling can be more hazardous than leaving the material alone. Taking samples yourself is not recommended. If you nevertheless choose to take the samples yourself, take care not to release asbestos fibers into the air or onto yourself. Material that is in good condition and will not be disturbed (by remodeling, for example) should be left alone. Only material that is damaged or will be disturbed should be sampled. Anyone who samples asbestos-containing materials should have as much information as possible on the handling of asbestos before sampling and, at a minimum, should observe the following procedures:

  • Make sure no one else is in the room when sampling is done.
  • Wear disposable gloves or wash hands after sampling.
  • Shut down any heating or cooling systems to minimize the spread of any released fibers.
  • Do not disturb the material any more than is needed to take a small sample.
  • Place a plastic sheet on the floor below the area to be sampled.
  • Wet the material using a fine mist of water containing a few drops of detergent before taking the sample. The water/detergent mist will reduce the release of asbestos fibers.
  • Carefully cut a piece from the entire depth of the material using a small knife, corer or other sharp object. Place the small piece into a clean container (a 35-mm film canister, small glass or plastic vial, or high-quality resealable plastic bag).
  • Tightly seal the container after the sample is in it.
  • Carefully dispose of the plastic sheet. Use a damp paper towel to clean up any material on the outside of the container or around the area sampled. Dispose of asbestos materials according to state and local procedures.
  • Label the container with an identification number and clearly state when and where the sample was taken.
  • Patch the sampled area with the smallest possible piece of duct tape to prevent fiber release.
  • Send the sample to an asbestos analysis laboratory accredited by the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Your state or local health department may also be able to help.

How to Manage an Asbestos Problem

If the asbestos material is in good shape and will not be disturbed, do nothing! If it is a problem, there are two types of corrections: repair and removal. Repair usually involves either sealing or covering asbestos material. Sealing (encapsulation) involves treating the material with a sealant that either binds the asbestos fibers together or coats the material so that fibers are not released. Pipe, furnace and boiler insulation can sometimes be repaired this way. This should be done only by a professional trained to handle asbestos safely. Covering (enclosure) involves placing something over or around the material that contains asbestos to prevent the release of fibers. Exposed insulated piping may be covered with a protective wrap or jacket. With any type of repair, the asbestos remains in place. Repair is usually cheaper than removal, but it may make removal of asbestos later (if found to be necessary) more difficult and costly. Repairs can either be major or minor. Major repairs must be done only by a professional trained in methods for safely handling asbestos. Minor repairs should also be done by professionals, since there is always a risk of exposure to fibers when asbestos is disturbed.

Repairs

Doing minor repairs yourself is not recommended, since improper handling of asbestos materials can create a hazard where none existed. If you nevertheless choose to do minor repairs, you should have as much information as possible on the handling of asbestos before doing anything. Contact your state or local health department or regional EPA office for information about asbestos training programs in your area. Your local school district may also have information about asbestos professionals and training programs for school buildings. Even if you have completed a training program, do not try anything more than minor repairs. Before undertaking minor repairs, carefully examine the area around the damage to make sure it is stable. As a general rule, any damaged area which is bigger than the size of your hand is not considered a minor repair.

Before undertaking minor repairs, be sure to follow all the precautions described previously for sampling asbestos material. Always wet the asbestos material using a fine mist of water containing a few drops of detergent. Commercial products designed to fill holes and seal damaged areas are available. Small areas of material, such as pipe insulation, can be covered by wrapping a special fabric, such as re-wettable glass cloth, around it. These products are available from stores (listed in the telephone directory under “Safety Equipment and Clothing”) which specialize in asbestos materials and safety items.

Removal is usually the most expensive method and, unless required by state or local regulations, should be the last option considered in most situations. This is because removal poses the greatest risk of fiber release. However, removal may be required when remodeling or making major changes to your home that will disturb asbestos material. Also, removal may be called for if asbestos material is damaged extensively and cannot be otherwise repaired. Removal is complex and must be done only by a contractor with special training. Improper removal may actually increase the health risks to you and your family.

Asbestos Professionals: Who Are They and What Can They Do?

Asbestos professionals are trained in handling asbestos material. The type of professional will depend on the type of product and what needs to be done to correct the problem. You may hire a general asbestos contractor or, in some cases, a professional trained to handle specific products containing asbestos.

Asbestos professionals can conduct inspections, take samples of suspected material, assess its condition, and advise on the corrections that are needed, as well as who is qualified to make these corrections. Once again, material in good condition need not be sampled unless it is likely to be disturbed. Professional correction or abatement contractors repair and remove asbestos materials.

Some firms offer combinations of testing, assessment and correction. A professional hired to assess the need for corrective action should not be connected with an asbestos-correction firm. It is better to use two different firms so that there is no conflict of interest. Services vary from one area to another around the country.

The federal government offers training courses for asbestos professionals around the country. Some state and local governments also offer or require training or certification courses. Ask asbestos professionals to document their completion of federal or state-approved training. Each person performing work in your home should provide proof of training and licensing in asbestos work, such as completion of EPA-approved training. State and local health departments or EPA regional offices may have listings of licensed professionals in your area.

If you have a problem that requires the services of asbestos professionals, check their credentials carefully. Hire professionals who are trained, experienced, reputable and accredited — especially if accreditation is required by state or local laws. Before hiring a professional, ask for references from previous clients. Find out if they were satisfied. Ask whether the professional has handled similar situations. Get cost estimates from several professionals, as the charges for these services can vary.

Though private homes are usually not covered by the asbestos regulations that apply to schools and public buildings, professionals should still use procedures described in federal or state-approved training. Homeowners should be alert to the chance of misleading claims by asbestos consultants and contractors. There have been reports of firms incorrectly claiming that asbestos materials in homes must be replaced. In other cases, firms have encouraged unnecessary removal or performed it improperly. Unnecessary removal is a waste of money. Improper removal may actually increase the health risks to you and your family. To guard against this, know what services are available and what procedures and precautions are needed to do the job properly.

In addition to general asbestos contractors, you may select a roofing, flooring or plumbing contractor trained to handle asbestos when it is necessary to remove and replace roofing, flooring, siding or asbestos-cement pipe that is part of a water system. Normally, roofing and flooring contractors are exempt from state and local licensing requirements because they do not perform any other asbestos-correction work.

Asbestos-containing automobile brake pads and linings, clutch facings and gaskets should be repaired and replaced only by a professional using special protective equipment. Many of these products are now available without asbestos.

If you hire an inspector who is trained in asbestos inspection:

  • Make sure that the inspection will include a complete visual examination. If asbestos is suspected in the home he/she will recommend it be tested for asbestos. If asbestos is present, the testing company should provide a written evaluation describing its location and extent of damage, and give recommendations for correction or prevention.
  • Make sure a remediation firm makes frequent site visits if it is hired to assure that a contractor follows proper procedures and requirements. The inspector may recommend and perform checks after the correction to assure that the area has been properly cleaned.

If you hire a corrective-action contractor:

  • Check with your local air pollution control board, the local agency responsible for worker safety, and the Better Business Bureau. Ask if the firm has had any safety violations. Find out if there are legal actions filed against it.
  • Insist that the contractor use the proper equipment to do the job. The workers must wear approved respirators, gloves and other protective clothing.
  • Before work begins, get a written contract specifying the work plan, cleanup, and the applicable federal, state and local regulations which the contractor must follow (such as notification requirements and asbestos disposal procedures). Contact your state and local health departments, EPA regional office, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s regional office to find out what the regulations are. Be sure the contractor follows local asbestos removal and disposal laws. At the end of the job, get written assurance from the contractor that all procedures have been followed.
  • Assure that the contractor avoids spreading or tracking asbestos dust into other areas of your home. They should seal off the work area from the rest of the house using plastic sheeting and duct tape, and also turn off the heating and air conditioning system. For some repairs, such as pipe insulation removal, plastic bags may be adequate. They must be sealed with tape and properly disposed of when the job is complete.
  • Make sure the work site is clearly marked as a hazardous area. Do not allow household members or pets into the area until work is completed.
  • Insist that the contractor apply a wetting agent to the asbestos material with a hand sprayer that creates a fine mist before removal. Wet fibers do not float in the air as easily as dry fibers and will be easier to clean up.
  • Make sure the contractor does not break removed material into smaller pieces. This could release asbestos fibers into the air. Pipe insulation was usually installed in pre-formed blocks and should be removed in complete pieces.
  • Upon completion, assure that the contractor cleans the area well with wet mops, wet rags, sponges and/or HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) vacuum cleaners. A regular vacuum cleaner must never be used. Wetting helps reduce the chance of spreading asbestos fibers in the air. All asbestos materials and disposable equipment and clothing used in the job must be placed in sealed, leakproof, and labeled plastic bags. The work site should be visually free of dust and debris. Air monitoring (to make sure there is no increase of asbestos fibers in the air) may be necessary to assure that the contractor’s job is done properly. This should be done by someone not connected with the contractor.

Caution! 

Do not dust, sweep or vacuum debris that may contain asbestos. These actions will disturb tiny asbestos fibers and may release them into the air. Remove dust by wet-mopping or with a special HEPA vacuum cleaner used by trained asbestos contractors.

Home Inspection Estimations

Home Inspection Estimations

During a home inspection I often have people asking me if I can estimate the cost for a repair to a certain component in the home that has been found deficient. In understanding that aside from my years of experience as a home inspector I have also been a part of the contracting and construction world. I do understand the reality of quoting contracting jobs and can easily project what I would quote as a repair cost if I were the contractor. Unfortunately, I am not the contractor…a little more on that later.

There is no real rhyme or reason to the differences in pricing from one contractor to another. To replace a fuse panel with a circuit panel for example, one contractor may quote $1,000 and another may quote $3,000. It would not help you in any way if I were to give you an estimate on your repairs as the price variance is too great between different contractors.

Secondly, there are home inspectors who, upon completing home inspections, have given quotes to new home owners and have been far off the mark. One story I will share is of a home inspector in B.C. Canada who completed a home inspection on a $1.1 million dollar home and found water damage. The home inspector, at the request of the home purchasers, gave an estimate of $20,000 to complete repairs. The actual cost of repairs came to $213,000.

The home owners, as you can guess, were not very happy as they had purchased the home expecting $20,000 in repairs based on the home inspectors estimate. They took the home inspector to court and were awarded $193,000, the difference between the home inspectors estimate and the actual cost of repairs.

If there are concerns in your home it pays to get three quotes from professional contractors. A home inspector is there to complete a home inspection and is normally NOT quailified to estimate repairs. Even if he/she does estimate repair costs be sure you get proper quotes. You will save yourself some grief.

As for me, I am still asked to give estimates but will never put myself or my client in that position

True Home Inspection Service

Home Inspection Service

If you have been through my website and hopefully seen my Home Assure page you would know that one service that is always included with my inspections is what is called a walk-a-way. Essentially, if through my home inspection and based on the contents of my home inspection report you decide to walk away from the deal due to major defects then I will inspect your next home for half price within 90 days.

Although this happens very rarely there is the odd time when I find things that potential buyers do not want to deal with. One such potential home buyer recently went through this. I completed a home inspection for her and through the home inspection there were three major’s.

First was spalling brick. Spalling is the process of brick deterioration. There was evidence of spalling on brickwork at one corner of the garage. Although there was not considerable damage, if it has started then it will continue unless the causes are mitigated. This was not enough for her to walk away….

Second was a sliding foundation. As a home inspector I see many damaged, shifting, cracked and leaking foundations. In this case, the home was finished and the foundation was buried. Behind drywall it could not be determined that there was any shifting. Through my thermal inspection it was determined that there was no leaking however. Then, I got to the garage. Keep in mind the garage is below grade (same level as the basement and the driveway was on a downslope). When I entered the garage I noticed the cinder block walls were all moved inwards just above the concrete pad floor. On closer inspection I found that the entire wall was shifting inward from the external pressures. What makes this worse is you have to assume that behind the finished walls in the basement, the foundation is doing the same thing. Now she is considering walking away.

Third was a moldy attic. From the first glance in the attic the black sheathing gave it away that there was mold. Not a little mold but lots of it. Both the thermal inspection as well as through utilizing a non-intrusive moisture meter determined that the mold was active and there was more than a 30% moisture content in the sheathing. The roof had been done very recently but it was obvious that the roofers had not addressed the leaks that had been there previously. It should be noted that if you have current leaks in your roof and you are having your shingles changed, be sure you have the roofers change your sheathing as well.

So now we have spalling bricks, a sliding foundation and active mold in the attic. Is this enough for you to walk away? It was enough for my client. You can imagine how happy she was very recently when I completed a home inspection at half price on the next house she found and the home inspection was successful.

A home is a difficult choice and when you walk away it can be very disappointing. It is even worse to think that you have to pay for another home inspection when you find another house. I am happy to be able to give people a little good news (a half price inspection) when they are going through the disappointment of losing the house they have chosen. As for my recent client, I am especially happy that she found a home that she can enjoy, share and be happy in.

Inspect Before You List

Inspect Before You List

A home inspection before you list your home for sale, to many people, seems redundant. There are, however, several very valid reasons for a pre-listing home inspection. More and more people are moving towards completing a home inspection before listing. Even real estate agents are often discussing the benefits with their clients.

So, what are the benefits? First, it is important to understand that a pre-listing home inspection benefits all parties involved in a real estate transaction, sellers, purchasers and realtors.

No Renegotiation
Typically, once an agreement has been made on price and details on the purchase of a home the two usual conditions are financing and a home inspection. When a home inspector goes through your property s/he will always find, at the very least, some minor issues. The minor one’s are not typically anything that will be up for renegotiation. However, if the home inspector finds anything that is cause for concern the purchaser will usually attempt to renegotiate price or conditions. You are vulnerable as repairs need to be completed and you have little time to do your homework.
If you have a pre-listing home inspection you are made aware of all defects prior to listing and have the time to get quotes and resolve the defects long before an offer comes in. Now, once an offer is made, even if the purchasers choose to have their own home inspector go through, there will be nothing of consequence for him/her to find, hence, there is no renegotiation.

Deals will not collapse
As unfortunate as it is, some deals fall through. It can be due to defects found in the house or perhaps the purchaser has gotten cold feet and is looking for anything in the report to get out of the deal. If the home inspection is done prior to listing then there is nothing that can be found that would enable the deal to collapse.

Great Selling Point and Part of the Vendors Package
When the agent is putting together the sellers package the home inspection report can be included to show the vendors due diligence in 1. getting an inspection completed and 2. completing the repairs that were required.

Pre-listing home inspections offer clearer deals that are less likely to renegotiate or fall through and it gives the purchasers, vendors and agents peace of mind.

Home Inspections and Maintenance

Home Inspections and Maintenance

Home Inspections and Maintenance. They go hand-in-hand. Each year your home goes through changes through each season. These changes can wreak havoc on different components. A decision to buy a home usually entails a home inspection. Your home inspector will identify deficiencies in the home and clearly show what is critical vs. what is something that can wait. As the home owner it is your choice to follow advice or leave it.

The same holds true for seasonal maintenance.

As a seasoned home inspector I take the time to help my clients understand the importance of seasonal maintenance. In fact, there is a page dedicated to home seasonal maintenance at www.4sightinspections.com/faqs/maintenance.html. This page gives you four season maintenance tips and check lists.

By using tips such as these and performing the seasonal maintenance that your home requires you can mitigate risks that can cost you, the home owner, a great deal of money for repairs later.

Having a home inspection performed every three to five years will further help to mitigate risks. The home inspection will identify areas of risk that the average home owner would not see.

Take the time to take care of your home and your home will take care of you

Knowing Your Home

Knowing Your Home

So I am driving up the road and, as usual, my eyes wonder as I sit at the stop light waiting my turn. Sometimes it’s the car next to me or people walking down the street. More often though I am looking at the houses around me and it is incredible how many homes have asphalt shingles on their roof that are failing.

Yesterday, for example, I was on Markham Road in Scarborough. I look to my left at some fairly new (maybe 10 years old) townhouses. The units all have the same shingles and the same deterioration. Curling, lifting and showing very clear signs of old age (at ten years old they should not be showing these signs, but that is another story). What is worse is several of the units have missing shingles. These shingles may have been torn off in a wind storm but the fact that they are missing indicates that the home owners are most likely getting some water penetration to a certain degree.

This simply underlines the absolute need for you to not only maintain your home but to also know what is happening with your home. Most often home owners see the front of their home when they approach in the car. They may even see part or all of the roof. They see the driveway as they step out of the car, the walkway as they approach the front door, some brick work or siding at the porch and finally the door itself. But ask yourself this…when was the last time you looked closely at your windows? When did you look at the roof from the back of the house? When did you walk around the home and look closely at the foundation?

I am sure most people would answer that it has either been a long time or they have never done it. A home owner once told me that the roof on the house is fine. I asked him how he knows and he stated that it looks fine. So, I asked him to show me and he proceeded to take me to the front of the home where he proudly pointed out the shingles that were in good condition. I had to concur that the roof did in fact look very good. Then I further pointed out to him that his home faced north. The south facing rear of the home receives the most sunlight/elements and therefore would deteriorate faster than the front. We proceeded to the rear of the home, looked up and saw shingles that were….you guessed it, deteriorating.

As a home owner there are many things you can do to prevent damage to your home. There are things that you can look for that will keep your home safe. There are many other things that you will not know to look for and that is where a home inspector and a thorough home inspection comes in. A qualified and experienced home inspector knows what to look for. He/she knows what signs to look for identifying potential and underlying defects. A home inspection is your best defense against high repair costs from unchecked damage.

Home Buyers Remorse

Home Buyers Remorse

Let’s paint a picture. You and your family are growing and need a new, larger home. You see so many and they all seem to blend together. Then, one day, your agent takes you to see a home built in the 1950’s, fully renovated and a charmer. As you are walking up the front step you already know in your heart, “this is home”. Every step through the house confirms it. You are in love. Everything you imagined during your search is here.

You tell your agent you want to make an offer right away. You all hurry back to his/her office and begin writing the offer up. Unfortunately, as he contacts the selling agent he finds that there are already three other offers. You are in a bidding war. It is YOUR new home and you will do whatever it takes to get it!! You offer full asking price and waive the home inspection condition. Are you sure you want to do that? YES, this is your home. It is just a home inspection. You won’t lose the dream house over an inspection.

Three months later. You are moved in. Everything is perfect until the first major rainfall. Now you find that you have leaks in the roof. Even worse, your basement is flooding. Drywall in your ceilings is being saturated, new flooring in the basement is being ruined. Walls in the basement are absorbing water. Thousands of dollars in damages.

Two months later, your daughter is in her room listening to her iPod. She attempts to plug in a device for charging and gets a good shock. Now you find out that many of the outlets in the home are not properly grounded, there is arcing in the breaker panel because it has not been properly wired and aluminum wires have been spliced with copper causing corrosion. Thousands more dollars in repairs.

The buyers remorse has been setting in. Regrets on buying a house with so many needs and so many deficiencies. Regrets on buying a house without a home inspection. The key to living happily in your dream home is to know exactly what you are getting into. Many people can look for details in a home but they are not trained nor do they have the experience of a certified home inspector to find the hidden deficiencies. At 4Sight Home Inspections I take your home inspection very seriously. I go beyond the standards of service prescribed by my home inspection association. I provide service that is above all other home inspectors. By doing this I save you the home buyers remorse and help you to be happy in the home that you choose. Don’t set aside a home inspection over a bidding war. The possible outcome is never worth the risk

Truss Uplift

admin Structure

Truss Uplift

Truss Uplift
I have seen several homes each winter season with the phenomenon called Truss Uplift. This is often very disconcerting to the home owner, however, it is not something that is to be feared. Essentially, what is seen in the home is gaps between the top floor ceilings and the interior walls. These gaps can be as much as two inches in extreme cases. More often that not it is much smaller than that. This phenomenon is often mistaken for settling of the floors which, in turn, lowers the walls from the ceilings. Truss Uplift is exactly the opposite in that the ceiling is actually lifting off the walls.

Trusses, unlike previous building techniques where rafters and ceiling joists were manually crafted, are pre-engineered and pre-fabricated. Engineered trusses are lighter but considerably stronger than their predecessor and are held together with a fastener called gusset plates. When a home is built by modern building standards there is a considerable amount of insulation that is blown into the attic. This covers the bottom chord of the trusses and, in turn, the bottom chord remains dry and warm. The same modern building standards have us creating greater ventilation in the attic leaving the top chords in a cold and often moist (Humid), environment. The cold and moist air causes the top chords to expand while the bottom chords are shrinking due to warm and dry air that they lay in. This causes the bottom chord of the trusses to arch upwards thereby lifting the ceiling off the interior walls.

Although this phenomenon is not aesthetically pleasing there is nothing to be concerned about. It does not cause any structural problems with the home and it will stop occurring when the warmer temperatures arrive. There is no resolution to the problem so calling a contractor in will not help. This is one phenomenon that, unfortunately, you will need to live with. There are methods to minimizing this problem during the construction phase. Once the home is built, however, there are few solutions to hiding the gaps. Some quick tips can be found here. This is only one of many sites that can provide ideas.

Truss Uplift is not always the cause of gaps between walls and ceilings but if it is the cause of yours you can rest assured your home is still safe and sound.