Secrets of a Solid Home Inspection

Posted: 07/10/11

Selling, buying or just putting a house on the market may raise many questions. Can I get a good price? Are there any problems I should fix prior to listing my house? If I buy this house, will I encounter problems that may make me regret my decision?

The sale price of a house depends on many factors, including the market, location, size of the property, age of the house, condition of the structure, what appliances might be included in the sale and even how nicely the property and building were landscaped and decorated – just to name a few.

Having a qualified professional inspect your house prior to putting it on the market – or for prospective buyers, before closing on a sale – can help guide your decision. But many homeowners and prospective buyers are unsure what’s included in a standard home inspection, according to the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). A qualified home inspector will review these aspects of a property:

* Roof, attic and visible insulation

* Foundation, basement and structural components

* Walls, ceilings and floors

* Heating and central air conditioning systems

* Windows and doors

* Water fixtures and faucets

* Decks

Nearly two out of three homeowners recently surveyed by ASHI reported they saved a lot of money as a result of having a home inspection during the selling/buying of a house. Sellers use inspections to help determine potential problems that can be repaired or replaced prior to listing– potentially getting them a higher sale price. And buyers use the inspections to determine if they want to invest in the property, or help negotiate for a better price that would include the repair and replacement of potential problems.

“It’s important for homeowners to do their homework before hiring an inspector,” says Kurt Salomon, ASHI president. “Look for a home inspector certified through the ASHI Certified Inspector Program, which is the only home inspection association program approved by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies.”

The following elements are not included in a standard home inspection:

* Septic system

* Electrical wiring and plumbing that is not readily accessible (for example, behind drywall or plaster.)

* Water conditioning or softening system

* Swimming pool

* Backyard fences

* Lawn irrigation system

* Household appliances

* Compliance with local codes

* Appraisal to determine market value

Before hiring a home inspector, inquire about what is covered in the inspection and ask to see a sample report. Although some inspectors provide ancillary services, it may be necessary to consult a specialist for concerns that extend beyond a standard inspection. Often your inspector will help you make this determination.

Hiring a certified home inspector and having questions answered before putting your house up for sale – or before finalizing a purchase price — can not only help save money, but also allow you to go through the process with more peace of mind.

Mold Inspection

Posted: 06/23/11

The media sounded an alarm, the public heard the horror stories, and now homebuyers worry about the presence of molds in the homes they purchase.

If the high-profile status of molds is relatively recent, the subject of all the concern has been around forever. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “Molds can be found almost anywhere; they grow on virtually any substance when moisture is present. Outdoors many molds live in the soil and play a key role in the breakdown of leaves, wood and other plant debris.”

EPA says molds are here to stay. “There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture.”

But homebuyers want to know more than this. Unfortunately, just as when the public first became aware of asbestos, radon and problems with E.I.F.S., the body of knowledge about molds in indoor environments is far from complete.

What is known, according to the EPA, is that “molds can trigger asthma episodes in individuals with an allergic reaction to mold.” Because of this health factor, it recommends the Center for Disease Control (CDC) as a source of information.

ASHI’s Technical Committee also recommends the CDC as a resource for answering customers’ questions about molds in indoor environments. For more information go the Center for Disease Control and the Environmental Protection Agency.