October 17th, 2009

Buyers Advised to Check Utilities before Scheduling a Home Inspection

September 10, 2009, 10:04 pm
Filed under: Real Estate

With the rate of home foreclosures continuing unabated, more and more home buyers are forced to deal with the less-than-buyer-friendly terms extended by bank real estate contracts. These contracts impose a ridiculously short window, ranging from a few days to 17 days max, to remove contingencies.

 In order to meet the bank’s tight deadlines, it is essential that buyers are aware of a simple, yet often overlooked, requirement for getting the home inspected: make sure the seller has left all utilities on and all pilots are lit.

A home inspection cannot take place if the gas, electrical, and water utilities are off, nor can the inspector light any unlit pilots. It is the seller’s responsibility. Buyers are strongly advised to flip light switches, turn on water faucets until the water runs hot, and turn up thermostats to ensure the utilities are on before contacting a home inspector. Failure to do so may result in losing precious time in getting the home professionally inspected.

Walk About

October 11th, 2009

save thousands with a “Walk About” your home by Jeff Forsha, Professional Home Inspector  

Before the autumn leaves drift by your window, before you get too comfy in that recliner watching college football on the big screen television, there’s one last chore to tackle. Spend a few minutes doing your own home inspection, or Walk About, and you may save yourself thousands of dollars in the future. Me, a Home Inspector? You may be thinking, what do I know about home inspection? As daunting as it sounds, simply making this part of your regular maintenance routine will help you identify damage that results from your home’s worst enemy: water. Left untreated, water problems can cause fungi, mold, foundation damage, or roof leaks. Common causes of water damage: •Clogged, dirty gutters and down- spouts. •Water and condensation in your crawl space •Roof leaks •Negative drainage around your foundation The Walk About is really three inspections: Gutters and Roof; Exterior Surfaces; and Crawlspace. You will walk around your home three times. Each walk focuses on a different section of the home. Finding problems early means you can fix them, hopefully before they have damaged your home. Walk About One: Roof and Gutters Look for common signs of potential damage: •Loose or curling shingles •Leaves and debris in the gutters •Staining or damage on fascia behind gutter •Wear on vent pipe boots •Proper sealing on flashing Walk About Two: Exterior Walls and Grading You want to ensure you’re not letting in the outdoors. Inspect siding, bricks, all exterior wood. This includes wood around doors and windows. Look for common signs that water (or something else) is getting in where it shouldn’t: •Siding damage including loose caulking •Mortar cracks •Unsealed holes on exterior •Signs of rot and decay(soft wood) around doors and windows, and at the corners of the wood joints •Torn or damaged crawl space vents •Grades sloping toward the house (the grade should drop away from the home one inch per foot) Walk About Three: Crawlspace Take a break for now. Next month, we’ll tackle the last frontier, the crawlspace. The Fix Remember, the reason you are doing the inspection is to find problems so they can be corrected. Your Walk About may not reveal any problems. But, no home is perfect, so you will probably find something that needs to be fixed. If it’s something simple, you may want to do it yourself or hire a handyman. If the problems seem too daunting, call a home inspector, who can evaluate the severity and recommend a course of action for repairs. And, don’t forget to schedule another Walk About a few months from now, about the time football season is over.

About the author: Jeff Forsha is a Certified Home Inspector, Owner of A-ProAdvantage Inspection Services,