When Do I Call A Home Inspector
A home inspector is typically contacted right after the contract or purchase agreement has been signed, and is often available within a few days. However, before you sign, be sure that there is an inspection clause in the sales contract, making your final purchase obligation contingent upon the findings of a professional home inspection. This clause should specify the terms to which both the buyer and seller are obligated. They should know if they are a certified home inspector. Consumes should also inquire the inspector about:
- How many inspections they have completed.
- How long an inspection takes.
- What separates them from other home inspectors?
What important information should buyers have thought through before seeking you out?
A home inspection is a visual inspection of the structural and mechanical components. A furnished home presents certain problems for an inspection because all areas typically are not visible, such as the floors due to furnishings or floor coverings (vinyl, tile, area rugs, etc.); interior of drawers, closets, and cabinets due to storage; walls due to furnishings and wall hangings; etc. Furnishings, storage, and use of electric outlets typically prevent the testing of every electric outlet. Furnishings, storage, and window coverings typically prevent access, inspection, and/or testing of every window from the interior.
Water, electric and gas must be on for the inspection. That includes foreclosures and short sales. Utilities are frequently off in vacant properties, so be sure to verify with the seller that they’ll be turned on for your inspection. If utilities are off when you and the inspector arrive, the inspection will need to be re-scheduled.
What Does It Include?
The standard home inspector’s report will review the condition of the home’s heating system, central air conditioning system (temperature permitting), interior plumbing and electrical systems; the roof, attic, and visible insulation; walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors; the foundation, basement, and visible structure.
How Long Will The Inspection Take?
Generally, A single-family home inspection will last about 1 ½ to 3 hours. Homebuyers should also consider:
- When they would like the home inspection.
- If they can’t be at the inspection for the whole time, be sure to make it at the end of the inspection for a walk through with the inspector.
Cost? Is It Worth It?
The inspection fee for a typical one-family house varies geographically, as does the cost of housing. Similarly, within a given area, the inspection fee may vary depending upon the size of the house, particular features of the house, its age, and possible additional services, such as septic, well or radon testing. It is a good idea to check local prices on your own. However, do not let cost be the primary factor in in the selection of you home inspector. The knowledge gained from an inspection is well worth the cost, and the lowest-priced inspector is NOT necessarily a bargain. The inspector’s qualifications, including experience, training, and professional affiliations, should be the most important consideration.
Do I need a Home Inspection?
Why Do I Need A Home Inspection?
The purchase of a home is probably the single largest investment you will ever make. You should learn as much as you can about the condition of the property and the need for any major repairs before you buy, so you can minimize unpleasant surprises and difficulties afterwards. After the inspection, you will have a much clearer understanding of the property. If you are already a homeowner, a home inspection may be used to identify problems in the making and take preventative measures, which might avoid costly repairs in the future. If you are planning to sell your home on the market, you may wish to have an inspection performed prior to placing your home on the market. This will give you a better understanding of the conditions, which may be discovered by the buyer’s Inspector and can provide an opportunity to make repairs that will put the house in a better selling position. Having an inspection will help you comply with current disclosure laws concerning the sale of your property.
Can I Do It Myself?
Even the most experienced homeowner lacks the knowledge and years of expertise of a professional Home Inspector. An Inspector is familiar with the elements of home construction and remains completely objective and unemotional about the home.
Can A Home Inspection Fail?
NO! A professional home inspection is an examination of the condition of the home on the day it is inspected; it is not an appraisal, which determines market value or a municipal inspection, which verifies local code compliance, but rather describes its visible physical condition and indicates what may need major repairs in the near future.
Do I Have To Be There?
It is not necessary for you to be present for the inspection, but it is highly recommended. You will be able to accompany the Inspector and ask questions directly as you learn about the condition of the home, how its systems work and how to maintain it. You will also find the written report easier to understand if you’ve seen the property firsthand through the Inspector’s eyes.
Who Hires The Inspector?
The Client usually retains the Inspector. The Inspector works for you. The report cannot be given to anyone else without your consent.
How Much Does It Cost?
The purchase of a property will likely be the most expensive investment someone will make in their lives, yet it doesn’t make sense to shop for the least expensive Inspector you can find. Often times, the saying ‘You get what you pay for’ is true, but this saying doesn’t necessarily apply when it comes to having your home inspected.” No Home Inspection can guarantee there won’t be problems, since even new homes are not perfect on the day the first owners move in.
A Home Inspector can point out existing or potential problems that would require the attention of either the buyer or the seller. You, the buyer, save yourself from problems you never contemplated when buying the “Dream House” you wanted. You, the seller, are complying with current disclosure laws concerning the sale of your property.
What Is A Home Inspection?
It is an evaluation of the visible and accessible systems and components of a home (plumbing system, roof, etc.) and is intended to give the client (usually a homebuyer) a better understanding of their condition. It is also important to know what a home inspection is not! It is not an appraisal of the property’s value; nor should you expect it to address the cost of repairs. It does not guarantee that the home complies with local building codes (which are subject to periodic change) or protect you in the event an item inspected fails in the future. [Note: Warranties can be purchased to cover many items.] Nor should it be considered a “technically exhaustive” evaluation, but rather an evaluation of the property on the day it is inspected, taking into consideration normal wear and tear.
Why Should I Have the Home Inspected?
Most homebuyers lack the knowledge, skill and emotional detachment needed to inspect homes themselves. By using the services of a Licensed Home Inspector, they can gain a better understanding of the condition of the property, especially whether any items do not “function as intended ” or “adversely affect the habitability of the dwelling” or “warrant further investigation” by a person who specializes in the item in question.
What Do Home Inspectors Look For?
Home Inspectors typically evaluate structural components (floors, walls, roofs, chimneys, foundations, etc.), mechanical systems (plumbing, electrical, heating/air conditioning), installed appliances and other major components of the property. The National Association of Home Inspectors [NAHI] Standards of Practice do not require Home Inspectors to report on: wood-destroying insects, environmental contamination, pools and spas, detached structures and certain other items listed in the Offer to Purchase and Contract form. Always ask the Home Inspector if he covers all the things which are important to you. If not, it is your responsibility to arrange for an inspection of these items by the appropriate professionals.
How Do I Request A Home Inspection, and Who Will Pay For It?
You can contact me at 612-615-3696 or click on the inspection request link on my website to schedule an inspection. Unless other arrangements are made, you will be responsible for payment of the home inspection and any subsequent inspections. You can pay with a check or cash at the end of the inspection. If the inspection is to be performed after you have signed the purchase contract, be sure to schedule the inspection as soon as possible to allow adequate time for any repairs to be performed.
Should I Be Present When the Home Inspection is Performed?
Whenever possible, you should be present, that way we can review with you the results of the inspection and point out any problems found. Usually the inspection of the home can be completed in two to three hours (the time can vary depending upon the size and age of the dwelling). The home inspection report is your property and as such we do not share it with anyone else without written permission.
Are all Inspection Reports the Same?
No. While the National Association of Home Inspectors [NAHI] has established a minimum requirement for report-writing, reports can vary greatly. They can range from a “checklist” of the systems and components to a full narrative evaluation; we do a combination of the two in order to make it user friendly. Home Inspectors are required to give you a written “Summary” of their inspection identifying any system or component that does not function as intended, or adversely affects the habitability of the dwelling, or appears to warrant further investigation by a specialist. The summary does not necessarily include all items that have been found to be defective or deficient. Therefore, do not read only the summary. Carefully read and understand the entire home inspection report.
What Should I Do If I Feel Something Has Been Missed on the Inspection?
Before any repairs are made (except emergency repairs), call us to discuss the problem. Many times a “trip charge” can be saved by explaining the problem over the telephone. This also gives us a chance to promptly handle any problems that may have been overlooked in the inspection. One must keep in mind that we are observing thousands of items looking for those which are immediate attention; we nor are any other inspectors by policy are to address cosmetic issues.
If, following the home inspection, the seller repairs an item found in the home inspection, may I call for a “re-inspection”?
Yes. Some repairs may not be as straightforward as they might seem. We will be glad to evaluate the repair, but you should be aware that the re-inspection is not a warranty of the repairs that have been made. Due to fuel expenses and additional time involved we do charge a minimum fee for a re-inspection.
What Should I As A Seller Do To Prepare For A Home Inspection?
Simply following the steps provided in this article will help you survive having your house inspected. Your home inspection is just one more stressful event to add to a likely growing list of events unfolding in the process of selling your home. What with moving, getting the list of needed repairs done, achieving and maintaining that “curb appeal,” the last thing you need is some stranger tromping through your home, looking in all those dark corners. Well, take a deep breath, pick up that last dust bunny under the chair, sit down a moment and read further. I provide real solutions to at least make the Home Inspection part easier.
Facts About Mold Facts
Molds are simple, microscopic organisms whose purpose in the ecosystem is to break down dead materials. Mold can be found on plants, dry leaves, and on just about any other organic material. Some molds are useful, such as those used to make antibiotics and cheese. Some molds are known to be highly toxic when ingested, such as the types that invade grains and peanuts. Most of the mold found indoors comes from outdoors.
Molds reproduce by very tiny particles called spores. The spores float in on the air currents and find a suitable spot to grow. Spores are very light and can travel on air currents. If mold spores land on a suitable surface, they will begin to grow.
Molds need three things to thrive – moisture, food and a surface to grow on. Molds can be seen throughout the house, and can be found in most bathrooms. Mold growth can often be seen in the form of discoloration, and can appear in many colors – white, orange, pink, blue, green, black or brown. When molds are present in large quantities (called colonies) they can cause health problems in some people.
Who does mold affect?
Mold spores can cause adverse reactions, much like pollen from plants. Mold spores cause health problems when they become airborne and are inhaled in large quantities. Everyone is exposed to mold in some concentration when breathing in air from the outdoors. Indoor exposure to molds is not healthy for anyone. In particular, people with allergies, existing respiratory conditions or suppressed immune systems are especially susceptible to health problems from mold exposure. Additionally, infants and children, pregnant women and the elderly can be sensitive to the effects of mold exposure. Some molds are more hazardous than others. For some people, a small number of mold spores can cause health problems. For others, it may take many more.
What are Symptoms of mold exposure?
There are many symptoms of mold exposure. The extent of symptoms depends on the sensitivity of the exposed person. Allergic reactions are the most common and typically include: respiratory problems such as wheezing and difficulty breathing; nasal and sinus congestion; burning, watery, reddened eyes or blurry vision; sore throat; dry cough; nose and throat irritation; shortness of breath; and skin irritation. Other less common effects are: nervous system problems (headaches, memory loss, moodiness); aches and pains; and fever.
If you have any of these symptoms, and they are reduced or completely gone when you leave the suspect area, chances are you have been exposed to some sort of allergen, quite possibly mold.
How can I tell if I have mold in my home?
Some mold problems are obvious – you can see it growing. Others are not so obvious. If you can see mold, or if there is a musty odor in your home, you probably have a mold problem. Areas that are wet, or have been wet due to flooding, leaky plumbing, leaky roofing, or areas that are humid (such as bathrooms and laundry rooms) are most likely to have mold growth. Look for previous water damage.
Visible mold growth may be found underneath wallpaper and baseboards, behind walls, or may be evident by discolored plaster or drywall. If you don’t have any observable mold, but are experiencing symptoms likely to be mold-induced, the mold could be growing in areas you can’t see, such as the ducts of a heating/cooling system. In this case, the only way to know if you have mold spores is to test.
Many home Inspectors or Industrial Hygienists can conduct air sampling to detect the presence of these spores in your home. If you have obvious mold, you can conduct a swab test that can be analyzed to determine the molds that are present. Testing is the only way to determine if you have a mold problem and what type it is. Take a copy of the laboratory report along with you when you visit your doctor or allergist. This will aid in determining a method of treatment.
Should I test my home for mold?
Minnesota Department of Health (http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/eh/indoorair/mold/moldtest.html)
Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) does not recommend mold testing in many cases, especially as the first response to an indoor air quality concern. Instead, careful detailed visual inspection and recognition of moldy odors should be used to find problems needing correction. Efforts should focus on areas where there are signs of liquid moisture or water vapor (humidity) or where moisture problems are suspected. The investigation goals should be to locate indoor mold growth to determine how to correct the moisture problem and remove contamination safely and effectively.
If I have mold in my home, what should I do?
The first course of action is to determine why the mold is growing. Investigate any areas that are moist, and repair the source of the moisture. There could be a roof or plumbing leak, or groundwater leaking into your basement. Your air conditioning drip pan could have mold growing in it. Your air duct system could be contaminated with mold. If you see mold in your laundry room, chances are that your dryer is not properly vented to the outside.
Clothes dryers generate humidity and should never be vented inside the house. Mold will grow on any surface that provides moisture and food. Substances that are porous and can trap molds, such as paper, rags, wallboard and wood, should be thrown out. After you have made all the repairs, it is time to clean. Use the following pointers:
- Mix a household cleaner without ammonia with hot water and scrub affected areas before sanitizing with the bleach solution that is 10% bleach and 90% water.
- Wear gloves when handling moldy materials. If you are sensitive to mold, you may wish to wear a particulate-removing respirator or facemask. Also wear protective clothing that is easily cleaned or may be discarded.
- Hard, non-porous materials can be cleaned with a solution of bleach and water, 10% bleach to 90% water. Use a sponge or cloth to wipe the area clean. Never mix bleach with other cleaning products; it can produce a toxic gas! It is important to clean thoroughly. If you leave some mold behind, the spores will be easily released back into the air when the material dries out.
- Remove porous materials such as ceiling tiles, carpeting and sheetrock (drywall) and dispose of them. They are nearly impossible to clean and will surely produce more spores when dry.
- If mold is the result of flooding, remove all drywall to at least 12 inches above the high water mark. Visually inspect the interior of the walls to ensure that you removed all contaminated drywall.
- Allow the area to dry for 2-3 days after cleaning and sanitizing with the bleach solution.
- Use a stiff brush to remove mold from block walls or uneven surfaces.
- Have family members or bystanders leave the area while cleaning or abatement is being done.
How can I keep mold from damaging my home?
First address the source of moisture that is allowing the mold to grow. Then take steps to clean up the contamination. Here are helpful links to lean more about cleaning up mold in your home.
- Repair water damage as soon as it is noticed.
- Watch for signs of moisture, such as condensation on windows, cracking of walls, loosening of drywall tape, warped wood or musty odors.
- Install bathroom fans that vent humidity to the outside.
- Vent your clothes dryer to the outside.
- Clean any moldy surfaces as soon as they are noticed.
Facts About Radon
The Twin Cities area MN has an overall 33% radon failure rate as compared to the national failure rate of 15%.
33% of Twin Cities homes fail their radon test. If you purchase a home, the cost of a test is $150.00 went done with a home inspection, and $175.00 without. The cost of a typical remediation is $900.00- $2,500.00. There is a 1/3 chance the test will fail. If you care about the health of your family, testing is a “no-brainer”.
Lets face it, if the next buyer asks for the test, you will need to pay for the remediation (which is worse for you than the Seller you are buying a home from paying for it) and you expose your family to a major lung cancer risk every day that they lived in that house.
The best choice is to have the radon test done before you purchase a home. The second best choice is to have it done after you purchase the home (and before someone in your home has lung cancer).
Please remember to ask to have a Radon testing performed on the home you are buying.
MORE ABOUT THE SUBJECT…
Most radon that is found indoors comes into a building from the soil or the rock beneath it. Radon and other gases rise through the soil and get trapped under the building. The trapped gases build up pressure. Air pressure inside the home is usually lower than the pressure in the soil. Therefore, the higher pressure under the building forces gases though floors and walls and right into the building. Most of the radon gas moves through cracks and other floor openings. Once inside the building, the radon can become trapped and concentrated. Openings which commonly allow easy flow of the gases into your home:
- Cracks in floors and walls
- Gaps in suspended floors
- Openings around sump pumps and drains
- Cavities in foundations below grading
- Gaps around utility penetrations (pipes and wires)
- Crawl spaces that open directly into the building
One of the most popular and still the industry’s most widely used Monitor the Sun Nuclear 1027 Continuous Radon Monitor is a respected radon monitor.
How widespread is the problem?
Radon has been found in homes in all 50 states. Certain areas are more susceptible than others (http://www.epa.gov/radon/zonemap.html), but no location is immune. Concentrations of radon-causing materials in the soil can be either natural or man-made. Homes built near historic mining operations may be at higher risk. The only way to tell for sure is to have a home tested.
Testing for radon comes in two forms: active and passive. Active devises constantly measuring the levels of radon in a portion of the home and displaying those results. Passive devices collect samples over a period of time and then are taken away and analyzed. Either method can help you determine your level of risk. Do-it-yourself kits are available from a number of outlets, normally with passive devices. Over a period of days, the device is left in the lowest level of the home which is normally occupied. This eliminates crawl spaces under the house, but includes finished or unfinished basements. Then the results are analyzed by a professional. The other option is to engage a qualified professional to conduct the tests properly. The Environmental Protection Agency EPA web site: (http://www.epa.gov/radon/states/minnesota.html) provides information on finding an appropriate resources and testing devices.
If high concentrations of radon are found in your home, you have several options. Since radon is only a problem when it is concentrated in high volume, improving the ventilation in an area is often sufficient to solve the problem. In other cases, it may be necessary to limit the amount of radon getting into the home by sealing or otherwise obstructing the access points. Once again, a professional should be engaged to ensure that the radon is effectively blocked. Typical radon mitigation systems can cost between $900 and $2500, according to the EPA.
If you’re buying or selling a home, radon can be a significant issue. Buyers should be aware of the radon risk in their area and determine whether a radon test is desirable. When in doubt, the EPA always recommends testing. The cost of the test can be built into the house price. If test results already exist, make sure they are recent or that the home has not been significantly renovated since the test was performed. If in doubt, get a new test done. If you are selling a home, having a recent radon test is a great idea. By being proactive, you can assure potential buyers that there is no risk and avoid the issue from the start.
Once in the home, the gas can collect in certain areas especially basements and other low-lying, closed areas and will build up over time to dangerous levels. The Environmental Protection Agency of the US Government (US EPA) has established the “action level” for deciding when you need to “do something” about the radon in your home, school, or work place is 4 pCi/l. pCi/l= picocuries per liter, the most popular method of reporting radon levels. For those interested in the numbers, a picoCurie is 0.000,000,000,001 (one-trillionth) of a Curie, an international measurement unit of radioactivity. One pCi/l means that in one liter of air there will be 2.2 radioactive disintegrations each minute. For example, at 4 pCi/l there will be approximately 12,672 radioactive disintegrations in one liter of air, during a 24-hour period. As humans are exposed to the gas over a period of years, it can have a significant and detrimental effect.
So whether you have an old home or a new one, live in an old mining town or in the middle of the Great Plains, radon is a reality. But it is a reality that we can correct and live with. Proper testing and mitigation can eliminate radon as a health threat.
Fact About Carbon Monoxide
Why we test for Carbon Monoxide:
Carbon monoxide is a tasteless, colorless, odorless gas that interferes with the delivery of oxygen throughout the body. At lower levels, carbon monoxide can cause flu-like symptoms: headaches, dizziness, weakness and fatigue. At higher levels or with prolonged exposure, it can cause confusion, disorientation, impaired vision and coordination, brain damage, coma and even death.
Effective August 1, 2009, all single family homes and multi-family dwellings in Minnesota are required to have a UL-listed carbon monoxide CO alarm within 10 feet of every room legally used for sleeping.
Jerry Jubert Inspection includes carbon monoxide testing of heating systems (furnaces & boilers).
My tests are done with Bacharach single gas detectors and measure the carbon monoxide levels in the vents of the equipment and the indoor air near the equipment. Typically, the readings will indicate that the equipment is operating correctly (less than 100 parts per million of carbon monoxide) and no carbon monoxide is present in the indoor air.
Occasionally, the tests reveal either that the equipment is making excessive levels of carbon monoxide, or that carbon monoxide (regardless of the level) is leaking from the equipment or spilling from the vent connector or its draft regulator.
The production of elevated levels of carbon monoxide, or the spillage of any combustion fumes into the house are both very serious adverse conditions that have the potential to cause deaths to people in just a few hours. Exposure to lesser amounts of carbon monoxide can cause chronic illness, headaches, and loss of mental & physical functions if the exposure is lengthy.
For more information on the health effects of carbon monoxide see http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/eh/indoorair/co/index.html
Testing is not required by NAHI Standards, but our view is that in Minnesota, carbon monoxide testing is an essential part of a complete home inspection.
Install and maintain CO alarms in your home.
Minnesota State Law requires that homes have at least one operational CO alarm within 10 feet of every room legally used for sleeping.
Are You Insured?
Yes. Jerry Jubert Home Inspection, LLC is Certified, and Insured. This is a great question because only 10% of inspectors actually carry Errors and Omissions Insurance. Many claim to have insurance buy ONLY carry an inexpensive liability policy that merely provides coverage for accidents on the inspection. Like its name suggests, Errors and Omissions Insurance provides coverage for the mistakes the inspector can make and for things of significance that the inspector might miss. Our policy protects YOU!
How Much Does a Home Inspection Cost?
My base inspection fee starts at $315 for homes up to 1,500 finished square feet that are less than 75 years old. I will give you an exact fee when we talk about your inspection.
Although there are some other home inspectors that you will be cheaper, but consider whether you are saving money for the same thorough inspection or if you are saving money because the inspection will be rushed and will not the quality you expected. I promise that my prices reflect the quality and attention to detail that you deserve.
What Services Are Included?
A professional home inspection with Jerry Jubert includes a thorough examination of the physical condition of a structure and all of its working components. A typical home buyer inspection, home seller pre-listing inspection, or an existing home owner inspection takes approximately 2-3 hours. You are invited to attend the inspection. During your home inspection Jerry will:
- Walk you through the needed home repairs and safety concerns revealed in the inspection,
- Give you valuable information about the unique mechanical features of your home,
- Offer seasonal maintenance tips, and
- Give you an opportunity for general question and answer dialogue.
You will also receive a copy of the detailed inspection report in the form of an emailed pdf document by 9:00 a.m. the next day.
What is Inspected?
- Heating and cooling systems
- Grade and drainage
- Steps, decks and porches
- Exterior and interior structure
- Roof structure and covering
- Exterior wall cladding
- Interior walls and ceilings
- Columns and beams
- Windows and doors
What is NOT Inspected?
- Lead paint
- Toxic mold
- Pest control
What is Commonly Found During an Inspection?
- Poor drainage
- Water seepage
- Old piping materials
- Faulty fixtures or waste lines
- Inadequate ventilation
- Cracked or sinking driveway
- Window well and retaining wall decay
- Roof leaks and damage
- Gutter deterioration
- Chimney damage
- Cracked foundation and wall surfaces
- House trim decay
- Window caulking deficiencies
- Faulty electrical wiring and power line security