Foundation Inspection Tips For Buyers and Sellers

Whether you’re buying or selling, the basis of your real-estate transaction depends heavily on the foundation of the home. Be prepared for the home inspection and buying/selling process with these tips:

Buyers

Read your Home Inspection report very carefully. Foundation settlement is a structural concern and can diminish the value of any home. If there is the slightest indication of a foundation issue, call a local, trusted foundation repair contractor for assistance. A reputable contractor will give you a fair and honest assessment of the property.

Examples of some of the warning statements in a home inspection report:

  • Some evidence of settling was observed.
  • Foundation movement may exceed FHA/VA standards.
  • Cracking of floor slab noted.
  • Cracks in brick/floor/wall/ceiling.
  • Fascia/trim separation.
  • Windows difficult to open.
  • Caulk separation at windows or doors.
  • Recommend contacting a foundation repair contractor.

Don’t be fooled by a Home Inspection report, which is typically written in more general terms and may occasionally gloss over foundation problems. Remember that the home inspector’s role is to report on the general conditions of a home not provide a structural report.

Sellers:

Here are some helpful things to remember:

  • A good foundation repair company can typically complete a repair within 1-2 days.
  • FHA/VA and conventional loan approvals are no problem when the foundation is properly repaired and backed up by a lifetime warranty (always check to see if your contractor offers a lifetime transferable warranty)
  • The best way to avoid last minute closing problems is to have the foundation inspected before you put the house on the market. A local foundation repair specialist will be happy to provide you with a no cost evaluation and assessment.
  • If you are owner financing the sale, you may sell the property without foundation repairs as long as you disclose what you know about the foundation. Homes that need foundation repairs generally sell at a discount far below the cost of repairs.

Four Tips To Help You Choose A Quality Home Inspection

Buying a home can be quite intimidating. It may be the single largest purchase you will ever make. You will definitely want the best possible home inspector in your corner. The independent home inspector can give you an unbiased opinion of the condition of your dream home before you take that final plunge. Both the cost and expertise of a Home Inspector can vary greatly. How can you be sure that you choose the Home Inspector that is, quite frankly, the best?

First, you need to understand what it is that a home inspector does. I like to think of Home Inspectors as “expert generalist.” I believe it was Benjamin Franklin who claimed the title of “jack of all trades, master of none.” A list of what is included in the inspection should be made available. In those states that require that home inspectors be licensed there is either a state issued standard or they have adopted the ASHI or NAHI standard. Both of these Home Inspector associations provide additional certification and have their standards and practices available on their respective websites. When you see the rather extensive list of what should be inspected you will realize that home inspectors need to have a general knowledge of every single aspect of the home they are inspecting. For instance, a licensed electrician may have extensive knowledge about lights, outlets, breaker panels and wiring. However, he may have little to no knowledge about foundations, plumbing, or roofing.

So, Tip number one: Look for an inspector that has varied knowledge and experience

States like Kentucky that issue licenses require training, but that training may be minimal and classroom hours cannot replace years of hands on experience. Don’t be afraid to ask a home inspector to outline his experience.

Tip number two: Don’t accept your agents recommendation without doing your own investigation

This is not to say that your real estate agent would bring in a “ringer” and not want you as a buyer to be fully informed. But, there is a fiduciary conflict of interest inherent to the relationship. In real estate, most would agree that ten percent of the agents sell ninety percent of the properties. So, who is to say that your agent has enough personal experience with an inspector or company to give a first-hand recommendation?

Ask your agent, point-blank, “would you use any of these inspectors if you were buying this home for you and family. But, what is important here is not where the recommendation came from, rather that you personally do your own investigation.

Tip number three: Select a home inspector that uses the most modern technology

“Thermal imaging is a non-invasive, non-destructive way of evaluating conditions below the surface. Because everything from faulty wiring to the presence of termites to mold to wet insulation affects the surrounding temperature, heat-sensitive photography can reveal these and other issues that just cannot be seen by the naked eye or with conventional or digital photography.”, says Dan Schuerman, a manager with PDmB, Inc., a home inspection software manufacturer.

Technology in the home inspection industry is exploding at an incredible rate. Find an inspector that is keeping pace with the most current advances in home inspection technologies i.e. boroscopes, moisture meters, digital thermometers, CO detectors, etc…

Tip number four: Choose the report that is easy to understand and includes the areas you are most concerned about

When you boil it down the report should be your most important consideration. When all the dust settles the report will be the single remaining remnant of your investment. Make sure that you get a sample report. Check out the format as this can vary greatly from one firm to another. Are photos included in the report and how well are they integrated in relation to reported issues? Some reports include photos, however they an indexed at the end and require constant page turning.

How are issues classified in the report? For instance, major concern, minor concern, repair/replace, safety hazard or are issues rated by cost. Holmes on homes noted an inspection report that listed over 250 inspection points as “serviceable”. A limited number of classifications can make a report tedious and may not provide the benefit of long-term budgeting for items with say a ten-year or five-year life expectancy.

Another great question is how the report addresses repairs or maintenance issues. Are there clear suggestions for the appropriate professional to address the concern? Are repair and maintenance recommendations included? And finally, is the language of the report full of technical jargon or is the information communicated in a way that is easily understood by the average home buyer?

In conclusion, finding the right home inspector can bring tremendous information to the table at a time when you can use it the most. Having an independent professional come along side of you and helping you to formulate a quality decision can make your buying experience far less stressful. You will not regret the time you spent researching and interviewing your local home inspection choices it will simply add to your peace of mind.

Home Inspection Tips

In this day and age, most people realize the importance of getting a home inspection done prior to buying a property. By doing this, the prospective buyer has the peace of mind knowing exactly what kind of situation they are walking in to. This also allows them to make educated, not emotional, decisions when the choice of whether to buy or not buy needs to be made. You have already made up your mind to have the home inspection done but what now? Here are some helpful tips that will aid you along through the home inspection process.

First, you need to choose the right inspector for the job. This could, by far, be the most important thing you do. In order to get accurate and truthful information on your home inspection, it needs to come from a reliable source. When looking for an inspector to evaluate your property, you will want to choose one who is a trained professional and one that has a lot experience. It is important for them to be familiar to the regulations and guidelines that are native to your area. Beware of hiring an inspector that is not from your state or geographical area. Along with making sure they are licensed and insured, you will want to ask for references and then actually take the next step to check those references. It is vital to make sure you do your homework before you decide which home inspector to hire.

It is also suggested that you are present at the time of the home inspection. This will allow you to tag along with the inspector and really get to see your property through their eyes. Being a trained professional, they are taught to see past all the cosmetic features of your home and really see what lies beneath the surface and give you an unbiased point of view. Also, by being on site during the inspection, you are offered the opportunity to ask any questions that you might have about the process and even discuss the findings as they occur. By shadowing the inspector, you get to see your home in a whole new light.

After each inspection, the client will receive a comprehensive report that details, both good and bad, and outlines all the findings of the home inspection. These report should be in written form-do not accept a verbal report. Most reports include diagrams or even photographs of the areas of concern to thoroughly explain the situation. Be sure to have the inspector review the report with you so that they can address any questions you may have about their findings.

While the thought of a home inspection can be a little daunting, knowing what to expect can help ease you through the process. Remember, if you come across something that you aren’t sure about or it simply doesn’t make sense, just ask! The right home inspector will not have any problems answering your questions and putting your mind at ease.