Tips To Minimize Your Risk As A Buyer By Finding The Right Home Inspection

Preparing Your Home For An Inspection

The perfect home simply doesn’t exist. Why? Well, in a brand new home, the contractor often is not aware of shortcuts taken by his subcontractors, and government building and code inspectors do not have the time or the budget to inspect everything in every home, so most government inspectors simply do a spot-check of homes in new subdivisions. A home that has been lived in usually has damage that occurred from simply living in it, or additions or remodeling that weren’t permitted. That’s why buyers need a professional home inspection.

The purpose of a home inspection is to document the overall condition of the property at the time of the inspection and to ensure that its major systems and components (water heater, heating and cooling, plumbing, electrical, etc.) are installed properly and working properly. The home inspection is not a warranty since the home inspector is only there for a couple of hours and never saw the home or its systems being built, so he has no idea about any quality control processes. While some items identified during the course of a home inspection might seem like minor items individually, collectively they could add up to major headaches involving both time and money. If sellers know what to look for, they can resolve many minor items before the buyer’s home inspection.

EXTERIOR:

Make sure all the dirt and landscaping material is away from the siding of the house.  There should be 4-6 inches of clearance beneath the siding of the house.

Plant growth should be cut back away from the house at least 10-12 inches.

Any stored items should be moved as far away from the structure; stored firewood in particular should be moved as far away from the house as is reasonable.

Check the siding and trim for any damages and repair as needed.

Repair any missing caulking around doors, windows and over nail heads.

Make sure all exterior doors and door knobs/deadbolts are operating properly.  You may wish to repair any damaged weather stripping.

ROOFING & GUTTERS:

Clean all moss and debris off the roof.  Use a pressure washer only if absolutely necessary.  A broom or blower is preferred.

Repair any damaged or missing roofing.  Avoid using mastic or caulking as a repair as it is considered a temporary repair only and may be called out by the inspector.

Clean out gutters and repair any damages to the gutters such as rust through or sagging.

Make sure all downspouts are properly diverted away from the house, either with elbows and splash blocks or drain lies.

GARAGE:

Check the garage door opener and adjust it as needed so it properly reverses against pressure.

Make sure the garage door itself is operating properly and repair as needed.

If the home is newer with solid core, self-closing door to the interior, make sure the door closes and seals properly by itself, with the weather stripping intact.

KITCHEN, UTILITY, & BATHROOMS:

Check for leaks under the sinks and around the faucets, repairing as needed.

Look for possible floor damage around toilets and adjacent to tubs and showers.  If found, damages may need further evaluation by a contractor.

Make sure that all grout and caulking is in good repair.  This includes tub and shower surrounds along the floor in front of tubs and showers.

Check to be sure all fixtures, fans and appliances are working properly.

INTERIOR & ATTIC:

Check interior doors and windows to make sure they are operating properly.  This is particularly important for bedroom windows.

Make sure smoke detectors are in place and functional.

Remove any stored items from the attic space.  Check to be sure all fan ducts are properly connected and venting outside the attic space.  Repair if not.

ELECTRICAL:

Make sure all light switches are functional and any burned out lights are replaced.

PLUMBING:

Check your water heater for any leaking or damage.  If present, repair or replacement may be needed.

If missing, install proper rated earthquake strapping to water heater.

Make sure the water heater pilot light is on.

Repair any plumbing leaks found in the crawl space.

HEATING & COOLING:

Inspect your furnace filter and change, or clean, if dirty.

Regarding air conditioning, make sure all debris is cleaned away from the exterior compressor.

Regarding a gas-fired appliance, which utilizes a pilot light, such as a gas log fireplace or older furnace, make sure the pilot light is on.  The pilot light may have been turned off for the summer or if the house has been vacant.

CRAWL SPACE:

Remove any wood, concrete, form wood and cardboard debris.

Remove or replace any damaged, fallen floor insulation.

Make sure crawl space is fully covered with plastic.  Only use 6 mil black plastic, if adding more.

Reconnect any disconnected heat ducts.

Repair any damaged foundation vent screens and make sure all foundation vents are clear.  Use only 1/4 inch galvanized hardware cloth for repair.  Don’t use any louvered type vents.

 

Negotiation Tips for Buying a Home After a Home Inspection

Chances are that you have stumbled across this article because you are looking for negotiation tips for buying a home and you are in the process of doing so. Buying a home can be an incredibly exciting yet scary time and negotiating with the seller can seem nerve-wracking and feel intimidating. However, this guide is meant to help demystify the process of negotiating with the seller when you are looking to buy a home after you receive the report from a home inspector.

Home inspectors are charged with describing the home’s present physical condition and indicating in their report which components, parts, and systems might require major repairs or need to be replaced altogether. No matter what an inspector discovers during a home inspection, a home cannot technically pass or fail an inspection.

We would be remiss if we did not explain how a home inspection differs from a city or municipal inspection since these inspections are meant to help determine whether or not a home is in compliance with local housing and building codes. Additionally, a home inspection is distinct from an appraisal, because an appraisal is meant to determine a home’s fair market value

Common Issues Uncovered With Home Inspections

The following are issues that frequently show up during home inspections so do not be surprised if you see them listed in the report you receive from your home inspector.

Issues With The Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning (HVAC) System

Common HVAC problems might be related to maintenance, outdated or incorrectly sized systems. Your general home inspector should be able to give you an idea about the age of the existing HVAC system. But if you are looking to learn more about the HVAC system, the condition it’s in, whether or not it has any issues, how much it might cost to replace, and how much longer it might last, you would need to hire an HVAC specialist to inspect your HVAC system and do a separate HVAC inspection.

 

A Seller’s Guide to the Home Inspection Process

For sellers (and first-time sellers in particular) home inspections can be frightening. What will the inspector find? What impact will a potential defect have on the sale price? Will the seller back out? Am I being treated fairly? These are questions everyone asks, so you shouldn’t be alarmed.

You can’t choose things you can control, but there are certain facets of the process you can influence. In the guide below, we’ll explain what the home inspection process entails, how you can prepare your home for the inspection, and what to do if you get negative results.

An Overview of the Process

The challenge of the home inspection process is that so much rides on the outcome. The seller is almost always biased; he or she believes the residence is in better condition than it probably is. However, no buyer wants to purchase a house that has certain defects and issues. “There’s a huge psychological dynamic that happens in this whole process,”

“The buyers are making a big purchase and they’re obviously going through a whole host of emotions, and then you’ve got the inspector there, and it’s their job to deliver up to the buyer’s expectations. There could be problems the seller isn’t even aware of that could impact someone’s decision to buy the house.”

To give an idea of what the process looks like, here’s how home inspections tend to roll out:

  • The buyer places an offer and the seller accepts.
  • The buyer’s offer is likely to be contingent on the home passing a certified inspection.
  • In most cases, the buyer’s lender will order the home inspection.
  • The home inspector will set up a time with the seller that works for his or her schedule.
  • The actual inspection lasts between three and four hours, and the inspector will examine both the interior and the exterior of the home.
  • The inspector isn’t looking for perfection. Normal wear and tear is expected for any home that’s a few years old. What the inspector is looking for are serious issues that may affect the safety, functionality, or overall appearance of the home.

 

Home Inspection Checklist: Your Guide to Getting the Most from an Inspection

Your home inspection is a great opportunity to understand the condition of the property you’re buying. You’ll have a professional home inspector as your guide, but it’s helpful to have an idea what to look out for. Both you and your real estate agent should attend the inspection so that you can follow along and learn about your new home

We’ve put together a handy home inspection checklist to give you an idea of what to expect. Roof: Let’s start from the top, literally. The inspector will look at the condition of the roof. If he notes that it may need to be replaced soon, you may want to negotiate with the seller to take this into account. Foundation: At the opposite end of the house, the inspector will look for cracks in the walls both inside and out that could indicate problems with the foundation. Electrical System: Do the switches work? Is the wiring up to code? Fans, light fixtures, circuit breakers and outlets will also be eyed. Plumbing: Visibly damaged pipes or leaking pipes are a red flag. The inspector will also check to make sure the hot water works and the toilets, sinks, and showers are functioning. Lawn: Drainage is a key issue here. Driveways and sidewalks are also on the list. Heating and Cooling Systems: These will be checked for functionality and safety. Appliances: If these come included, the inspector will note their age and condition. Exterior: How does the paint or siding look? Are the gutters firmly attached? Do exterior lights work? Basement and Attic: These will be checked for any signs of leaks or dampness. Insulation and ventilation will also be checked

Once you’ve finished the tour, the inspector will send you a detailed inspection report. If it does uncover significant problems, you can always go back to the seller to ask to negotiate repairs. Almost any home will have some small issues, so focus only on the most significant ones that could be costly. Major foundation issues or a roof that need replacing are high on that list. And remember, your inspector can’t catch every single thing that could be going on with your house.

He won’t, for example, peel up carpeting or look behind walls. Things like toxic mold also aren’t on his list. But you can often catch many of the most important issues with your house by hiring a good inspector and paying close attention to both his tour and follow-up report, using this home inspection checklist as your guide.

Disclaimer: The above is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered tax, savings, financial, or legal advice. Please consult your tax advisor. All calculations and information shown here are for illustrative purposes only. All third parties listed above are for demonstration purposes only and are not affiliated

 

Must-Know Home Inspection Tips for Buyers

If you’re buying a home, it’s always best to get the home inspected before you close the deal. While the inspection will probably reveal more than a few defects, it doesn’t mean its an immediate deal-breaker. Here’s how inspections work and next steps on how to move forward after you have one.

In almost every situation, it is advised that anyone buying a home first request a whole home inspection prior to closing. It’s important to understand what is — and isn’t — included in a home inspection and your options for moving forward if — or more likely, when — defects are found.

How Home Inspections Work

When you decide to have the home you’re buying inspected, you get to choose which company you use. If you don’t have a reliable one in mind, your real estate agent likely has a company they use frequently and would recommend. As the buyer, you pay for the inspection and are able to (and encouraged to) attend the inspection in person.

The standard inspection evaluates the condition of the homes heating and air systems, interior plumbing and electrical, roof, walls, ceilings, floors, windows, doors, foundation, and structure. Plus, you may want to (or be required to) get additional inspections for things like pests, or radon. The report provided to you after the inspection should include detailed descriptions and photos of any defects.

Fixes You Can Make Yourself

It is rare that a home inspector finds absolutely nothing wrong with the house. In fact, if this is the case, you may question the thoroughness of the inspector. Finding some problems doesn’t automatically mean you shouldn’t buy the house, only that you may need to be address the defects down the road.

Here’s How To Find The Best Mold Inspection For You

Residential Mold Inspection

mold inspections and house mold testing services involve the use of our extensive knowledge of mold and mildew (black mold, black toxic mold, Stachybotrys, and other molds) and the conditions conducive to home mold growth as well as building construction, air flows, building materials, and heating ventilation and air-conditioning systems.

residential mold inspections and mold testing with the following goals:

Test for Mold – Determine mold types present and airborne concentration levels (Most people want to know what they are breathing.)

Locate and detect hidden mold growth, including black  toxic mold;

Locate the source or cause of home mold growth or mildew;

Locate hidden water intrusion sources and moisture issues which may be causing or contributing to indoor mold growth or black mold growth;

Detect and locate plumbing leaks;

Inspect and assess water damage;

Inspect and assess black mold contamination and black mold exposure;

Inspect and assess mold contamination in HVAC systems and ductwork;

Assess the issues discovered thoroughly enough to provide our clients with good information and recommendations as to the cause(s) of the mold contamination and the possible remedies;

Collect air and/or surface mold samples, as needed, to determine types of home molds present and the black mold exposure levels or mold concentration levels;

Accurate licensed mold laboratory result interpretation.

comprehensive Residential Mold Inspection Services may include:

Black Mold Exposure Assessment

Moisture Intrusion Investigation

HVAC (Air-Conditioning Systems and Ductwork) Mold Inspection and Mold Testing

Water Damage Inspection and Evaluation (for repair or insurance)

Leak Detection Investigation

Microbiological and Bioaerosol Testing

Bulk, Swab or Surface, and Airborne Mold Testing

Moisture Testing of Building Materials

Indoor Air Quality Evaluation and Testing

Preparing Scope of Work Reports and Mold Remediation Protocols per the Department of State Health Services Rules and Regulation

Contents Restoration Assessments and Scopes of Work

Post Mold Remediation Clearance Inspections and Testing

Issuance of a Mold Certificate – The Certificate of Mold Damage Remediation was prepared by the Department of Insurance

 

Mold Removal / Mold Remediation

Molds are fungi that live both outdoors and indoors. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there are as many as 300,000 different species of mold. Mold grows and reproduces quickly in damp, warm conditions. Mold can grow on almost any surface from insulation to paint.

Many species of mold are harmless, but others can cause serious health issues. An example is Stachybotrys chartarum, also known as black mold, which produces poisonous mycotoxins. Any kind of mold can be a grave issue for people who have underlying illnesses like asthma and allergies. Appropriate precautions are advised to avoid exposing yourself and your family to additional mold spores. When in doubt, seek professional assistance.

Signs of Mold

There are a variety of different signs that can indicate a mold problem in your home.

A Damp, Musty Smell

Have you noticed a damp, musty smell in your home recently? This is a clear sign that you might have a mold problem. You should definitely investigate musty odors. Professional mold testing can help you to pinpoint the source.

Visible Mold

If you see black mold on your walls, carpet or other surfaces, then you definitely have a mold problem. The downside is that at this point, you probably have a large amount of mold present in areas that are not easily seen. For example, if you see black mold on your carpet, you probably have it underneath in the padding and floor, as well.

 

Mold Inspection

mold inspection and mold testing services leverage our extensive knowledge of mold and mildew (black mold, black toxic mold, Stachybotrys, and other molds) and the conditions conducive to mold growth as well as building construction, air flows, building materials, and heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems.

Moisture Detection

Where find mold, we find moisture. By locating the source of moisture and identifying hidden water intrusion sources can focus mold investigation in the right areas.

Infrared Technology

use FLIR infrared camera technology to enhance inspection services. This advanced, non-invasive technology allows inspectors to zero in and identify potential sources of moisture to more accurately determine testing and sampling investigations

Certified Mold Inspectors

value certification, education, and experience. Performing quality mold inspections requires all three. Each of inspectors, consultants, and project managers is a Certified Mold Inspector (ACAC and/or MICRO).

No Conflict of Interest

don’t perform mold remediation, repair, or construction. have no vested interest in the outcome of inspections other than to ensure you have the information needed to return your home or office to a healthy state

 

Common Causes of Attic Mold

Bathroom mold, kitchen mold, basement mold, these areas tend to get all the hype, but there is another area that property owners need to be aware of, too, the attic. Mold found in attic areas can be challenging at times when trying to pinpoint the exact cause and source of mold growth.

Roof Leaks

Yes, you guessed it, at the top of our list is roof leaks. Several issues can occur around the flashing or the area where the roof plane meets a vertical surface like a vent or a chimney. Missing, deteriorated, or improperly install flashing among other penetration points and inadequate roof repairs are the most common causes of roof leaks. Water seepage also occurs when the roof is beyond the end of its life span. An annual inspection of your roof by a roofing specialist and routine maintenance can prevent leaks in a roof system, effectively reducing the likelihood of mold growth in your attic.

Inadequate Roof Ventilation

Without adequate ventilation, moisture-laden air can remain in attic areas. Often, this will cause elevated moisture conditions around the roof framing and roof sheathing. During cold winter months, for example, condensation can occur on the cold roof sheathing creating this damp environment. You may think otherwise, but it is important to keep your attic cool during colder months.

Another common cause of inadequate ventilation is when your soffit vents are blocked by debris. This could be debris from trees, roofing materials, birds’ nest, or insulation – when it is blown into the attic. If proper care is not taken during this time, the insulation can end up blocking the soffit vents. Soffit vents are critical in a passive ventilation system to circulate air from the lower portion of the attic (intake vents) to the upper roof vents (exhaust vents).

Bath or Kitchen Exhaust Fans Vented into the Attic

Exhaust fans should be vented directly to the exterior of the home, and surprisingly we often find this is not the case. When an exhaust fan is missing its exhaust duct, or if the duct has become separated, the exhaust is then vented directly into the attic space, similar to the situation above meaning the warm damp air is trapped creating the ideal atmosphere for microbial growth. In this case, it’s important to correct the issue an re-route the vents to the outside.

Missing or Inadequate Attic Insulation

Attic insulation is key in not only energy conservation, but proper levels can also reduce the chance of mold growth in attic areas. As air travels up through a structure, insulation provides a barrier slowing the rate of conditioned air loss in an attic area. When an attic is missing insulation, the air movement increases significantly, and the influx of warm air can, once again, cause condensation on cold roof sheathing. This type of moisture condition resulting from condensation is a catalyst for mold growth. It’s important to check your insulation and make sure that you have even and adequate coverage throughout the entire attic, especially in the lower-north-side areas

 

DO YOU REALLY NEED A MOLD INSPECTION OR TESTING?

You need three things for mold to grow:

Moisture

Relative Humidity Above 60%

A food source such as drywall or wood

One other thing which fits this category would be time.

Some mold can generally start growing within 24-48 hours, however, there are certain types of mold spores that can take much longer to grow. Those are usually the more dangerous types of mold aka “black mold”.

Once you have those three presents, any mold spores floating around in the air will attach itself to the water damaged building material and start growing.

Do you need a mold inspection? This is a yes and no question. There are many different reasons why you may want to have a mold testing and inspection, but it ultimately fits into one of two categories:

You need it because you may have mold in your home

You need it because you want peace of mind

The Job Of A Mold Remediation

How to Find the Best Mold Removal Company

With so many mold removal companies to choose from, how do you decide?

Hiring the right company is necessary, yet a difficult decision… especially when it comes to the health and safety of your family.  You can’t afford to cut any corners.

Before I show you how to find the right mold removal company, I’ll explain the main difference between Mold remediation companies and restoration companies because this distinction will factor into your ultimate decision.

Mold remediation companies are specialized in safely removing contaminated mold in until the home is once again safe to occupy.

Mold remediation companies do not rebuild your home after the mold has been removed, but they may recommend or arrange for a company to help you with that

Restoration companies rebuild the home back to its original condition after the home after the mold has been removed. Many of these companies will remove the mold as well.

PRACTICAL TIPS FOR CHOOSING A MOLD REMEDIATION CONTRACTOR

Roof leaks or high indoor humidity leads to excessive moisture which can cause a lot of damage to your properties. Undetected water damage in a home can lead to dangerous mold problems and cause many health issues. Attempting to resolve the mold issue yourself can cause the mold to spread quickly to other parts of your home.

Make sure you’re dealing with professionals

You need to know you’re dealing with professionals. You can ask the remediation contractors to evaluate the affected area in your home. The manner they present themselves and how they answer your questions will tell you a lot. Look out for confident answers based on ensuring your health not just a price quote. Find out if they conduct air testing before and after remediation. Get the remediation contractors to explain the type of mold testing they do. If they do not conduct air testing, look elsewhere

Make sure they are licensed and insured

Insurance is necessary for remediation contractors because it provides coverage in case of an accident. A license, on the other hand, says that the contractors are recognized and permitted to operate in your area. One thing that comes with being licensed is belonging to an association that emphasizes standards. This means licensed remediation contractors are equipped with the best standards available to rid your home of molds. Always choose contractors who are properly insured and licensed.

Check for free mold assessment

It is a popular practice for remediation contractors to provide an evaluation of your home at no cost. You can then take the opportunity to evaluate their professionalism. If a remediation contractor cannot provide a comprehensive assessment, you should not put them in charge of your project

Look out for a guarantee policy

Even after removal, it is possible that the mold could return or that more damage has been done. Good mold remediators will guarantee their work, test your home for mold after remediation and resolve any issue that they may have missed during initial cleaning

HOW TO CHOOSE A MOLD REMOVAL COMPANY

In our line of work, one of the most serious health and safety concerns for home and business is mold.

Mold grows in damp and wet conditions and without proper clean up, containment, and complete remediation, the mold spores can cause skin irritation, respiratory illnesses, and other health concerns.

For example, mold is often the result of untreated water damage or leaks, or a secondary complication of the water that was required to put out a fire. Mold doesn’t just appear on its own. The conditions have to be right for mold to grow and are often the result of other property damage first.

In order to do this, if the area contaminated by the mold is larger than 3 feet by 3 feet, you will need to hire a professional mold removal company to eliminate the mold and remediate the area so no new mold colonies grow.

In this article, we will provide you with information on everything you need to know about mold, including how it grows and why it can be a health threat, as well as how to choose a mold removal company to help you restore your property

MOLD REMEDIATION COMPANIES

Mold remediation companies provide a number of services necessary to deal with the problematic growth of mold in the home – mold inspection, mold removal, repair of household damage due to mold. Some mold removal companies are certified in mold remediation, though certification is not required of mold remediation contractors so that’s something you want to inquire about when selecting a company to take care of your mold problem.

Why Hire Someone?

Some people decide to just handle their mold problems on their own, and in some cases that might work out fine. However, the Environmental Protection Agency recommends not attempting to clean up a mold problem on your own if the mold covers more than ten square feet. The thing is, even though you may only notice a few square feet of bathroom tile affected by mold, mold spores spread easily through the air and mold can hide in many places, including your heating vents and air ducts. You probably won’t see it there yourself, but certified mold remediation contractors know how to track it down and take care of it.

Something else to consider is that there are different types of mold, and different techniques are used to thoroughly remove different types. If mold is not thoroughly removed, it will continue to grow and spread, putting you and your family at risk for all sorts of health problems.

The picture below shows a bad case of black mold in an attic. Attic mold removal is usually a difficult job because it is hard to remove mold from porous surfaces like wood, and sheetrock and insulation usually need to be replaced

Choosing Among All the Different Mold Remediation Companies

Unless you live in a very small town, you probably have several mold remediation companies from which to choose. Don’t just settle for the one with the biggest ad in your local yellow pages. You can call your local Department of Health for suggestions, or check with the Better Business Bureau. The important thing is to make sure you choose a company that will do the job right.

Helpful Tips In Choosing A Professional Mold Removal Service

Most fungi and fungi-like parasites, especially those found at houses or any kind of structures, are most often known and called as molds. These molds thrive and live on dead and living organisms

Mold most often than not have harmful and dangerous effects on human beings. They should be kept out of homes, offices, and other commercial properties. When mold grows indoors, it will cause health problems that come out as allergic reactions, from sneezing and skin rashes to asthma attacks and respiratory infections.

The mold removal contractor should be well-known for their expertise and years of relevant experience.

The mold contractor you have in mind should have the necessary experience to do an effective job, from inspection to removal of mold. This means that the proper procedure will be used, in keeping with guidelines, and that all their staff has been properly trained, ensuring that safe and effective means will be used to accomplish the job successfully.

Get recommendations from others who have used the services of the contractor you have in mind.

When other clients have experienced satisfactory results from the work of the mold removal service, it should be safe to assume that you will also experience the same positive experience. Most companies and contractors have websites so checking out testimonials and success stories from previous clients would also be helpful.

Choose a contractor that also offers expert advice on future prevention of mold growth.

There are specific things and tips you can do to control the extensive growth of mold and expert mold removers not only know how to clean mold; they also know how you can prevent it from reoccurring, or at least contain it so that it does not cause huge damage, as it did the first time