Category Archives: Home of Inspection reports

What makes a good inspector and a good inspection report

I recently saw this on an inspection report by someone north of Palm Beach County:

Inspection reportRoof has 2 layers on it. This is not a recommended method of roofing for Florida and may present issues with obtaining insurance or financing. • Sagging / buckling on roof decking. • Damaged and rotted sheathing noted. • Recommend roofing contractor to evaluate. In the attic: Evidence of past or present leaks observed in several areas. Tested dry at time of the inspection. Monitor for leaks &/or have roofing contractor evaluate.

If you were buying this home, what would you think of this statement. I would be irritated if this was in a report on a home that I was buying. These statements mean absolutely nothing to someone not versed in construction or the building codes. If this inspector had any knowledge of the codes he would have known that yes, you can do a roof over, but only if certain conditions are met. One of those conditions is the roof decking has to be in good shape, of which this deck was not – that is why they did the roof over – to stop the roof from leaking.

This inspector is obviously either deficient in his education or very realtor friendly and does not want to write anything that would hold up the sale or cause the sale to not go though. It should have been clear to him that the roof needs to be replaced, as it was done wrong in the first place. Recommending that a roofing contractor evaluate the roof does two things. Is shows lack of knowledge on the part of the inspector, and now it will cost the buyer to spend more money to have the roof inspected, which is what he paid the inspector for. With the time constraints put on real estate sales today, there might not be time to get an opinion from a roofing contractor.

But don’t worry about the client, because this inspector is part of an association that will buy the house back for the purchase price, but that would depend on the interpretation on whether or not the association felt that the report had enough information in it that the buyer should have known, or had paid for a roofing contractor to come out and inspect the roof. And that brings me to another whole story. Do you think any buyer really wants to buy a home, pay all of the expenses on the home, ie closing costs, escrow to close, title insurance, and then only be paid back the purchase price, plus having to move again, which is costly.

It is important when you are buying a home to hire an experienced inspector. Do not take any recommendations without doing some homework. Part of that homework should be to review some sample reports from prospective inspectors. The ones that recommend further evaluation on most items are the inspectors you want to toss to the side. That roof should have been written up as a replacement. Based on the size of that home and the fact that there would be an extra charge to tear off the extra layer, a new roof would cost between $10,000.00 and $12,000.00. As a client, wouldn’t you want to know that so you could either negotiate for an new roof, or credit, or, if need be, walk away from the deal if the numbers did not meet your satisfaction.

Posted by Bill Siegel Florida Home Inspection Team Inc

 

Home Inspection: Important Things To Know

<img class=“alignleft size-full wp-image- 113381” src=“https://i2.wp.com/floridahomeinspectionteam.com/wp- content/uploads/2012/08/images.jpg?resize=249%2C202” alt=“Specific parts of home inspections in Miami, FL” width=“249” height=“202”>Home inspection: If you’re hiring someone to inspect the home you want to buy, or you’re a seller trying to find out if there are any hidden problems that need fixing before you put your home on the market, here are five things you need to know about home inspections:

1. You can choose your home inspector.

Your real estate professional can recommend an inspector, or you can find one on your own. All home inspectors are not the same. Here in Florida they must be licensed. Some may belong to an association. Before hiring an inspector find out how long they have been in business. Ask for sample reports. You want a home inspection that is going to look at every nook and cranny of the house, get up on the roof, crawl the attic or crawl under the house if it is an older house, pull electrical panels, test your AC and heating, plumbing, electrical system, and inspect your pool (if present). You may want someone versed in thermal imaging. Remember, one small miss from a home inspector or poorly written report could cost you thousands of dollars down the road.

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Home Inspections

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. A Home inspection is intended to point out adverse conditions, not cosmetic flaws.

You should attend the home inspection and follow the inspector throughout the inspection so you can learn what’s important and what’s not. No house is perfect and an inspection on any home is bound to uncover faults. A home inspector will point out conditions that need repair / replacement and/or potential safety-related concerns relating to the home. They won’t comment on cosmetic items if they don’t impair the integrity of the home. They also do not do destructive testing.

3. Home inspection reports include only the basics.

A home inspector considers hundreds of items during an average inspection. The home inspection should include the home’s exterior, steps, porches, decks, chimneys, roof, windows, and doors. Inside, they will look at attics, electrical components, plumbing, central heating and air conditioning, basement / craw; spaces, and garages. Here in Florida they should also be looking for illegal additions or room conversions. Some home inspectors will conduct permit searches on your property. Keep in mind that any violation or illegal addition will stay with the house after closing. Making corrections to these issues can be costly.

Home inspectors report on the working order of items such as faucets to see if they leak, or garage doors to see if they close properly. Inspectors may point out termite damage and suggest that you get a separate pest inspection. The final written report should be concise and easy to understand.

4. Home inspectors work for the party who is paying the fee.

Per the Florida Statues and Standards of Practice home inspectors must act as an unbiased third-party to the real estate transaction. A reputable home inspector will not conduct a home inspection or prepare a home inspection report if his or her fee is contingent on untruthful conclusions.

The inspector should maintain client confidentiality and keep all report findings private, unless required by court order. That means it is your choice whether or not to share the report with others. If you’re a seller, you don’t have to disclose the report to buyers, but you must disclose any failure in the systems or integrity of your home.

5. Inspectors are not responsible for the condition of the home.

Inspections are non-evasive, which means not destructive testing will be done, such as opening up walls to inspect for damage or mold. They should, however, recommend that this be done prior to the end of the inspection period. In many cases, it is the only way to assess damages and for the buyer to obtain repair cost estimates.

As a buyer, you need the home inspection to decide if the home is in condition that you can tolerate. You can use the report to show the seller the need for a certain repair or negotiate a better price. You can also take the report to a contractor and use it to make repairs or to remodel a section of the home. No home will be perfect. The report should indicate all defects, so it is important to understand which ones are more critical than the others.

One thing you should not do when buying a home is skip having the home inspected because of cost or undue pressure by the seller. A home inspection is reasonable, it can save you money in the long run, and it’s required by many lenders, particularly for FHA loans. There’s a reason why buyers should beware, and a home inspection gives you the information you need to make a sound buying decision.

Posted by BIll Siegel. Florida Home Inspection Team Inc. 305-190-251 Miami Home inspector

What should be included in an inspection report?

Inspection report

Inspection report

This topic of a home inspection report could cover a lot of issues, but for the purpose of this post I want to focus on report writing, and only certain issues on that topic.

Should items be rated as good, fair ,or poor?

I do not believe that any rating should be given in an inspection report. Our job is to list the item we are inspecting (roof, AC, water heater, etc.), state the condition of that item, listing any deficiencies, and then recommend what needs to be done, which is usually a repair by a licensed professional in that field. Unless we are proficient in that particular field, we should not be recommending how that repair is to be done. That should be left up to the repairing contractor. In other instances an item might be older, but still working, in which case we would recommend that it be monitored.

What about using the term “further evaluation”?

I see this term used in inspection reports all the time. The only time I will ever use this term is when the issue is structural. In my opinion it should never be used other than that. We are supposed to be professionals, and here in Florida we are now licensed. It is our job to evaluate each system and make a recommendation. By stating further evaluation, as I have seen many times in reports, why would the client need an inspection in the first place. We have now told them that they need another professional to come out and look at the same item we just looked at, and now they are paying twice for the same service. NOTE: our state has given inspectors an out on the as it states: The inspector shall make recommendations for correction and/or monitoring, or further evaluation of the deficiencies that the inspector observed. Mind you , I do not agree with that.

How should we be identifying what we are inspecting:

I see many inspection reports that list the roof as tile, which, in itself if correct, but I believe there are other issues that need to be listed, such as roof shape{s}, age, and once again deficiencies, if any, and recommendations. This goes for all other items as well (AC, water heater, etc.)

Here in Florida our Standards of Practice state that will:  report on those systems and components inspected that, in the professional opinion of the inspector, are significantly deficient or at the end of their service lives. If not self-evident to the client at the time of inspection, the inspector shall give a reason why, in his or her opinion, the system or component was reported as significantly deficient or near the end of its service life. This is where I see many inspectors dropping the ball. Many will state that the roof, AC, or water heater is old and near the end of its service life, but never give a reason as to why. A well written report will have backup to these statements, plus they are required under our licensing law. By not doing this, they can be opening themselves up to liability because that have not followed the law.

Should life expectancy be put into report:

Here the state says A home inspection does not include the prediction of future conditions, but it does not say anything about listing age. I believe the age of a system should be listed in the report. With the internet today, the age of most anything can be determined with a few clicks of the mouse. Age plays an important factor on the overall condition of the home. Think of it this way if you were the home buyer – if your roof was a shingle roof 16 years old with no leaks, wouldn’t you want to know that (at least here in Florida) that the roof was nearing the end of its useful life and will need replacing  the next 2-4 years (the average life of a shingle roof in my area is 14-18 years). If I was buying a home I would certainly want to know that.  The the same thing would apply to the AC system, and the water heater, as those are usually the next most expensive things to replace.

Should home inspectors be reporting on code issues or permits?

I think this one comes down to preference. I use code references as clarification for why something is wrong. I also look up permit information to get a history on the house. Many items require permits. A lot of the times permits are not pulled. I think my client has the right to know what conforms to the code and what does not. If a permit was required and not pulled, that item no longer meets the Florida Building Code and there is  possibility of fines. Depending on the issue, such as and illegally enclosed garage or Florida room, the city could require that it be torn down, returned to its original condition, or brought up to current code, all of which can be expensive. What most people do not realize is that these violations stay with the house and not the individual. Once you have closed on your house, you own all of the problems that go with it.

So how do I hire the type of inspector that I want?

That is a difficult question in today’s world. Here in Florida they made it too easy to get a license. All you need to do is take an online 120 hour course, pass a state exam, a criminal background check, and buy some insurance and you are good to go. With the internet age upon us most inspectors have web pages that look fantastic. It is almost impossible to tell them apart. So what do you do as a consumer. For one thing, interview your inspector. How long has he been in business. Ask how many inspections he has done, and look at those numbers carefully. If his license number is above 8000 he will be fairly new in the business. If he says he has done thousands of inspections, they most likely cannot be full home inspections, unless he was working for someone. They will most likely be insurance inspections, which do not come close to full home inspection. Most insurance inspections are completed in under 30 minutes. Full home inspections should take 3+ hours on site.

One of the best ways to find an inspector is though referrals, and especially from a real estate attorney. They know the good ones from the bad ones. I do not recommend taking a realtor referred inspector, unless properly vetted.  While there are some really good realtors out there, most of them want the deal to go through without a hitch, and the home inspector can be that ‘hitch’ if he is good. They will tell you what the inspection should cost (usually about $200). A good inspector will be double or triple that. And a good inspector may find issues that you can negotiate on. If you need a new roof, which can cost $6000.00+, or and AC system ($4000.00+), isn’t that worth the price of a good inspector rather than the cheap guy that will not be decisive and tell you what you need.

I hope I have been able to clarify some of the questions you might have about that report you will be receiving. If anyone has any questions, please feel free to give me a call.

Posted by Bill Siegel Florida Home Inspection Team Inc. 305-490-2513. Miami Home Inspector

 

 

Standards of Practice

The state of Florida licenses home inspectors and has created their own standards of practice. Every home inspector association also has their own standards of practice. These standards are the minimum that an inspector must inspect to. It is like the building code. They are the minimum standards that a house can be built to. Would you want a house built to the minimum standard or would you want one built better than the minimum? The same thing holds true for home inspections. Do you want someone who will do the least amount of work inspecting your home, or do you want someone who will go above the minimum and give your more information than the other guy?

As with the building code, if a builder uses better and stronger materials, you will pay more for the home. The same thing holds true with home inspections. When you hire someone who is doing more, you will pay more. It will take the inspector more time both on site and in writing the report. There is always something to investigate and research to ensure that the report is accurate. Do not expect to get a report on site and sometimes it might take more than one day to complete the report. But think about it. You are spending a lot money to buy a house. The more you know about it the better decisions you can make, and you will have more  negotiating power.

As an example of going beyond the standards. Did you now that just because a permit was issued and closed by the city, that does not mean that the item was installed properly, or that the right materials were used. We have found this in many window installations. We have to obtain he permits and sift through them to find out if the correct glass has been installed, and we have found many that have been not. The biggest case I have had involved a home in Coral Gables. The city, the builder, the home inspector, and the wind mitigation inspector all gave full credit for impact windows. After reviewing the permits and contacting the manufacturers we were able to absolutely verify that 90% of the windows in the home were not impact rated. It took four days to get the answer. And this was a custom-built home. The cost to replace those windows was over $300,000.

Believe me, I am not saying I am perfect and will find every defect and wrong item in a home. But we take the time to research each home if our clients are willing to pay the extra cost. When you pay $200.00 for an inspection you will get a minimal inspection. When you pay $1200.00+ for the same inspection you will learn so much more about your home because that will be the only inspection we will do that day and we will be spending as much time as needed to research our findings. We recently did a house where several items were installed without permits. Because an attorney was handling the closing, the seller agreed to have each item properly permitted. I am sure he, or the installing contractor, was fined on top of the initial permit cost.

Dont get me wrong. There are also guys that will charge higher prices and still do minimal inspections. Please do your due diligence and interview your inspector before hiring him or her. Getting a good inspection can save you thousands in the long run. Lets just say you are buying a house with a rather large roof. Would the cost of the inspection more than cover itself if the roof needed to be replaced, but you were not told that because of a minimal inspection report. If you could then negotiate the cost of the roof, you could save $10,000+ for whatever the cost of your inspection was. When you look at the number side of an inspection, the cost would be negotiable.

Posted by Bill Siegel Florida Home Inspection team Inc.