How to Look

at a House


A blog with answers
to your questions about
HOME INSPECTION
and HOME MAINTENANCE

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Welcome to our blog!
We want you to be an informed homebuyer, and each blog post is a question that we have answered for our friends and customers over the years. Hope they help you make a good choice for your next home.

  1. A contractor who can’t--or won’t--give you names, addresses, and phone numbers of satisfied customers in your area that you can actually call and talk to.

  2. A contractor who promises to do your job “at cost” but will not provide a specific price or, at least, a guaranteed maximum amount.

  3. A contractor that provides a Workmen’s Compensation exemption form instead of a Workmen’s Compensation Certificate of Insurance. The exemption is perfectly legal, but applies only to the one person listed on the form. Sometimes an unscrupulous contractor will show you an exemption in his name, but send over other people to do the actual work. Workmen’s Compensation Insurance covers workers for injuries they may sustain while working on your home--and guarantees that they will not sue you for their injuries. Your contractor is required by law to carry this insurance on anyone he employs to do your work that does not have an exemption card.

  4. A contractor who uses any high-pressure sales tactics, or threatens to rescind a “special price” if you don’t sign a contract on the spot.

   One final note: we recommend that you get several recommendations and interview at least two candidates for any major home-improvement project. Don’t simply take the recommendation of someone whose judgement you trust, including us. A few years ago we referred a customer to a small remodeling contractor that we knew well, and received a call a couple of months later that they were very unhappy with him. Sloppy work, not showing up  each day, and not finishing on the agreed timetable were all part of the list of complaints. As it turned out the builder was going through a divorce and his personal turmoil spilled over into his working day.

   Needless to say, that contractor is no longer on our list. Our customer said she sensed something was amiss when she first interviewed him, but proceeded based on our recommendation. Trusting a combination of  your personal instincts and good recommendations from friends when evaluating contractors is your best bet.


While we hope you find this series of articles about home inspection helpful, they should not be considered an alternative to an actual home inspection by a local inspector. Also, construction standards vary in different parts of the country and it is possible that important issues related to your area may not be covered here.
©2015 - McGarry and Madsen Inspection.

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