How to Look

at a House


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to your questions about
HOME INSPECTION
and HOME MAINTENANCE

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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.

  Many homeowners consider that a city or county building inspector snooping around their property is an invasion of their privacy by the government. “A man’s home is his castle,” as the old saying goes. And, after all, why should it be anybody else’s concern how you improve or add on to your house?

  Actually, there are a number of good reasons:

  1. 1)If you and your family were to live in your house for the rest of your lives, and never allow any guests inside, then have it destroyed at your death, it might be conceivable that it’s nobody’s business what you do to your house. But it never works out that way . Eventually your home will be occupied by someone else.  And that is where, in the government’s role of protecting public safety, it is important that the house not be a fire trap, about to collapse due to poor construction, have contaminated water due to unsafe plumbing, electrical shorts sparking in the walls, or any of a number of other hazards.

  2. 2)If you need to be rescued from your home in a fire, it now needs to meet minimum standards so that a fireman with an oxygen backpack can get into the house and save your life, and house numbers large and legible enough to be seen quickly by an emergency responder.

  3. 3)Having a home inspected by a professional home inspector can tell you a lot about the condition of the house. But a home inspection is primarily visual: the inspector cannot see behind the walls. Because permit inspections are done at multiple phases of construction, a city/county inspector has looked behind the wallboards and under the carpet at the early stages of construction to verify that everything is satisfactory.

  4. 4)Some price reductions on a homeowner’s insurance premium, due to windstorm resistant features of a home, now require proof of a building permit for the work in order to receive the discount.

  If you are about to sell your house and have not kept copies of the building permits for the improvements, don’t worry; because records have been computerized for about the last 30 years.

   A record of building permits and inspections is no guarantee that everything is satisfactory in a home. Municipal inspectors don’t check everything and occasionally, being human, miss a defect. Yet it still provides a level of comfort for homebuyers in today’s market.


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.
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