How to Look

at a House


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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.

Recently, however, we have seen a shift in the attitude of banks towards foreclosure property buyers. They have been doing some cleaning, painting, and re-carpeting before putting selected homes on the market. Also, when presented with an inspection report that documents a leaking roof, or other significant defect that would make the house not able to be financed, they have become a bit flexible and willing to make repairs before the closing or give a price concession. But this is not a consistent trend, and is typically only happening for foreclosure properties that have been on the market for an extended period of time. Don’t expect anything if the property is new on the market.

So, why bother with a home inspection if you know you’re buying a home with problems? Because it’s the extent and expense of the necessary repairs that makes the difference between a good deal and a bad deal. Holes punched in the walls are ugly but easy to fix; roof, foundation, or mold problems can get very expensive. We will find any big-ticket defects for you, and give you ball-park prices for repairs where the extent of the defect can be determined.

What if the utilities are turned off?
It is best to have all the utilities (electric, water, and gas) turned on for your inspection, so we can test the functionality of the plumbing water service and drains, and air conditioning system, along with the electric panel, wiring, lights and appliances. But if your realtor is unable to get the selling institution to turn on the utilities for the inspection, there are still a number of things that can be checked during an inspection. Number one is moisture intrusion. A home that is unoccupied for an extended period of time, especially in Florida, can have problems related to high indoor humidity. Also, water can enter the home from roof leaks and vandalized doors and windows. We use an infrared camera to scan for moisture behind walls and ceilings, then confirm the presence of water with a moisture meter.
Here’s a list of components that can still be inspected with utilities off: structure, foundation, siding, roof, attic, insulation, doors, windows, interior walls, crawl space, garage, driveway, walkways, grading of property, electric service cable, and electric panel. A WDO (wood destroying organism / termite) inspection can also be performed. And, while we can’t test the HVAC, plumbing, and electrical systems, we can often document visible damage to these home components. Always, always first do everything you can to get the utilities turned on, though. Minimum surprises is a good thing when buying a home.

How much will a foreclosure inspection cost?
Our rate is the same as regular home inspections. Click on “What It Will Cost” at the top of this page for pricing.

Will you find all the defects in the home?
No. We do a thorough, careful visual inspection and use a number of high-tech tools. But no inspector will find every home defect. We cannot use invasive search techniques that might damage the property, such as opening walls or pulling up carpet; and we do not disassemble appliances to evaluate them.

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  To learn valuable strategies for getting the best possible home inspection, here’s a few of our other blog posts:

  1. How can I make sure I don’t get screwed on my home inspection?

  2. Should I trust the Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement?

  3. Can I do my own home inspection?

  4. How can homebuyers protect themselves against buying a home over a sinkhole?

  5. What makes a house fail the home inspection?

  6. The seller gave me an old home inspection report from a previous home inspection. Should I use it or get my own inspector?

  7. Why are expired building permits a problem for both the buyer and seller of a home?   

    To read about issues related to homes of particular type or one built in a specific decade, visit one of these blog posts:

  1. What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1950s house?

  2. What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1960s home?

  3. What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1970s house?

  4. What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1980s house?

  5. What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1990s house?

  6. What problems should I look for when buying a country house or rural property?

  7. What problems should I look when when buying a house that has been moved?

  8. What problems should I look for when buying a house that has been vacant or abandoned?

  9. What are the most common problems with older mobile homes?

  10. What should I look for when buying a “flipper” house?

  11. What should I look for when buying a former rental house?

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.
© McGarry and Madsen Inspection

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More Blog Posts on Similar Subjects:

  1. Should a home inspection scare you?

  2. What do I need to know about buying a foreclosure mobile home?

  3. What is the difference between an appraisal and a home inspection?

  4. Are you licensed and insured?

  5. We looked at the house carefully, and it seems alright. Do we really need a home inspection?

  6. Is a home inspection required?

  7. What is the difference between “character” and a defect in an old house?

  8. Should I be there for the inspection?

  9. What tools do you use for a home inspection?

  10. Is it common for an insurance company to require an inspection?

  11. The seller has to fix everything you find wrong with the house, right?

  12. Can I do my own home inspection?

  13. Is it still possible to do an inspection if there’s no electricity or water?

  14. What’s the difference between a roof inspection and a roofing estimate?

  15. Should I hire an engineer to inspect the house?

  16. Do inspectors go on the roof? Do they get in the attic?

  17. What should I look for when buying a former rental house?

  18. What happens at a home inspection?

  19. Does the home inspector also check for termites?

  20. What different types of specialized inspections can I get?

  21. What are the questions a home inspector won’t answer?

  22. What is the difference between a building inspector and a home inspector?

  23. What do I need to know about buying a 1950s house?

  24. What is the difference between a home inspection and a final walkthrough inspection?

  25. Should the seller be at the home inspection?

  26. What is the average lifespan of a house?

  27. What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1960s home?

  28. Should I use my realtor’s home inspector or choose one myself?

  29. Should I use a contractor or a home inspector to inspect a house I’m buying?

  30. Should I get a home inspection before signing a contract to buy the house?

  31. Can a home inspector do repairs to a house after doing the inspection?

  32. What is a “continuous load path”?

  33. When did the first Florida Building Code (FBC) begin and become effective?

  34. Should I only hire an inspector that is a member of a national association like ASHi, InterNACHI, or NAHI?

  35. What is a “cosmetic” defect in a home inspection?

  36. Where are the funny home inspection pictures?

  37. Should I follow the inspector around during the inspection?

  38. Why do realtors call some home inspectors “deal killers”?

  39. How can I reduce the risk of an expensive surprise when buying a house sight unseen?

  40. Does my home have to be inspected to get insurance?

  41. Who should pay for the home inspection?

  42. Can you do a home inspection in the rain?

  43. What are the most Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) at a home inspection?

  44. What are the common causes of ceiling stains in a house?

  45. Should I buy a house that has been remodeled/renovated without building permits or has open permits?