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How to Look

at a House


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to your questions about
HOME INSPECTION
and HOME MAINTENANCE

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    When asked to evaluate them as much as possible, we would usually agree. There are still homes like this that come up on the market even today, and we always urge the buyer to try get the power turned on—if at all possible—before getting an inspection. But a home inspection is still worthwhile without power and can provide plenty of useful information about the condition of the home, even though the electrical and plumbing sections of the report would be based on a visual inspection instead of actually testing the systems. So you can count on a few surprises when the power is restored.

    Buyers sometimes ask us if we can bring a generator to power up the house and check everything, but that’s a terrible strategy for a couple of reasons. First of all, it is easy to start an electrical fire in a home with damaged and loose wiring and, secondly, it takes a big surge of electricity to start up an air conditioning compressor or well pump.

    We inspected a battered foreclosure without electricity this morning in Trenton, Florida, and it’s a good example of the problem with trying to use a generator. The home has a 5-ton package unit heat pump that draws 25 amps when up and running (called the RLA), but needs a surge 148 amps (called the LRA) to start up. A small generator that you can toss in the back of a pickup truck cannot even come close to providing that amperage. Testing the lighting and appliances would also be silly, since most of them are gone.

    The front view of the home is shown at the top of the page, and here’s a condensed version of what we were able to tell the customer. It is typical of what any professional home inspector would be able to do:

  1. ROOF - Although only 10 years old, it had premature failure of the tab adhesion, evidence of roof leakage, areas of damage, and needs to be replaced.

  2. WALLS AND CEILING - Part of ceiling removed, and mold-like evidence in another area of ceiling. Wall damage at multiple locations.

  3. FOUNDATION AND TIE-DOWNS - Satisfactory.

  4. WINDOWS AND DOORS -Two damaged windows, one with plywood emergency securing panel over it. Moisture damage to wall framing below one window, but does not appear to extend into floor framing below.

  5. PLUMBING SYSTEM - Water heater had been removed and there was damage to walls at areas of plumbing repair, but no evidence of intentional sabotage of the system. Unable to test for leakage, water flow, and drainage. Damage from water leakage at laundry faucet box that extends into floor sheathing.

  6. ELECTRICAL - Service drop pole and panel badly damaged by falling tree and requires replacement. Extensive missing fixtures and appliances.

  7. HVAC - Package heat pump appears undamaged, but main supply duct torn away from unit.

  8. WELL AND PUMP - Minor damage but appears functional.

    The probable expense for rehabbing one of these homes lies somewhere between the cost of what is visible that needs repair or replacement and the worst-case-scenario for some (but usually not all) of the components that could not be tested. It’s always a gamble but, if the price is low enough, the odds are in the buyer’s favor.

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    Here’s links to more of our blog posts with useful information about buying and owning a mobile home:

  1. Does it make sense to buy an older mobile home and remodel it?

  2. Where do I find the vehicle identification number (VIN) on a mobile home?

  3. How do I find out how old a mobile home is and who manufactured it?

  4. What is the life expectancy of a mobile home?

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

  6. What is the right price for a used mobile home?

  7. What does the HUD tag look like and where do I find it on a mobile home?

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


Even more blog posts about mobile homes:

  1. How can I make my mobile home look more like a house?

  2. How can I tell the difference between a manufactured home and a modular home?

  3. How much does it cost to move a mobile home?

  4. Can I install a mobile home myself?

  5. Where are Wind Zone 2 and Wind Zone 3 for mobile homes located?

  6. Can I paint the vinyl covered wallboard in a mobile home?

  7. How can I know if my mobile home meets HUD Code?

  8. What can I do to prevent moisture problems in my mobile home?

  9. Does an addition to a mobile home have to comply with with HUD Code?

  10. How much does a mobile home inspection cost?

  11. What is a Park Model mobile home?

  12. What is an air conditioner for a mobile home called?

  13. Do I need stairs at all exit doors from a mobile home?

  14. Why are there two VIN numbers on some mobile home titles?

  15. What’s the difference between a manufactured and a mobile home?

  16. Why are there cracks in the wallboard in a mobile home after its moved?

  17. Can you move a mobile home that is 20 years old in Florida?

  18. What is a pit set mobile home?

  19. Do you have any tips for buying a used mobile home?

  20. Why is the floor tile cracked in my mobile home?

  21. Why is it important that a mobile home stay level throughout its lifetime?

  22. How much venting is required for mobile home skirting?

  23. What do I need to know about building an addition to a mobile home?

  24. What is the average lifespan of a wood deck?

  25. What is the best air conditioner for a mobile home?

  26. What is a D-sticker mobile home?

  27. What is the life expectancy of a modular home?

  28. How do I upgrade my old (pre-1976) mobile home to meet HUD standards?

  29. When was the first double-wide mobile home manufactured?

  30. Why is my double-wide considered a HUD home?

  31. How energy efficient is a mobile home?

  32. Can I tell the year of a manufactured/mobile home from the HUD tag (red tag)?

  33. Can a mobile/manufactured home have a high radon problem?

  34. What are the HUD requirements for selling a remodeled or renovated mobile home?

  35. How many mobile/manufactured home manufacturers are licensed to sell their homes in Florida?

  36. Can a mobile/manufactured home get termites?

  37. What are the limitations on homesites where a mobile/manufactured home can be located?

  38. What does a home inspector look for when examining a mobile home crawl space?

  39. How do I look for mold in my mobile home?

  40. What is the difference between the electric service to a mobile home and a site built home?

  41. How can I make my mobile home more energy efficient?

  42. What are the ventilation requirements for bathrooms and kitchens in mobile homes?

  43. What would cause half of a double-wide mobile home to lose electric power?

  44. Can I convert a shipping container into a HUD-code manufactured/mobile home?

  45. Where do I find the water heater in a mobile home?

  46. How do HUD-code mobile/manufactured home standards compare to the IRC building code for site-built homes?

  47. What is the right humidity level in a mobile home?

  48. What is the difference between a manufactured/mobile home water heater and a regular water heater?

  49. What is an “RP” sticker for a mobile home?

  50. What is a manufactured home?

  51. What is the building code for mobile/manufactured homes in Florida?

  52. Where do I find the VIN/serial number on a very old (pre-1976) mobile home?