More Blog Posts on Home Inspection:

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

  2. Can I do my own home inspection?

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

  4. Should a home inspection scare you?

  5. What questions should I ask the home inspector during the inspection?

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

  7. Are there any minimum standards that a home inspection must meet in Florida?

  8. What should I wear to a home inspection?

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

  10. What is the best way to negotiate repairs after the home inspection?

  11. Are you licensed and insured?

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

  13. What happens at a home inspection?

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

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

  16. What do I need to know about a condo inspection?

  17. Does the home inspector also check for termites?

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

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

  20. What questions should I ask a home inspector I’m considering hiring?

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

  22. How much does a home inspection cost?

  23. Should the seller be at the home inspection?

  24. What is the difference between an FHA inspection and a home inspection?

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

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

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

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

  29. What makes a house fail the home inspection?

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

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

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

  33. Where are the funny home inspection pictures?

  34. Should I follow the home inspector around during the inspection?

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

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

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

  38. Do I need a home inspection to get insurance?

  39. Why is a fuse box an insurance problem for homebuyers?

  40. What are the most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) at a home inspection?

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

  42. How can I make sure I don’t get screwed on the home inspection?

  43. Does a home inspector give cost estimates for repairs?

  44. Do home inspectors inspect outbuildings?

  45. Are there any minimum inspection standards that a Florida licensed home inspector must meet?

  46. Can a Florida licensed contractor do home inspections without having a home inspector license?

  47. What inspections does a bank or mortgage lender need for loan approval?

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

How to Look

at a House


A blog with answers
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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. 1)We see our job as providing you with some of the facts necessary to make your own decision because, actually, the home inspection is just one part of the data you must review to make a good home-buying
    decision. An appraisal tells you how the price your are paying compares to the current market value of the home, based on other recent home sales. A surveyor verifies that the home is correctly sited on the land, along with checking for any encroachments or other site-related problems. And the title insurer verifies that the seller actually owns the property and is able to convey it to you free of any encumbrances.

  2. 2)What do you think this house should sell for? We inspect about a dozen houses a week and, in the process, overhear lots of stories about asking prices, final sale prices, and complicated, crazy negotiations. So we can tell you some amusing anecdotes, but that doesn’t mean we know anything about what a house is actually worth. Ask your realtor or appraiser this question.

  3. 3)Is this a good neighborhood? We have no idea, but ask the neighbors. Seriously...you would be surprised at how much some of them will tell you. And online research regarding the demographics of the zip code can give an idea about the surrounding area.

  4. 4)Does this house have lead paint? Any home built before 1978—when lead paint was banned by the federal government—has the potential to have lead paint buried under the layers of newer paint added in the last
    four decades. About two-thirds of the homes built before 1940 and one-half of the homes built from 1940 to 1960 contain heavily-leaded paint. Some homes built after 1960 also contain heavily-leaded paint. It may be on any interior or exterior surface, particularly on woodwork, doors, and windows.
        While there are several do-it-yourself test kits available at hardware stores, they have been proven to be inconsistently accurate, and the only test approved by the EPA uses X-ray fluorescence to determine if the paint contains lead. The testing is done only by professionals trained by the equipment manufacturer and who have passed a state or local government training course, since the equipment contains radioactive materials. Because of the cost of the equipment (about $20,000) home inspectors do not provide this service, but can refer you to a professional lead inspector to check your pre-1978 home for the presence of lead, and the cost for the inspection is typically about $300. The inspector will check each wall and trim surface in every room and around the exterior of the home and provide a detailed report of the findings.

  5. 5)Is the house in a flood zone? Your insurance agent can tell you if the home is in a flood zone, based on maps created by FEMA. If you feel that your property has been incorrectly included in a FEMA flood zone, you can have a surveyor certify your floor level to contest the FEMA map rating. It is not uncommon in the Gainesville area to contest a FEMA flood zone rating and have it changed for less expensive insurance.

  6. 6)Did you see any sinkholes? We do not inspect for sinkholes, and evaluating whether a small depression in the yard is the start of a
    house-swallowing sinkhole requires examination with specialized equipment—typically ground-penetrating radar.

  7. 7)Is there clay soil under the house? Again, this is beyond the scope of a home inspection and requires soil borings for core-sample evaluation by an engineering firm. We can, however, advise you if structural defects we observed may be the result of clay soil heaving and recommend testing to confirm it.

  8. 8)Are there any cracks in the floor slab under the carpet? Because a home inspection is non-invasive, we do not pull up carpet to see what’s under it. We are limited to a visual inspection of readily accessible areas.

  9. 9)Is the fence mine or the neighbor’s? While it may seem obvious which fencing belongs to the property from walking around the perimeter, we do not venture to guess which side of the property line the fences are on. A surveyor will determine what is within the property boundaries, and the results are sometimes surprising.

  10. 10) How much damage is there inside the wall? Wish we had x-ray vision, but home inspectors don’t. If there is a small opening in the wall at the area of damage, we can use a video borescope to view the nearby interior surfaces. However, exterior walls are filled with insulation and it may not be possible there. Also, a infrared camera can sometimes provide limited information about what’s happening inside a wall but, ultimately, you have to open up the wall to see the extent of any damage. Most of the time, the seller is unwilling to allow an invasive inspection and you may have to wait until after you have bought the house to get a clear picture of the damage.


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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