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.


More Blog Posts on Similar Subjects:

  1. What do you check in a mobile home inspection?

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

  3. Should a home inspection scare you?

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

  5. Are you licensed and insured?

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

  7. Is a home inspection required?

  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. How do sellers try to fool the home inspector?

  20. Does the home inspector also check for termites?

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

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

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

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

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

  26. Should the seller be at the home inspection?

  27. What is the average lifespan of a house?

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

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

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

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

  32. What makes a house fail the home inspection?

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

  34. What is a “continuous load path”?

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

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

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

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

  39. Where are the funny home inspection pictures?

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

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

  42. What does a home inspector mean by calling something “not readily accessible”?

  43. I can’t find a local home inspector. What should I do?

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

  45. Who should pay for the home inspection?

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

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

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

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

  50. How can I make sure my house doesn’t fail the home inspection?

  51. Do home inspectors inspect outbuildings?

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

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

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

    Like any good home inspector, we have occasionally been called a deal killer by a realtor, but never by a high-volume, successful one. The realtors that sell millions of dollars worth of homes every year know that a bad inspection is going to spoil some of their deals, and they expect it once in a while. Also, a smart realtor works hard after a problematic inspection to get both sides to reach an agreement and hold the deal together.

    In our experience, it’s the realtor that sells only a few houses a year and is desperate for the next check that blames the inspector for losing their sale or making them wait longer to get it. The drama often begins when we arrive at the house, when they take one of us aside and whisper “These buyers are very sensitive. Please don’t upset them!” Next, while we are doing the inspection, they walk around the house and pronounce loudly to the buyer or anyone within earshot things like “Isn’t this a wonderful kitchen?” Or maybe, “I really love this house. Don’t you? And what a big backyard!”

   As we point out defects to the buyer, they attempt to argue with us about whether they are valid or even worth mentioning. A typical comment would be “Oh, you can fix that yourself for ten dollars. I don’t know why the inspector is even going to put it in the report.” Or “I have a handyman that can fix that hole in the roof for you for less than $100. So don’t worry about it. And, by the way, he can also spray some bleach on the mold. Good as new!” Sometimes it’s downright comical, with even the buyer smirking at the theatrics.

   At the other end of the spectrum, a busy, successful realtor takes notes during our inspection, arranges to get prices for big-ticket items, asks lots of pertinent questions, and begins planning the next step with the buyer right away. The environment is calm and moves forward logically.

    However, to be fair, there are inspectors out there that see a home inspection as war between them and the realtor. They savor their confrontations and the dramatic flourishes when demonstrating ugly defects. One local inspector actually loves to boast “They call me ‘THE DEAL-KILLER!” as an incentive to hire him and, yes, it is possible to overstate the seriousness of defects.

    An unfortunate part of our job is that we sometimes see a customer walk away from a perfectly good house because they are spooked by a minor defect, and all of our explanations as to why it’s really not a big deal will not dissuade them. Then, on other occasions, we try desperately to communicate to the buyer—and in this case, it is usually a first-time buyer— that the house is not a fixer-upper, it’s a hopeless money pit. But they buy it anyway. We try to calibrate our presentation to the seriousness of the defects in a house and the cost to repair them, but the report is not always received the way we think it should be.

   One of the things an experienced realtor does that we appreciate is prepare the buyer for the inspection by telling them that the inspector always finds a few things, they can review the final report together later, sort through it and decide what to do...and that everything is going to work out just fine.


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.
©2016 - McGarry and Madsen Inspection

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