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June 25, 2010


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We did the same thing - asking a friend for a referral that is. It turned out he was very knowledgable and thorough. The inspection took more than 3 hours for our tiny 1100 sq. ft. house! But it was worth it. We got the sellers to pay for a new roof before we moved in.

Definitely some great information. I am actually coming from this at a different angle as I have been toying with the idea of taking the classes to become licensed as a home inspector. Construction and home sales are booming in my area and I know there is a need (even with the recent slump in real estate). Does anyone have any knowledge or advice on starting a home inspection business!

These are great tips to keep in mind as I know all of my potential customers will want and expect this type of expertise.

The inspector that our buyers had hired went through our house with a fine-toothed comb which caused us to have to replace a recalled electrical box ($1,000 concession) and water heater ($500). So some inspectors really do find issues w/plumbing, electrical, and mold, etc. I guess they just won't get too specific.

We liked him so we hired him to inspect our new house.

@DJ, I hope you have good health insurance! Because a friend of mine has been a home inspector for many years, and he's fallen off a roof a time or two. ;)

Our inspector was very thorough and looked at the plumbing under the house, checked for evidence of pest, looked at the heating and A/C, chimney in addition to the general inspection.

We did request a separate radon test but overall I think a lot of this depends on the inspector. Get referrals from friends/neighbors and your buyer's agent and call around.

I heartily recommend Mike Holmes's book "Holmes Inspection" as well. If you watch any HGTV, you can't miss him or his show "Holmes on Homes", so you know who he is.

In any case, it's critical that a prospective homeowner realize what the inspection can and can't reveal, educate himself, and accompany the inspector to serve as a second pair of eyes and ask questions.

And NEVER use a home inspector recommended by the realtor!

Thank you!

Although some home inspectors do a great job, one time a workman poked a hole through some dry rot in an eave while the home inspector watched. The inspector, who was there on behalf of the person who bought this house from me, made exactly 0 mention of it in his report. This was, we might add, after the workman remarked, as the inspector was still watching, that the fascia needed to be replaced.

I've learned to hire my own workmen to inspect property: I'll have the inspector in to do a general review, but my electrician, my plumber, and my roofer also are paid to inspect the relevant systems and estimate, realistically, what it will cost to make repairs or bring things up to code.

Thanks for these home-buying posts! I am getting close to buying my first home by myself and I need all the advice I can get. The place I'm contemplating right now will need some work and I'm clueless as a single woman in this process as to what everything will cost. I love watching that Holmes guy on HGTV so I'll have to check out his book too. Luckily, I live in a small town where I already know people who I can trust to find the best contractors, etc. and hopefully have not just a home inspector but other professionals check out my potential home.


I would contend it is ok to accept a referral from your buyers agent but not the selling agent. A buyer's agent is there as your advocate to help you with the buying process. They have experience and contacts within the industry. If you can't trust a referral from your buyer' agent then you need a new agent. That being said nothing wrong with checking them out on your own, calling around and comparing...that would be a good idea whether or not you get a referral from an agent or a friend.

When the wife and I built a new home a few years ago (not exactly great timing, but we can afford it), the builder had an energy audit done as part of the package. After the audit we got documentation, that it was an energy star qualified (Government program) home. It is supposedly good for resale.

While it may or may not be good for resale, I was impressed that the inspector spent a good couple hours testing a bunch of areas. Checing insulation, airtightness, etc. He even spotted a couple easy things to make the house more efficient that only required some caulk and insulation.

This is probably not practical for looking for a new home, but I'd recommend it for your existing home. Our heat/eletric bills are cheaper than most anyone I know and are only $10 a month higher than our last house that was 1,300 sq. ft. smaller and was built in '92. I think most utility companies offer this type of service.

My father-in-law bought a house late last year. He hired a home inspector to give it a thorough professional check. The inspector came out and charged him for the job done.

This year, my father-in-law discovered that the house has termites! He found them in a crawl space in the basement that the inspector didn't go into. My father-in-law assumed the the inspector check it out, but apparently he didn't.

It was wasted money for my father-in-law, only because he could have checked the house out himself! My father-in-law helped build his last house. Unfortunately my father-in-law (while a very smart man), doesn't make the best financial decisions. He definitely could have done the job himself and a better job of it at that.

Now in my case, it would have been worth the money for me, because I don't know what to look for!

So I guess using a home inspector really depends on the knowledge you have about housing...

Agreeed. "Home inspection" before buying is the BIGGEST rip off going!

OTOH, most home owners won't let you bring in detailed inspectors/engineers before the sale either.

Money Reasons - An "inspector" just looks on the surface usually. Very little if any active 'probing' of areas unless he sees something that catches his eye.

You need a house Engineer to review the building and few sellers are willing to allow that kind of close inspection.

(Frankly, MasterPo wouldn't let it happen either.)

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