Home Inspection

now browsing by tag

 
 

Purchasing a New Home and Why You Need a Realtor and a Home Inspector

You drive into a brand new subdivision that XYZ Homes is building.  There is construction going on all over the place and you fall in love with one of the models.  Next stop is the sales office. There you meet a very nice salesperson that would love to help you purchase a brand new home. STOP!

That sales agent is a realtor.  A realtor that works on commissions from sales of these new XYZ Homes.  If you put yourself under contract today, you have just handed that realtor the golden ticket, that is they get both commissions for the home: the buyer’s (yours) and the seller’s (XYZ Homes).  That person is now working for you and for XYZ Homes.  In the event of an issue (and there will be issues), who is that realtor really representing? (Hint: you represent one sale. XYZ Homes represents several dozen sales.)

Do yourself a favor and get your own realtor to represent you.  In the event of a dispute or issue, your realtor is your advocate and will negotiate on your behalf.

Secondly, get a home inspector that is familiar with new construction to watch your house while it is being built.  Typically, this is done in phases over the construction process with reports at each phase.  Normal phases can include: Footer, slab, lintel, frame or pre-sheetrock, and final. These phases represent major milestones in the home’s building process.

The sooner you get your inspector on board, the better your home inspector can watch out for you as your home is built. Don’t rely on the builder or the code inspector to look out for you.  The code inspector (city or county depending on where your home is built) only has a certain list of things that they are concerned with checking. The code inspector often has between 20 and 50 homes to inspect PER DAY.  How much time is that person spending on your home?

And the builder’s standard commnet is “It passed code.” That is like saying you passed high school with straight “D”s.  Code is the bare minimum standard, not the best standard.

Most builders are only concerned with how many homes they close this quarter. Honestly, if they are a production home builder, their biggest concern is cost.  If they can save $100 on 1000 homes, someone gets a great end-of-year bonus. Their subcontractors (all of the trades) are often chosen on the cheapest price.  They have bid the work cheap and now have to figure out how to make a profit when there is very little profit margin.

Stickers and Their Information

Lots of products have stickers or tags when you purchase them.  Most of them can be removed.  For example, you don’t keep the stickers and tags on your clothes.  But most of you do leave the tag on your mattress.

Some tags are important to be left in place.  The one on your garage door, entry door or window may save you money when your home inspector does a Wind Mitigation Inspection for you.  These stickers tell the inspector if the product is impact rated or wind rated, and how much they are rated.

A few of you seem to be unable to live with a sticker up at the top of your window behind the blinds.  Removing this sticker removes any certification for wind or impact rating for that window.

Window sticker

Typical Window Sticker

Same for doors, but the sticker tends to be in the jamb, near the hinge or up on top of the door.

Door Sticker

Typical Door Sticker

Garage doors have many stickers.  Most are warnings not to mess with the springs, don’t stick you fingers in the pinch points, or to be under the door when it comes down.  The important one for your home inspection is the wind load rating.

DSC08086

Garage Door Wind Rating Sticker

In short, don’t take the sticker off of your home’s products.  It may cost you money in the long run.

Plumbing Vent Boots

You see these on almost every roof.  They are the vent pipes that let the sewer drain pipes “breathe”.  Without vents, your drain pipes would not function properly.  Much like holding your finger over the top of a straw and finding out the liquid will not drain out of the straw, your drainage system needs to allow air in to allow liquids out.

Most of our vent drains have a lead boot covering them.  Something like this:

DSC07927

But if you have squirrels in your neighborhood, and they travel across your roof, they will often stop to gnaw on these lead vents.  Evidently, chewing on the lead feels good to them. The down side is that once they chew through the top of the boot, moisture (rain) can get into the home via the gap now in the system.  This water will drain down into a wall cavity where it and it’s associated damage are hidden from view.

Here we can see two examples of failed boots.  They both are allowing water into the walls of the home.

DSC08842a

DSC07862

The Dangers of DIY Electricians

Here we see an electrical panel that at first glance looks professional.  The wiring is neat.  The wires are bent and terminate properly.  Upon closer examination, we see where a circuit has been added for an additional outlet in the garage.  This was obviously not done by a professional licensed electrical contractor.

The wiring for the additional circuit was not done by adding a breaker even though there was room in the panel. Instead, the wiring was added directly to the main buss of the panel.

DSC09344a

You can see the two wires screwed directly to the buss bars.  This essentially created a 220 volt, 20 amp circuit that is protected only by the 150 amp main breaker.  This is very wrong and very dangerous.  This circuit could be overloaded to the point that the insulation could melt on the wiring and the wiring could get hot enough to create a fire.

 

The Bathroom Vent That Didn’t

In the bathroom, the vent seemed to be working fine.  However, upon looking in the attic we see the vent is not exactly doing its job.

DSC07277a

The large black coupling at the top of the foto should be connected to a duct pipe to evacuate the moist air out of the bathroom and out of the attic space.  Instead, it is dumping humid air into the insulation beside it.  This will create a perfect environment to grow mold (moisture and warmth).

The sad part is that the exhaust duct was just to the right of the picture. Had the vent been installed 180 degrees around, it could have been fine.

DSC07278a