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Warranties and What’s Behind Them

Some home inspection companies advertise the “free” warranties they provide along with their inspections. Sounds great – until you read the fine print.

Usually, the ones providing these warranties are fairly new in the business and are looking to get a leg up on the more established companies in the area. You’ll see things like “90 Day Sewer Warranty” or “30 Day Appliance Warranty” or several others up to full home warranties. Please, if you use one of these companies, read the fine print. Many of these add on services are not worth the time it took to read them. Others are merely a way to access your personal information for additional marketing. A few are legitimate, but they are rare as unicorns.

At a home inspectors’ conference, one of the speakers was from one of these home warranty companies. He actually bragged that in the previous year, they had 50,000 customers sign up at $100 per client. That is $5 million in gross income. He went on to then brag that in that year, they had hundreds of claims, nearly all of which were denied, but they did have to pay for one dishwasher. Not a bad gig if you can get it? Total income $5 million ($5,000,000) and total expenses in the neighborhood of $300 for a new dishwasher and installation.

This same speaker went on to add that once you are one of their customers, they then market your information to some of their sister businesses, at an additional profit to them. They would get you signed up for other extended warranties; such as plumbing, AC service contracts, etc.

Are all warranties bad? My experience has be that very few extended warranties have been worthwhile. Cell phones, tablets and washing machines are the only ones I’ve personally paid for that have been worthwhile.

But some of these warranties are “free” and why not use them? Most of these free warranties are of the 30 to 90 day variety. They did cost the inspector a few dollars, but that is part of his cost of doing business. Think about this; from the time you have your inspection until you close on your home and move in will typically take 30 to 45 days. What is going to go wrong with your sewer lines or your appliances while they are sitting unused in the home waiting on you to move in? OK, some of these are for 90 days. Still a safe bet that if they were working at the time of inspection, that you’ll get at least another month or two out of them.

Time to Clean the Gutters

gutter full of leaves

Ok, it is Autumn here in Florida. The temperature may not show it, but the trees have figured out there is less daylight and are shedding their leaves. Leaves like to collect: in corners, in roof valleys, and especially in gutters.

Gutters full of leaves do not drain properly. In short, they stand water. Water standing in leaves picks up the tannic acid from the leaves and can corrode metal gutters. Standing water can also overflow the gutter and enter the home through the facia. There, it will begin rotting the wooden facia and start causing all sorts of other problems (wood rot and other fungi).

The best cure for all of this is to get your handyman or spouse or self on a ladder and dig that stuff out of the gutters. Use leather or other protective gloves as there is not much telling what is in that stuff. While you’re up there, look at the roof. Do you need to blow the leaves out of the valleys? Are the shingles still in good shape?

Be careful on the ladder and stay safe.

Roof Drains Done Wrong

One roof should never drain onto another roof. This will shorten the life of your shingles where the upper roof dumps water onto the lower roof.  Take this new home for example. The upper roof had gutters installed, but they dumped the downspouts onto the lower roof.  This took all of the water from the upper roof surface and concentrated it into a 4 inch wide pipe. Shingles were never designed to handle water volumes like that.

To make matters worse, at the other end of the home, the downspout flows water across the shingles. Shingles are not designed to be waterproof, but to shed water. Flowing large amounts of water sideways across the roof surface is inviting water to get under the shingles. Once that happens, it is not long before a leak will occur.

This was not a small home, but a large 5 bedroom home in a new subdivision.  I’ll say it again, if you are purchasing a home, new or old, you need a Licensed Home Inspector to go over the home with you.  It can save you much more than the cost of the inspection. Contact i-Inspect today for your home inspection needs.

 

 

 

 

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.

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