Sunday, May 03, 2009

What to Do After the Home Inspection

So you have contracted to buy the home of your dreams (or at least the home you can afford), you were smart enough to find a home inspector independently who is licensed and certified by ASHI, and maybe also an engineer for good measure, and you have read the home inspection report cover to cover. What now? Well here is a list of things that you should consider.

First of all, make sure that you are clear about all the issues or defects the home inspection report describes. If you are not completely clear on these, call the home inspector and ask for clarifications. You should also make sure that the implications of not correcting listed defects are known to you. Most home inspectors will be glad to discuss their report with you. At Meyers Home Inspections, when you call, you will always be able to speak directly with the home inspector. At some other larger home inspection firms that have many salaried employee inspectors this may not be so easy.

Second, decide which of the deficiencies in the home that are called out in the home inspection report are so compelling that they absolutely must be corrected before you will occupy the home. These are “must correct” deficiencies that your attorney should bring to the attention of the sellers attorney, and your decision to purchase should be contingent upon satisfaction of these serious defects.

Third, decide which of the deficiencies in the home that are called out in the home inspection report materially affect the price of the home that you originally agreed upon. For example, if the home inspection finds that the roof is almost worn out, you will probably have to pay for a new roof soon after you move in. The roof may not be leaking yet, and the seller may make the argument that “the roof is not leaking, so I am not going to replace it”, but you have a right to expect a reasonable amount of additional service from the roof (5 years is a typical number suggested by most insurance companies). So, be smart, request a price concession to cover the cost of roof replacement. The same goes for any other major system in the home, such as the heating/AC, water heater, etc.

Fourth, do not forget to make sure that there are no abandoned buried oil tanks lurking on the property. An abandoned buried oil tank is a significant potential liability for you. We at Meyers Home Inspections always recommend that a sweep of the grounds for an abandoned oil tank be done unless credible documentation is available that the home never used fuel oil.An inspection for termites and other wood destroying insects is almost always required by mortgage lenders, and since an infestation of wood destroying insects in a home can do significant damage, we always recommend that a separate inspection be done by licensed professionals. We can arrange for this to be done in conjunction with the home inspection, and will include it in our price quotation as a sub-contracted service. If evidence of an infestation is found, a treatment may be needed to assure that the infestation is eliminated. If we see evidence of significant damage to the wood structure caused by the infestation, then repairs may be advisable. Most of the time, the cost for treatment of an infestation is paid for by the seller of the property. Damage to the structure, should we find this to have occurred, can almost always be repaired an a reasonable cost.

In New Jersey, a screening test to rule out high radon levels in the home is recommended. High radon levels in the home are, according to the EPA, are listed as second after smoking cigarettes as a cause of lung cancer. We are licensed radon technologists, and can do the radon test in conjunction with the home inspection. If the radon test results indicate an average level of 4 pCi/l or more, then experts recommend that further evaluation or remediation should be considered. Typical radon remediation systems are routinely installed and usually cost no more than $1500.00 for the average home. It is common for sellers to be asked to cover the cost of radon remediation systems. For more information about radon in the home, you can visit

You should do a walk-through of the home just prior to closing. During this walk-through you should make sure that there have not been any new problems or damage that was not present when the home inspection was done. The walk-through is important because often there is a fairly long period of time between the home inspection and your closing date, and also, in the process of a move-out, there is a high risk that damage may be done to walls, floors, windows etc. Also, if seller turns off the heat but does not winterize the home, there may be serious damage done if pipes freeze.

Finally, every home needs regular maintenance to keep it in good shape. A list of maintenance tips can be found at our web site.

What Type of Home Inspection Report is Best?

Our home inspection reports have been called "the best we have ever seen" by numerous clients, attorneys and real estate professionals. We provide a detailed narrative style written report that is custom written for your property. The report includes digital color photos of your home and the home systems. If you have a question about anything that is in our report you can call the inspector directly to get the answer.

What About Instant Check List Type of Reports?
We do NOT provide a "check list" type of report, as we feel that a "check list" report can not provide adequate detail or accuracy as compared to the narrative report that we custom prepare in our office. We will be happy to answer questions during the inspection, but will not provide an "instant" computer generated type of report. Our considerable experience doing home inspections for many years has convinced us that "instant" type reports provided by some other home inspectors are likely to be inaccurate or incomplete since they are not proof read before delivery.

Should You Be Present at the Home Inspection?

Yes , you should be present at the home inspection if at all possible. We consider the home inspection to be an educational experience. Your home inspector will be pleased to answer any questions you may have when you accompany him on the inspection. Our report will cover all aspects of the home that are part of the home inspection, and will provide a description of the system or part of the home, its current condition, and recommendations for maintenance, repair, or replacement if needed.

What is a Home Inspection?

A home Inspection is primarily a visual, non-destructive, inspection with limited probing where allowed, with operational tests of systems using normal controls. The home inspection reports on the condition of the home as found on the date of inspection, and makes recommendations to repair, replace, monitor a system if marginal, or recommends further evaluation of a system if this is needed to determine the true condition. A home inspection should not be considered to be an insurance policy against future damages or damaged from concealed or latent conditions that may be present when the home was inspected. There may be conditions that are not identifiable at the time of the inspection because they do not immediately show themselves as problems, but instead progressively deteriorate and require repair or replacement at a future time. For example, a basement filled with stored items can hide defects in the foundation wall framing. Re-modeling or building an addition onto the home can expose hidden termite damage when walls are opened. A home inspection is not a guarantee against the possibility that repairs may be needed to the home. You should expect the need for maintenance, and repairs, because no inspection can totally eliminate all risks, and all homes need regular maintenance to keep them in good condition.Who Will Do the Home Inspection? Your home inspection should be done by a licensed home inspector who also has engineering training. State regulations actually do not require home inspectors to be engineers, and only a few of the hundreds of home inspectors in NJ are engineers. If you choose Meyers Home Inspections, your inspection will be done by degreed engineers, or by an experienced Licensed NJ Home Inspector, with the home inspection report reviewed for accuracy and completeness by the engineer before it is sent out to you.