Under contract-What you need to know about home inspections.

Allison Rodrigues of Bold City Real Estate recently got to sit down with Home Inspector Jeff McKinney and ask some of the questions that we commonly hear, especially from first time home buyers. Read on to hear some of Jeff’s insight!

Do I need a home inspection if I’m buying a new home? Would I benefit from having a home inspection on a house I’m selling?

It is still important to get a home inspection on a new build. I’ve found outlets not working, vents not connected, and missing shingles on brand new builds. Another important thing to remember is that many builders will offer a one-year warranty on homes they build. Getting another home inspection at 11 months can be very beneficial as it can provide you a list of issues that you can then go back to the builder and ask for them to be fixed.

Pre-listing inspections are great for people who are considering putting their home up for sale. If issues are found on a pre-listing inspection, it allows the homeowners a chance to decide on what they want to address or not address before listing the house. This also promotes a less stressful process for the seller because it helps eliminate the surprise findings with the buyer’s home inspection.  

Jeff McKinney, Lead Home Inspector

Should I just be looking for a home inspector with the most amount of experience?

Experience is a very important factor but doesn’t always translate into getting the best home inspector. The best way to think of a home inspector is to think of them like a PCP (Primary care physician) but for the home. Your PCP is not expected to know everything about each muscle and bone in your body but enough to know when you need to see a specialist. Home inspectors are trained to search and test for issues but to refer you to a specialist (example: Plumber) if one is needed. When looking for an inspector, find one who will walk the roof, crawl the attic/crawlspace, and spend the time needed to do a thorough inspection.

Do I really need a home inspection? What about other add-ons like a wind mitigation? WDO?

Would you ever buy a used car without looking at the CarFax report and taking it on a test drive? Most likely you wouldn’t, and you shouldn’t purchase a home without doing your homework either. A home is a huge investment and a home inspection allows you to gain knowledge about the most important parts of the property.

There are many add-on services available such as a wind-mitigation report and WDO (Wood Destroying Organisms) inspection that are also valuable based on the history of your property. Wind mitigation reports can save you money on your home insurance depending on the year the house was built, roof attachments, nail spacing, roof shape, etc. This mainly applies to homes built prior to 2002 unless your insurance requires it. WDO inspections are very important and will let you know if there is any evidence of termites or other wood destroying organisms. 4-point reports are required by insurance companies on older homes usually over 30 years old. This provides insurance companies a report on the condition of the 4 main systems of a house. The roof, HVAC, plumbing, and electrical.  

Are home inspections standard or do different inspectors check different things? How can I make sure I choose a good inspector?

It is easy for all home inspections to seem the same but keep in mind that all inspectors go about their work differently. Inspectors explore areas of the home looking for issues in different ways, often based on their training and experience. Inspectors are required to follow certain standards of practice which are set by the association that trained them and by the state. Effort goes a long way in this business and can be one of best qualities a home inspector can have. It is important to find an inspector that will go the extra mile for you, one who doesn’t rush through the inspection, and one with honest communication. Information like this can be found in reviews and referrals. Realtors work with a lot of home inspectors and they usually have a list of inspectors they recommend.

Can I attend my home inspection?

Absolutely! We always recommend that you attend the inspection, if possible. Your home inspection is a very important part of your home purchase and we want to share all our discoveries with you. When you receive your report following the inspection, it can include a lot of details and may feel overwhelming. Whether something is big or small, we want to share it with you on your report. However, if you can attend your inspection then we can discuss each finding with you, explain how particular things work, and answer any questions that may come up throughout the process.  

At what point do I know whether to walk away from a home based on the results of the home inspection?

Every individual purchasing a home is looking for a property that perfectly matches with their wish list. For some people it may be a move-in ready home, while other people may be looking for a fixer-upper that will undoubtedly need a little bit of TLC. The moment someone decides to walk away from a purchase will be different for everyone, but we always do our best to share as much information in your report so you can make the best informed decision.

What are the most common defects you see in Florida home inspections?

Two of the most common issues that I find are damaged/missing shingles and HVAC issues. As we all know, Florida gets very hot which can put a lot stress on both these systems.

Do I, as a buyer, have any recourse against items missed in a home inspection now that I’ve closed on the home?

Before it gets to this point it is important to remember that home inspections are a snapshot of a homes current condition at the time of the inspection. Also, home inspections are non-invasive so that means that home inspectors can’t open walls, move furniture, and disassemble systems. Many home inspectors offer different “warranties or guarantees” but check to make sure that there wasn’t a limiting factor that prevented the inspector from discovering this issue in the first place. Example: You find that there is a window in a bedroom that won’t open but during the home inspection it was covered by a large dresser. The home inspector is not expected to move the dresser in order to test the window therefore should not be held responsible for the window not working.

Jeff McKinney is the Lead Home Inspector for L&H Home Inspection Pros. Born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida, Jeff is familiar with virtually every square mile of the River City. With an ambitious desire to understand all aspects of a home, Jeff is committed to educating each client throughout the inspection process.

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