Home Inspection 101 For Real Estate Professionals Instructed by: (name)
Leave you with: A good understanding of the home inspection process How to manage your client’s expectations of the home inspection How to increase your client’s satisfaction and lower your liability. Course Objective
Information gathered from an inspection helps bring buyers and sellers together: Information leads to knowledge Knowledge leads to understanding Understanding leads to agreement: Inspectors should understand their role in the sales process. Buyers, sellers and real estate professionals all have a role in the sales process. Inspection Completes The Sale
Goals of Inspection • To share unbiased information about major components and safety issues • To discuss repair, maintenance or safety issues beforehand • To move the sale forward
Informed Buyers • Most buyers know little about construction • Answering questions puts mind at ease • Informed buyers are better satisfied and can better: anticipate/plan for repairs/maintenance • Real estate professionals can focus on the next sale
Pre-inspection agreement: defines scope of inspection, standards used and fee charged Home inspection report: Should be clear, concise and incorporate photos Common Documents Associated with a Home Inspection
Formats vary: Checklist or Narrative Combination checklist/narrative Computer generated Handwritten Oral (from a friend-with no report) May or may not include summary May or may not include photos Delivered at time of inspect or later Inspection Report Formats
In any case reports should be: Clear and concise Adhere to the standards of practice as per major trade groups (ASHI, NAHI, NACHI) Cover all major components Delivered in a timely fashion Should define terms used therein: (“acceptable,” “marginal,” “defective,” etc.] Who owns the inspection report? Report Basics
Characteristics of a Good Inspector: Trained, thorough and unbiased Courteous, professional and has the necessary tools and equipment Adheres to industry standards Has good written/oral communication skills Is insured, and if applicable, licensed Professional Home Inspector
Insurance Coverage for Professional Inspector • Should carry General Liability insurance • Should carry E&O insurance • Many E&O policies have a “referral” endorsement
Adhere to industry standards of practice and code of ethics (ASHI, NAHI, NACHI) Inspect readily accessible systems and components Report: Systems/components that aren’t working properly Recommendations to correct Explanation of the deficiencies Reasons with fact that certain systems or components were not inspected What an Inspector Should Do
Predict remaining life of system/component Offer advice on methods, materials, costs to fix component - unless qualified to do so Offer to make repairs, refer specific contractors or receive referral fees Comment on market value Perform code inspections What an Inspector Should NOT Do
Order Home Inspection • Immediately after reaching written purchase agreement with home seller • Advise buyer what to look for in an inspector • Advise buyer where and how to find a good inspector
A good inspector: Explains the scope and limitations of an inspection: visual review of readily accessible areas, random sampling of like items, etc. Invites the buyer along for the inspection Explains how long it will take, what it will cost and when they can expect delivery of the inspection report Touches upon their training, experience and affiliations Explain Scope of Inspection
Set Realistic Expectations • Very few homes are in perfect condition • This sale went through even though it had severe wind damage, because the buyer better understood what had happened
How to Prepare for Property Inspection • Secure pets • Turn off alarms • Remove obstructions to: • Furnace and water heater • Electrical panel • Attic • Garage • Crawl space, etc
After The Inspection • A good inspector will: • Leave things the way he/she found them • Verify furnace/AC is running and return thermostat to original setting • Turn off lights or running water • Make sure doors are locked, etc.
Grading/Drainage • Great curb appeal: But inspector is looking for positive drainage • Water is No. 1 issue in most homes • Need positive drainage on all four sides • Most drainage issues are easy to fix
Loose or missing handrails (inside or out) are safety issue Driveway/sidewalk/patios: Heaving Differential settlement Excessive gaps Are tripping hazards but easy to repair Driveway and Walkway/Steps
Porches/Stoops, Decks/Balcony and Patio • Ledger board should be bolted to the structure • Railing should have proper height and spacing • Railings/hand railings should be firmly attached • Support posts and stair stringers should have no earth to wood contact • Decks can be expensive, but are fairly easy to repair
Exterior • Trees can abrade roofs, heave driveways/sidewalks • Tree roots can affect foundations, sewer lines, etc. • Other vegetation should be kept away from siding, air conditioners, etc.
Inspection of roof: Estimate age Number of layers Type of materials Leaking or not? Types of valleys Flashing Roofing System
Chimneys • Chimneys are a frequent maintenance issue and can be expensive to repair. • Inspect for: • Proper alignment • Proper height • Flashed property • Lined and capped
Siding/Trim • There are many exterior coverings such as: wood, vinyl, stucco, brick, stone and synthetics • Some are more high maintenance than others • Vegetation can affect siding
Inspect for: Operation Alignment Weather-stripping Evidence of leaks Windows and Doors
Garages • A single garage door such as this one receives a lot of use • Examining the operation, tracks, springs, openers and fit are important • For child safety, “auto reverse” is a must
Pools, Hot tubs/Spa • Swimming pools and hot tubs are high maintenance • Could involve filters, skimmers, gas, electric or solar heat, a pool house, etc. • Self-closing gate with a 6-foot-high security fence a must
Irrigation • Sprinklers are mostly out of sight, but not out of mind: • Underground leaks/Erosion can greatly impact driveways, sidewalks, etc. • Poorly placed heads can lead to water intrusion in the basement, etc. • In best case, sprinklers are high maintenance.
Misc. Inspections • Some inspections might require specialists: • Well inspections • Septic inspections • Potability test • Seawalls, private docks • Other: termite, radon, etc.
Inspect for adequacy and safety: Amps/volts Service cable Panel Branch Circuits Grounding Wire Conductor GFI Smoke Detectors Electrical
Current Standards Require GFCI protection: GFCI bathrooms GFCI all kitchen countertops GFCI unfinished basements GFCI garages GFCI crawlspaces GFCI all outside electrical outlets GFCI
Smoke Detectors • National Safety Standards require smoke detectors • Can be battery operated, hard-wired or both • Can me monitored by security company • Some areas require one outside each bedroom. • Now in some areas in each bedroom/living area. • Inspectors activate test button only
Plumbing/Fixtures • Water No. 1 concern: plumbing and plumbing fixtures are a significant part of the inspection. • Inspector is looking for leaks, adequate flow and pressure. • Also, are drains plugged or sluggish?
Plumbing • Plumbing leaks can also damage: • Cabinets/vanities • Behind shower tile • Subfloors, ceilings below, etc.
Overall size, age and condition of unit Proper location of unit Adequate combustion air Adequate temperature rise Heat source in each room Condition, size and location of ducts HVAC Check for adequate heating (gas furnace): • Cond. blower/humidifier • Heat Exchanger (mostly hidden) • Exhaust system (check for flue gases and other leaks) • Dirty filters obstruct flow and effect temperature rise • Thermostat-does unit respond to controls
Overall size, age and condition of unit Outside unit, clean, level and up off the ground, suction line insulated No obstructions interfering with unit Discharging heat-ambient test HVAC Check for adequate cooling: • Adequate temperature drop (14-22 degrees) • Blower clean and variable speed • Dirty filters obstruct flow and effect temperature drop • Thermostat-unit responds to normal controls
Cabinets: countertops, tile/backsplashes Stoves: operable burners, not timers Disposal: inspect for smooth operation, excessive noise Dishwasher: condition, leaking, proper air-gap device Ventilator: re-circulating/non Other Built-ins: microwaves, trash compactors, refrigerators Kitchen
Bathrooms • Can be most expensive areas to replace/refurbish. • With simple maintenance, expensive repairs can be avoided.
Walls, ceilings and floors can be covered by a wide variety of materials Inspector checks for deflection/tolerance in floors, bowing or cracking in walls, cracks, stains or wet spots in ceilings Operation and fit of doors and windows from the inside Walls, Ceilings, Floors