When it comes to older homes that have 2 stories, it’s typical you’ll find the 2nd floor sloping or sagging. When you find it on a Brand New Home that was just built…that’s not so good.
I was recently called to perform a new construction inspection on a home that was $750,000 (3/4 of a million dollars). It was the final walk through and my clients wanted to make sure that the home was built to the standard the builder had promised.
As strange as it seems, one of my favorite tools to use is my handy dandy golf ball.
Yep, you read that right – my golf ball. You too can use this inexpensive tool to see if a home you’re looking to purchase has sloping floors. Of course, this works best if you’re not having to deal with carpet so keep that in mind.
Take a look at this video of the home I inspected where I not only found that the 2nd story floor sloped, it was slopping pretty significantly to one side.
As you can see in the video, looks can be deceiving because the floor looked perfectly level. Unless you had a knowledgeable inspector who also knows about building homes, this client would have been closing on a home that was not up to par.
If you’re having a brand new home built and are at the final stages where you need to have a final walk-through inspection performed, please give me a call Today!
I’ve seen young couples save for years in the hopes of buying their first house, the house they envision raising their family in, only to have their hopes and dreams dashed to pieces due to the cost of repairs that dream home would require.
These families spend hard-earned money on inspections, appraisals, and other costs, only to be shown a repair bill that they cannot afford. Of course, if the seller doesn’t have the money to repair the home, the contract is canceled.
The young couple, having worked hard to save their money, is now out hundreds in fees, hours of time and lots of frustration. If the seller doesn’t have the money to make the repair and the contract gets canceled, the young couple has now lost a chunk of their savings.
Often times they can’t afford the fees to begin the process over again.
I’ve also witnessed the despair in the eyes of older people on a fixed income have lost money by putting contracts on homes that need immediate repairs that they don’t have the money to complete.
Many of these people are in the hard position of being between homes or in situations where they need to move quickly. I have seen hopelessness wash over too many faces when they get the bad news about the home.
I think the thing that bothers me the most is that many of the items that cause these deals to fall apart are readily accessible. These repairs, if you know what to look for, can be found before a contract is initiated. With a little knowledge, many stories similar to what I listed above can be avoided.
As a service to you, I have taken it upon myself to try and help by putting together the 4 areas or red flags around a house that typically cause the majority of these problems.
So, what should you look for? I’ve broken it down into 4 main categories and will go through each one point by point.
The pipes in the house (including how to easily recognize them)
The electrical panel
The air conditioner
Red Flag #1: The Roof
Roof replacements are one of the most expensive items when it comes to your home. This is why it’s so important to know what to look for when you’re viewing a house.
I know this may sound crazy but as you’re driving through the neighborhood, look at the roofs on each of the houses. Almost all newer roofs are done with architectural shingles. If any of the homes have newer roofs and the roof on the home your looking at has 3-tab shingles, you may want to find out when the roof was last replaced.
Another thing to keep in mind when looking at the roof is that your insurance company may want you to get the roof certified before they will write you a policy. This certificate will let them know how old the roof it, the shape it’s in and what sort of life it has left.
Below you can see the difference between architectural shingles, which is being used on newer roofs and the older 3 tab shingles.
Red Flag #2: The Pipes
For houses built in the late 70’s through the 90’s, many homes were piped with polybutylene piping which has been known to prematurely fail. Even though most of this piping has been replaced, I still run into it every now and then.
This pipe is easy to recognize because it has a stamp that reads “PB2110” on the pipe. It is also usually grey in color with copper crimps.
You can find this pipe on the water heater (pictured here), toilet plumbing, or sinks.
The reason this piping may cause a red flag is that a lot of insurance companies will require it to be replaced before they will write a policy for the home. So you as the buyer will need to replace it or use this as a negotiation on the price of the home.
Red Flag #3: The Electrical Panel
Looking to a buy a home that was built in the 1970’s? Then you can’t afford to miss this red flag.
When touring a house head to the electric panel and pay close attention to what type it is. If you see the letters FPE on the outside of the box or you open the cover panel and look for a sticker that says Federal Pacific Electric, you’ll have to have this replaced. Another indication that it may be an FPE box is the panels may have a red stripe over the breaker amperage.
These panel boxes are going to need to be replaced as mandated by the insurance companies. The average cost of the panel replacement is around $800 -$1000 for each panel. There is also a high percentage of these panels that have aluminum wiring.
Aluminum wiring is really prone to overheating. Homes with aluminum wiring are 55 times more likely to have one or more connections become serious fire hazards.
Red Flag #4: The Air-Conditioner
Air conditioning issues are generally pretty easy to spot if the air handler is in the garage.
Water damage and mold/mildew are usually very visible on the support box of the air handler and could signify a larger issue with the system. If you see these signs of damage, they are usually caused by the coils being excessively dirty.
It costs about $300 to clean the coils, and around $1000 to rebuild the support box.
The above mentioned areas are all included in our home inspections but I wanted you to be able to recognize some of the major red flags BEFORE you put a contract in on the house. There are many other areas of the home that can cause concerns but these four are the areas I see the most that cost potential home buyers time, money and frustration.
Armed with the above information you can make an informed judgment call on whether or not you want to move forward with putting a contract on the house or not.
As you already know, home inspections are pivotal for homeowners and are typically an important part of real-estate transactions. Often times, a transaction can’t be completed until the home has undergone a successful home inspection.
Home inspections can provide homeowners with added peace of mind that their home is less likely to suffer from preventable damage. For those of you who have had a home built, unfortunately your home is not exempt from these issues.
Sellers can use a good home inspection as a bargaining chip during sales negotiations for the home. Sometimes, home inspectors are more likely to come across certain problem areas than others. Below, you’ll find a list of the top 10 most common issues I have run across in the last 13 years of doing home inspections.
1. Poor Drainage:
The signs of poor drainage include signs of spongy, soft soil growing around the foundation of the home and erosion from rain running off the roof. Poor drainage can make the supporting soil around the foundation weak and cause mild to severe cracking in stucco and the possibility of water intrusion into the home at the foundation. The rain should have a gentle slope away from the foundation with gutters on the home so that the rain runoff from the roof doesn’t land next to the foundation.
2. Roof Issues:
With the harsh weather we have in Florida, roofs do not last as long as they do in other parts of the country. The sun and high winds cause the shingles to start failing around 15 years even with a 40-year shingle. Missing shingles from high winds blowing them off the roofs or damaging them, expose the roof to leaking. With the excessive temperature range, we have in a single day, the nails from the shingles expand and contract with the temperature and force their way through the shingles allowing for rain to enter the roof through the nail hole. Tile roofs have other issues as in cracking and sliding and need to be reset as necessary. Roofing issues should be realized and fixed as soon as possible. They are most common following inclement weather. After a storm or serious wind, roofing issues can nearly be anticipated on older roofs.
3. Poor Ventilation:
Florida is an extremely hot region of the country, If the attic gets too hot, the temperature may bleed through the ceilings into the home making the home hot. The increased temperature will also cause the shingles to fail quicker from the tar in the shingles bubbling or what is called blistering. This usually means that there are roof soffits that are blocked or the roof needs more vents.
4. Faulty Foundation
In Florida, the foundation is more than likely on the sand. Unlike dirt that can be packed and the concrete poured on a solid surface of dirt, sand cannot be compacted. When the concrete is poured over the sand, the sand shifls and moves and the sand moving under the concrete combined with the drying process of the concrete slab, the foundation cracks. It is typical in almost every home in Central Florida. Most of the time this does not cause issues but if the cracks become to severe, or if water is gathering at the foundation, hydrostatic pressure (ground water) may be pushed up through the cracks, or in worst case scenario, structural damage to the foundation and walls may occur..
5. Hazardous Wiring
Wiring is a very commonly found issue when completing home inspections. Many people think they know enough about wiring to do it themselves and cause many issues like outlets being wired wrong, Breakers in the panel box being double tapped, or leaving open junctions of exposed wires in various places. Faulty wiring is also dangerous, and puts your whole family at risk which is why you should have faulty wiring fixed as soon as it’s spotted.
The heating and cooling systems are a typical area for problems during home inspections. The most common issue with heating systems during home inspections is that they are dirty because of not changing the filter when it is supposed to be. The best way to keep your system in good order is to put your system on a maintenance schedual. One of the biggest problems is when the air handler is in the attic or the garage. The air handlers are not air tight so the leaking cold air mixes with the attic and garage hot air causing condensation. This will promote rusting of the unit as well as water damage to the support box. There is also a high potentional for mold to grow in the unit due to the high humidity.
During a home inspection, windows should be checked to ensure they are operating properly and are sealed/caulked, especially in an older home. In Florida, the windows are rarely opened due to the heat and humidity. This will make the windows sticky and also cause the hardware to rust. Windows that are not caulked properly will have the exterior hot air mix with the inside air conditioned air and cause moisture at the window causing mold/mildew and even water damage at the areas of the windows.
Fireplaces and chimneys are another area of the home that is prone to problems because of neglect. Chimneys & fireplaces should have their own inspections to prevent issues that could lead to water intruding a home due to chimney flashing or improper/rusted chimney caps. Other issues that homeowners face when dealing with chimneys include cracked tiles, rusted flues, and missing chimney caps.
9. Exterior neglect
General poor upkeep of the home is another critique found during home inspections. Poor upkeep can cause wood decay on unpainted/uncaulked wood. Plants and trees that are in contact with the home can also cause damage to the roof and exterior. Areas of walkways over time settle or are lifted by tree roots and cause trip hazzards.
The plumbing should be closely monitored. Water is very destructive to a home. All plumbing pipes leak due to different issues with each kind of piping. Faucet handles wear out over time and leak as well. Many people don’t know that when you install a toilet, the toilet should be sealed to the floor with adhesive caulk to keep the toilet from moving and leaking. The shower tiles missing or having cracked grout is also an area of concern as water can get behind the tiles and cause water damage and mold issues. With a thorough inspection all the plumbing fixtures should be inspected.
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There are lots of benefits to successfully having your home inspected. Inversely, the consequences to not completing a home inspection can have jarring ramifications. The many reasons for you to have your home inspected include benefits to homeowners that can save money and lend valuable information. By having a home inspection, homeowners can also gather the potential need for upgrades or repairs that may be necessary. It is generally a way to prepare to ensure the general upkeep of a home. Home inspections can serve a great purpose to the current resident as well as prospective buyers. If you are looking to sell, a successful home inspection can serve as a great negotiating tip. More reasons not to skip a home inspection are below.
To Learn More About The Home
Typically, the most important benefit of a having a home inspection completed is to reveal the big picture identity of the home. Getting a home inspection done will reveal the many nuances that tell the story of your home. Whether good or bad, doing the work to reveal the little known facts about the home will go a long way in caring for it in the future.
To Reveal Illegal Additions to the Home
Home inspections are a great way to tell whether or not the home has had adjustments that aren’t up to code. If your home has an addition that isn’t allowed, for instance a deck that hasn’t been built up to code, getting rid of it will be one of the things on your to-do list before you can think about selling the home. The home insurance can also be put at risk if you learn about additions that aren’t quite up to code.
To Give Yourself Peace of Mind
Even if you didn’t get the results from your home inspection that you quite wanted, the goal of achieving peace of mind can be accomplished. Once you receive the results from your home inspection you can then take action to bring the home up to code. Once you complete the home inspection, you also find out about any issues that could make the home uninhabitable, which also brings peace of mind.
To Determine the Overall Health of the Home
If you have an older home, the health of a home is a bigger concern than average. Though everything may seemingly be running fine within the home, you won’t truly know it’s full condition until you have an expert inspect the home thoroughly.
The reality of the matter is that some insurers will require your home to be in certain condition upon agreeing to issue you a policy. If your home has certain conditions and you find out about them from a home inspection, it could make insuring your home a more straightforward process.
To Help Predict Any Looming Costs
Having a home inspection is a great tool in predicting the costs of future repairs or enhancements. During your home inspection, you will learn about its condition in real time. If there are also certain parts of the home that are aging or wearing away, a home inspection could reveal when you should start looking for a replacement.
Safety: To Learn About Urgent Needs
If you have any conditions in your home that could cause immediate harm to you or your family, a home inspection would reveal that. For instance, a home inspector would be able to detect radon, carbon monoxide or high levels of mold. If this is the case in your home, it could save a lot of hassle in the long run.
To Help Protect Your Investment
Because you’ve already likely made a long-term commitment to the home, you have a vested interest in making sure it lasts as long as possible, or at least long enough to sell. By having a professional home inspection completed, you’ll be able to find out about the steps you’ll need to take to protect your investment long term.
To Get an Unbiased Opinion on the Health of the Home
Because you’ve been attached to the home for a considerable amount of time, having an impartial third party come in to inspect its health is the best way to get an unbiased synopsis of your home. A third party home inspector in Central Florida is the best route to ensure feelings don’t affect an honest assessment.
To Eradicate Pest issues
If you have a looming pest problem that’s yet to rear its head, a great way to either stop one from happening or ending it in its early phases is through a comprehensive home inspection. By having the foundation of the home inspected, you’ll be able to tell early on if there are signs of pet infestations that could damage the home.
Buying a home is the greatest investment most people will ever make. With large sums of money involved, there is considerable opportunity for fraud. Structural problems are hidden from prospective buyers in clever ways. These problems cost a great deal of money to correct.
How we can help?
AAPI has become an expert at finding the “hidden” issues of a home by looking for the things that do not make sense. People hide things in multiple ways but there is usually a tell-tale sign that something is not right.
There is an effective solution, however. When you agree to buy any property, insist that a clause is inserted into the contract that closing is dependent on a satisfactory inspection report. As an Orlando home inspector, I will identify any problems found and can prevent you from possibly making a big mistake.
Infrared cameras can identify moisture and insulation problems that are not visible to the human eye.
Frequently overlooked problem areas are mold and mildew. However, more experienced Orlando home inspectors detect the same problems without the use of infrared cameras.
Mold is caused by a moisture issue which can drastically weaken wooden structures and cause major structural damage. It can also be toxic to humans and pets in some cases. Eradicating mold and mildew can be quite expensive, so it is critical to have this information before you buy a home.
Insulation levels can be determined by the use of digital laser thermometers registering the heat transfer through the ceiling sheetrock. AAPI uses the experience as well as equipment to locate any moisture or insulation issues.
Some Orlando home inspectors can also inspect the landscape around your property to recognize potential hazards.
Flooding, possible erosion or areas of ponding around the foundation need to be identified. Qualified inspectors can also make suggestions for correcting problems in the most cost-efficient manner. Finding problems does not necessarily preclude closing on a property. The inspector will provide a detailed written report, and you may convince the seller to correct the problem or adjust the sales price accordingly.
Orlando Home Inspectors will also offer valuable advice about maintenance issues for your property. This saves thousands of dollars on repair bills.
If upgrades are required, the inspector can explain the time and expense required compared to the benefits. For example, otherwise sound older homes may require electrical upgrades to run the dizzying array of modern electronics used in most homes. Some repairs can add tremendous value to your home. It may be possible to benefit financially by upgrading key systems.
When you understand all your options, you can make a sound decision.
Normally you only think of hiring a home inspector when you’re going to buy a house. That is sort of a given. But, you’d be surprised to find out how cost-effective it can be to hire one when you’re selling or even remodeling a home.
Before Buying That House
Homes are major investments, we all know this, and once you have closed on a piece of property you must live with the consequences.
A detailed inspection from an impartial expert is the best way to determine if a property is sound. Expert analysis will cover interior and exterior spaces. The overall structural integrity of the building will be the primary focus. Roofing will be carefully inspected including the shingles, construction integrity, chimneys, gutters, and downspouts.
Electrical systems will be carefully scrutinized to identify potential problems. Outlets, fuse boxes and junction boxes will be inspected to ensure everything is up to code. Heating and air conditioning systems will be checked, including thermostats and ductwork.
An energy audit is a great idea and can pay for itself by identifying areas where energy savings could be realized. Plumbing repair can be a major expense. An Orlando home inspection company will inspect plumbing carefully to identify current or future areas for concern.
Home exteriors will be carefully examined, as will any additional structures such as garages, workshops and tool sheds. Windows and doors will be inspected with an eye to security & energy efficiency as well as caulking.
Landscaping will also be inspected to pinpoint areas for concern such as grading, the need for retaining walls and other concerns. It is important to know exactly what you are buying. Some problems can be major trouble. Minor problems are often easily corrected.
Before Selling a Home
Inspections can be important before trying to sell your home. You do not want to discover a major surprise when showing your property.
By getting reliable information from a professional, you can often make necessary repairs and generate a much greater profit from the sale. All services are completely confidential. Cottages, homes, apartment buildings and condos will all receive the same careful inspection.
A written report will be issued detailing any problems and recommendations for maintenance and upgrades. You can use this report to fix any necessary problems or use it up against the buyers home inspection report.
Home Inspection Before Remodelling a Home
When choosing to remodel a home, Home Inspection by certified home inspectors in Orlando is a great way to identify work that needs to be done. Since you will already be disrupting your busy life, its the best time to upgrade systems and make needed repairs. These can add great value to your home. A qualified inspector can offer sound advice about repairs, remodeling and architectural matters that may be of great concern to you.
A final word about Home Inspection is in order. You should choose a reputable company with references, and experience. Determine whether the inspector is certified by any professional organizations.