A good home inspection is worth the money

By glblguy

I spent the evening reading through the inspection that was done on our new home in the mountains. The inspector that performed the inspection did a very thorough job and put together a report that included tons of pictures (included in this article).

What surprised me was that our mortgage company didn’t require an inspection, only an appraisal. I went ahead and ordered the inspection anyway. In the current housing market, the last thing I wanted to do is move into a home that might potentially have serious problems I wasn’t aware of.

The inspection

The inspection was done by a local housing inspector that lives in the area. The report was created and placed online where I could read it and easily share it with others. The report was full of detail, including tips and suggestions our inspector had for areas that weren’t really problems, but areas or items he felt needed repair anyway.

The report was broken down into multiple sections which I’ll detail below.

Roofing

We visited our new home a few times prior to making an offer. I’m no inspector, but I’ve been around the block enough to know a little about what to look for. During our visits, I paid particular attention to the roof, looking for signs of damage or water leaks. I didn’t see any issues. Our inspector checked out our roof as well. He found it in very good condition and saw no signs of leaks or problems.

The only thing he did find was that in addition to the current satellite TV receiver, there had previously been another. Rather than removing the brackets, the home owners had just left them there. They are sealed and our inspector assured me they would leak, just having the extra brackets there bugs me. I probably won’t have the sellers remove it, but at some point I’ll remove them.

Looks like the receiver that’s on there now is DirectTV. Any concerns or feedback on DirectTV?

Exterior

The inspector verified all exterior components of the house, including vegetation and surrounding trees. He specifically looked our the doors, windows, decks, steps, railings, driveway, retaining walls and anything else outside. He only found a few minor issues. The vent cover on the master bathroom vent cover is missing. This would allow insects to potentially get into the house. Given my fear of bees, I’ve requested that be fixed before we move in!

The grading of the driveway is decent, but where it meets the garage is a little high. Our inspector said it wouldn’t be a problem unless we received a very heavy rain, but the potential exists for water to run into the garage. He looked for signs of it having occurred in the past but didn’t find anything. Again, another very easy fix and one we can do ourselves.

The only other issue, and this shows how thorough our inspector was, is that one of the deck posts isn’t secured enough. This is a big issue as our deck is a good 10 feet off the ground (as you can see in the top picture). I thought about asking the sellers to fix this, but honestly for the safety of my kids, I’ll fix this issue myself.

He even tested the garage door opener and verified the garage door seals where in good shape.

Interior

The interior section of the report was full of pictures. Again, he was very thorough checking out ceilings, walls, floors, stairs, railings, counters, doors and windows. Once again, problems found were very minor. The counter top in the upstairs bathroom was never attached to the cabinet. I’m guessing the home owner just forgot. I’ll fix this one too, as it’s really easy.

The one issue he did find that I’ve requested the sellers replace is a cracked window in one of the bedrooms.

The inspector pointed out a number of other things that weren’t problems at all, but just things he wanted us to be aware of. For example, upstairs the sellers installed a drop ceiling. The inspector said it was installed too close to the ceiling joists and made the tiles hard to remove. He recommended replacing it with a true dry wall ceiling for a nicer look. I agree and we had planned to do that already.

He also pointed out a few doors that needed adjusting as well as they weren’t hitting the striker plates correctly . Easy enough to fix!

He said all of the flooring, walls and ceilings were in excellent shape. I was glad to hear the flooring was good. The flooring is hardwood and could be expensive to fix if there was a problem.

The kitchen was also in great shape, with all the appliances working correctly and all of the improvements meeting local building codes.

Structure

The structure of the house is in very good condition. A few of the basement cinder blocks have cracked, but the inspector assured me that this was very normal. He suggested we apply some mortar to the cracks to fill them in and keep them from expanding further. I’ll do this right after we move in. The basement of the house is very dry (unlike the previous house we looked at). Other structural components of the house were fine and had no issues.

Plumbing/Electrical/Gas systems

Again, no significant issues reported. The sellers must have not finished their job to finishing off the upstairs area as many of the light covers and light fixtures were never installed. Our inspector highly recommended having the sellers put covers on all of the switches, electrical outlets and junction boxes for light fixtures (or install light fixtures). This is something we’ve asked the owners to do.

Plumbing was in great shape with the inspector only noting that one of the facets doesn’t stop appropriately and can be continuously turned from hot to cold and back to hot. Again, no problem, just something he wanted us to be aware of. He even took a picture of the water cut-off valve so we would know where it was at when we moved in!

The biggest issue with the whole inspection is the gas line that is ran to the gas fireplace. Our inspector said it didn’t meet gas company standards. He said it was safe, but if we ever wanted larger tanks beyond the small propane tanks currently connected that we would need to have the gas line re-installed. You can see in the picture to the right how the line isn’t properly secured to the house. We plan to use the gas logs in the winter, probably very frequently and had planned to have a bigger tank installed. Repairing of the gas line is something we’ve asked the sellers to have repaired.

By the way, note the extra deck supporting on the end? Can you say “future hot-tub” ???? :-D

Heating, AC, insulation, appliances

The heating / Central Air Conditioning system, insulation and appliances all checked out with no issues. The only thing he did note was that the air handler for the heat pump system was difficult to access due to a wall the seller’s had built around it. Again, not an issue just something our inspector found odd and wanted to mention.

Overall

Overall, we were very happy with the report. There were no significant issues at all, and our home inspector was friendly, professional and put together a really great report for us.  The peace of mind alone was well worth the $325 for the inspection. Things are finally coming together for us. We are just awaiting the final appraisal now. Assuming that comes back correctly, we’re good to close on October 23rd. Yeah!


28 Responses (including trackbacks) to “A good home inspection is worth the money”

  1. ABCs of Investing Says:

    Wow, it looks like a palace in the mountains! Congrats!

  2. Laura Says:

    Your inspector did a wonderful job with the house. It looks fantastic!

  3. Kristen Says:

    I’m glad everything went well with the inspection. We waived ours, but had my dad, who is in the construction business, check it out before we made an offer. He found little things that we knew we could easily fix ourselves. The HUD inspector (we got an FHA loan) made us scrape and repait a few outisde window sills and places on the foundation, even though it was recently painted and there was no lead-based paint. A pain, but a minor detail. Does your home come with an HSA warrant? That’s good to have because if the appliances or something breaks, you can get it fixed or replaced.

    I hope Directv is good because they’re coming to install a dish tomorrow. We got completely fed up with our evil empire of a cable company …

  4. Kristen Says:

    I’m glad everything went well with the inspection. We waived ours, but had my dad, who is in the construction business, check it out before we made an offer. He found little things that we knew we could easily fix ourselves. The HUD inspector (we got an FHA loan) made us scrape and repaint a few outisde window sills and places on the foundation, even though it was recently painted and there was no lead-based paint. A pain, but a minor detail. Does your home come with an HSA warranty? That’s good to have because if the appliances or something breaks, you can get it fixed or replaced.

    I hope Directv is good because they’re coming to my house install a dish tomorrow. We got completely fed up with our evil empire of a cable company …

  5. Frugal Vet Tech Says:

    The place looks and sounds fantastic! I’m glad the inspection went well. I think your money was well-spent – your inspector seems to have done a good job and you now know that everything is as it should be.

  6. AnnMarie Says:

    Was your offer contingent on the inspection? If not, I doubt you can get the sellers to fix anything. All of our inspections were done as contingencies, which allowed us to either get out of the offer (in one case) or request a lower price and/or get items fixed (in the other case, the one we actually bought). Around here, if you don’t get it in the offer, the deal is being offered as-is and you can’t do anything about problems noted afterwards.

    For us, too, it was never part of the appraisal or loan. It was a buyer-desired item. (One of my coworkers didn’t make his offer contingent on an inspection because he wanted to be sure his offer was accepted right away. Luckily, nothing terrible was discovered later, but boy was I scared for him!)

    Also, since you don’t own the house or the furnishings, I’d suggest taking down the pictures. I know I’d be pretty annoyed if someone posted pics of my house online w/o my permission. I don’t care if they are buying the house, that’s my stuff!

  7. Ron Says:

    Directv, we have had service from them for years. Never any issues with it. I would highly recommend them. Be carful what package your order as the costs can rise rapidly. You should be able to get a basic package for about 40 dollars a month.

  8. Jeremy E Says:

    I had DirecTV + Tivo for many years up in PA and loved it. But once Verizon FIOS was installed on our block I couldn’t resist, so I had to ditch DirecTV. I agree with Ron, beware of the package as the monthly price can jump very quickly. I also paid around $39/mo for the standard package.

  9. No Debt Plan Says:

    What an awesome report — high quality inspector definitely.

    I can vouch for DirecTV. Your happiness with getting it installed will depend on who they outsource the work to. The guy we had took his shoes off before coming into our house — really impressed. If they had sent someone else, we might have hated it.

    We’ve had no problems thus far, and we’ve had it a year.

  10. JW Says:

    Wow, the house looks beautiful, and is nice to know it’s in good shape. I agree with you, a $325 inspection is well worth the piece of mind that there are no structural issues (or cosmetic issues that need immediate attention). Congratulations for getting over yet another hurdle towards owning your new home!

  11. glblguy Says:

    @Everyone – Thanks! We love it and can’t wait to get moved in! Thanks also for the DirectTV feedback, that makes me feel better.

    @Kristin – We could have gotten a warrenty, but after some research I didn’t feel it was worth the money (hey…that might be good article). Our realtor didn’t recommend purchasing one either.

    @AnnMarie – Yes it was, per the contract the sellers were required to fix anything less than $2,500. Anything over $2500 allowed us to backout if they elected to not fix the item(s). The pictures are identical to the MLS pictures. For the very reason you stated, I didn’t include additional interior pictures included in the inspection since they weren’t in the MLS listing. btw, the red leather couches will be ours too, I included them as part of the deal along with a bunch of other furniture the sellers didn’t want.

  12. MITBeta @ Don't Feed the Alligators Says:

    I’ve had a great experience with DirecTV for more than 8 years. It has always been cheaper for us than identical cable service. The blogosphere has recently advised getting any offers for service in writing.

    We used a home inspector for both our home purchases. The 2nd was fantastic, and as in the water shut off example you gave, tried to make the inspection a how-to as much as a what’s-wrong.

  13. rtc Says:

    Wise move with the home inspection. I just started the home buying process this week. I hope to be in your situation in a month or two. I still have to sell my present house. Thanks for the home buying tips.

  14. KC Says:

    I’ve had DirecTV for 9 years. Much better than cable – a little cheaper and much better service. If you are a sports nut this is definitely the way to go. If not, shop around, but you will get good service from DTV. Just make sure the dish is in a clear spot and it stays clear of limbs and other encroaching plants.

    Here’s an example of local cable (Time Warner), vs. DTV. We had both cable and DTV. We had a serious windstorm that knocked out power for 2 weeks in my city. Fortunately we are on the main line to one of the hospitals and we got power back the next day. As soon as the power came on our DTV was working. But cable took another MONTH to come back on. A WHOLE MONTH! Even all the power was back on in 2 weeks. I was a public librarian at the time and we had many customers coming in to use the internet cause their RoadRunner was down as well – so any service from the cable company wasn’t working for a whole month. We canceled the cable and beefed up to DTV and never looked back.

  15. Moneyblogga Says:

    Here in California, we have to get a termite report. This report covers infestation related not only to termites but also carpenter ants, mold, etc. Do you not have any of these problems where you are?

  16. Andy Says:

    David at My Two Dollars hasn’t had a very good experience with DirectTV. Maybe his experience isn’t the norm. You might want to check out his post “DirectTV Customer Service Sucks” though.

  17. glblguy Says:

    @MoneyBlogga – The house has a termite contract on it already that guarantees it against termite damage, so we elected to skip the termite inspection. We do have those problems, but the inspection isn’t required.

    @KC and Andy – I elected to go with Dish Network, as AT&T provides the local telephone service and DSL. So I received a package deal that saved me about $20 a month. I’ve heard good things about them as well. The sign-up process with AT&T was really awesome and easy.

    @Andy – Thanks for the reminder, I had forgotten David wrote about that. Also factored into my decision to go with Dish Network.

  18. Amanda Says:

    It sounds like you got a good deal, but do be wary. We had a decent home inspecter that mentioned a number of minor issues, mentioned that we’d want to think about replacing the roof in X year – but neglected to mention what our plumber mentions everytime he comes over. Our Heat pump’s lifespan is pretty much up and they’re expecting it to fail on us anytime – and they can be expensive.

  19. Lynnae Says:

    I second your recommendation on getting a home inspection. And if you can tag along with the inspector while he works, even better. I learned a TON about our house, just by following the inspector around.

    And I’ve had good experiences with both Dish Network and DirectTV. We just switched from Dish to DirecTV, because our phone company bundles with DirecTV, saving us about $20 a month. I’m still working on the DSL. :)

  20. Bill in NC Says:

    Gas logs are pretty, but not designed to heat.

    Like a wood fireplace, the heat goes up the chimney, and combustion sucks cold outside air into the room to feed the fire.

    Is propane delivery available and reasonably priced?

    If so, you can put in a gas furnace as backup to your heat pump (instead of using the standard electric strip heaters normally installed with a heat pump)

    Then if power fails, a small generator can run your furnace fan and the gas furnace for heat.

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