Every home has electricity. So, if you’re moving into a home, you need to make sure that the electrical work is up to code. You could take a whack at it on your own, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Here are 3 reasons to trust a home inspector with the electrical inspection on your home:
Electrical Work is Complicated – If you’re not a an electrician, look at a bunch of wires could look like Latin. If you speak Latin then it looks like some language that you don’t know. You may be able to notice when certain lights or outlets don’t work, but figuring out why or noticing less obvious bu harmful problems won’t be so easy.
Electrical Work can be Dangerous – When inspecting a home’s electrical state, you have to know what you can and cannot touch, as well as other safety precautions and potential hazards. The layman could go into any hazardous situation thinking it’s a walk in the park, so trust someone who knows electrical danger when they see it!
Inspectors Are Not Electricians – This might sound negative, but it’s actually positive. Inspectors will know how to recognize electrical hazards, but they won’t point out things for the sake of finding problems. Look at it this way: have you ever taken your car in for mechanical work? Did the mechanics suggest a bunch of stuff that cost more money and that didn’t seem necessary? An inspector, on the other hand, will only suggest that you fix things that actually need to be fixed.
Courtesy of The Philadelphia Inquirer
Spring, is traditionally, the best time to buy or sell real estate, even through the downturn. Al Heavens from The Philadelphia Inquirer writes about how to set the stage for a home sale. For sellers, it is time for real estate theater; the house is the star. “The cast includes agents and brokers, home inspectors, title people, mortgage companies, lenders, underwriters and, obviously, buyers.” Some sellers are very hands on, while others do not want to bother with the day to day. Paul Leiser of Avalon Real Estate in New Jersey said he believes that the internet has empowered the sellers and buyers. Realtors are dealing with more informed involvement on both buyers and sellers, so confrontation can be minimized if an agent keeps the seller informed. Sellers seem open to agent’s suggestions, the home staging will be up to the owner rather than the agent. The seller who thinks he or she knows all may end up disappointed and a house that sells for less. The house should be available for showings but at no point should the seller enter into conversation with potential buyers, the agents, appraiser, or home inspector. The job of the agent is to educate the buyer and seller on the present climate and conditions.
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Leader-Telegram publishes can article about how the location of cracks can reveal what is happening to your foundation. Wall cracks appear as the result of overloading, settlement or heaving, which may give you information on what is going on with the foundation. Vertical cracks are often caused by “settlement of the home, soil compacting and soil washing away under the footings.” This occurs when an upward force is next to a downward force, while angle cracks occur when the up force and down force offset each other. This can appear when there is a difference in the soil under the house from one another, which causes the soil to push up. Horizontal cracks can be caused by pressure from the outside, which can be attributed to pressure against the wall, improper backfilling, and surface problems. “Skrinkage cracks appear on the foundationwalls as part of the curing process. These cracks can appear because there was too much moisture in the concrete when it set.” This could be caused by mortar set in cold weather that froze and later expanded before having a chance to cure.
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Mike Holmes from Leader-Post speaks about the current trend is definitely moving towards green products and options. The green movement is still so new that it is hard to know which regulations and certifications are the legitimate ones. This is still so new that the one green move that is full proof is the switch to energy efficiency and durability. Building an energy-efficient home is becoming the standard for homeowners. “It’s a way of thinking that says it’s better to invest in more insulation than a granite countertop. It’s cool to have solar panels, energy-efficient appliances and a green roof. These features are becoming the new eye candy of the modern and contemporary home.” Since energy costs are rising we, as homebuyers and homebuilders, must begin to turn to energy-efficient elements. As we move forward we will begin to see more homeowners choosing renovations that will bring their homes to higher performance levels. There are a few options that don’t require too much restructuring:
- Increase and/or replace old insulation in the attic.
- Always purchase energy star appliances.
- Install a programmable thermostat that can regulate the temperature of your home between day and night.
- Replace old toilets with ones that are low-flow to save 30 to 50 per cent of the water normally used.
- Install a domestic hot-water recovery system that can recapture heat gathered from hot water used during dishes, showers, etc.
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Dan Steward from RIS Media writes about the importance of not forgetting a home inspection after the construction of a new home. Many homebuyers have the false belief that new homes should be flawless, when that is never the case. The issues found in new homes are different than the problems with resale homes. When assessing a resale home, the problems sit with older systems that are nearing the end of their self-life; while the complications with new homes is typically incomplete work, damaged systems, or missing pieces of key materials. Hiring a home inspection company before closing on a new home can help save homebuyers money due to unexpected home repairs down the road.
New home construction problems fall into four categories:
- Incomplete work: Many new home constructions are not completed properly. “A home inspection company will uncover these issues prior to the move-in date.”
- Damaged systems and finishes: New homes often experience damage during construction due to rain, snow, and storage damage.
- Missing elements: Oversights during construction due to human error are more common than many realtors and homebuyers think.
- Imperfect or sloppy workmanship: While everyone would love perfect workmanship, that is not ideal; any number of things can go wrong during the construction of a new home.
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In a column in the Chicago Tribune Ilyce Glink and Samuel Tamkin write about a crucial aspect of home buying, How to select a Home Inspector.
“Question: What is best way to select a home inspector? What criteria should I use to select a good inspector? I want to make sure the house I buy is in excellent condition.”
Searching for a home inspector is like looking for a good lender, ask friends, get referrals, speak with your real estate agent and get some recommendations. Perform a complete interview with an inspector; ask what the process includes, how long it takes, what the expertise is, and what kind of paperwork or information you will be receiving. It is also important to customize your home inspector around the property you have purchased and do not just take his/her credentials as fact, do a little bit of research before making a choice. Avoid getting referred to other specialists by asking your inspector what inspections he does not perform in the home, which will give you a better idea about who to choose. “Any inspector can miss a broken faucet or toilet, but you don’t want your inspector missing a large crack in the foundation of the home, mold in the attic…a roofing system that needs replacement, or a basic structural problem.”
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