When does a business manager crawl under a house? When you work for LG Real Estate and one of your duties is to represent the firm at home inspections.
Recently, I observed 3 home inspections in 2 days performed by Matt McClymonds from First Step Home Inspections. We have worked with Matt and his company for several years. Matt is thorough, very knowledgeable and best of all is patient and understanding when he explains what he finds.
The 3 inspections were all for buyers we represented who recently purchased a home. Most real estate contracts today include a cost of repair contingency. This clause states that if the cost of repairs exceeds a certain dollar limit, the buyer has the option of voiding the contract with no loss of earnest money. A home inspection is necessary to determine the current structural and mechanical condition of the purchased home.
Is a home inspection for home buyers only?
A home inspection is a visual examination of the physical structure and systems of a home. Is a home inspection for home buyers only? No, as a matter of fact a home inspection is a valuable report for home sellers and homeowners. If you are planning to sell your home, a major repair issue can easily send a contracted buyer packing so it’s best to know the working condition of your home prior to listing it.
As a homeowner not currently planning on selling, an inspection gives you instant feedback on the condition of your home. This type of check up serves as a maintenance inspection and lets you know what items need attention to keep your home in good condition (we call it selling condition).
Moisture in the Crawl Space
I asked Matt what was the most common problem he finds in home inspections. He quickly answered moisture in the crawl space. This problem alone can short circuit a home sale since it’s usually not a quick or inexpensive fix. Fortunately, the crawl space was dry at all three property inspections I observed.
Trying not to disturb Matt as he worked, I asked if he uses any kind of a checklist during his inspection. My observation is that Matt is a visual detective constantly scanning, testing and noting potential problem areas. Although he does not carry an actual check list on inspections – his website gives the following list of areas and systems inspected:
|Roof, vents, flashings, and trim||Water heating system|
|Gutters and downspouts||Interior plumbing fixtures and faucets|
|Skylight, chimney and other||Drainage sump pumps with accessible floats|
|Roof penetrations||Electrical service line and meter box|
|Decks, steps, porches, walkways, and railings||Main disconnect and service amperage|
|Grading and drainage||Electrical panels, breakers and fuses|
|Basement, foundation and crawlspace||Grounding and bonding|
|Water penetration and foundation movement||Fireplace damper door and hearth|
|Heating system||Insulation and ventilation|
|Cooling system||Garage doors, safety sensors, and openers|
|Main water shut off valves||and much more|
HVAC systems checkpoint
Since we are experiencing one of the hottest summers on record, properly functioning HVAC systems are of course very important. One of the tests Matt performs is a temperature differential reading. He measures the temperature at an outgoing register and the temp reading at the cold air return. Matt likes to see a 16-20 degree differential, but a 14 degree difference is considered functional. Matt recommends consistent servicing of your units by a licensed HVAC technician to keep them in prime working order.
We were lucky this time – I did not need to crawl under any homes and all three homes came in with favorable inspections and relatively short repair lists.