Cold-Proof Your Home with These Hot Tips

Summer has come and gone, and the cool, colorful days of autumn are upon us. Now is the perfect time to get your home ready for winter’s coming chill. Here are some tips for making sure you and your family stay comfortable when the weather outside is blustery and cold.

Consider hiring a home inspector to do an inspection on your home once every 2-3 years. This is a great way to catch issues before they become larger issues. An inspector will discover missing or damaged shingles, loose flashing, moisture issues and things that can lead to moisture issues which can result in mold problems.

Brush up the Exterior


Your home’s purpose is to provide shelter from the dangers and discomforts of the outdoors. Making sure it’s up to the job requires you to take care of issues that could otherwise balloon into catastrophes. So start your winterizing project with the following tasks:


  • Trim your trees, hedges, bushes, and any vegetation that comes in contact with your home. While you’re at it, add fertilizer to your lawn to help it spring back to life next year.
  • Cover your flower beds or garden soil with a thick layer of organic mulch.
  • Clean out your gutters. According to Reader’s Digest, the best time to do this job is in the fall, before you run the risk of ice and snow clogging the system.
  • Check for cracks or gaps around window and door sills and wherever pipes enter your home. Fill the open spaces with caulk to prevent energy-stealing drafts from driving up your utility bills.
  • If you’re not already mulching your grass clippings, leaves, and kitchen scraps, then fall is a great season to get into the habit. Compost is unbeatable for making flowers and vegetables healthy and vibrant.
  • Turn off outside water faucets, remove garden hoses, and store them away. You may want to install freeze-proof outdoor faucets as an added precaution. If you have a sprinkler system, then cut the water flow and drain the pipes. Best to have a lawn irrigation company service the lines properly and blowout the lines to help ensure against freeze damage
  • If your home has a functioning chimney, then call a chimney sweep to give it a good cleaning. This is a vital safety precaution, especially if you use your fireplace often during the winter.


Once these items have been checked off the list, refer to Redfin’s great list of additional home maintenance tasks to stay on top of. Then, shift your focus to the indoors.


Preparing the Interior for Old Man Winter


Make sure the inside of your home is ready for the cold season by following these tips:


  • Give your fireplace a good cleaning and check the flue to ensure it’s in proper working order. Make sure you clean out any soot or ashes left over from previous winters.
  • Inspect your furnace and replace filters as necessary. It’s a good idea to have a professional check your heating system for proper functioning.
  • Check your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors and install fresh batteries.
  • Inspect your humidifiers and replace filters if necessary. A humidifier is vital for keeping your home comfortable during those long winter months.
  • Give your home a top to bottom cleaning. You’ll spend a lot of time indoors during winter, so you might as well make the surroundings as pleasant as possible.


Miscellaneous Tasks


  • Check your generator (if you own one) and have a qualified service technician fix any problems you notice. According to Family Handyman, this is essential for your well-being.
  • Store summer lawn equipment like mowers and trimmers. Move items like snow blowers to the front of your storage shed or garage for easy retrieval when you need them.
  • Purchase a few extra gallons of fuel for your generator, chainsaw, and other equipment you may use during winter.
  • Make sure you have plenty of rock salt or a similar product on hand.
  • Stock up on firewood, either by ordering a supply or cutting your own.


Following these tips will help you to face the coming winter with a smile on your face. So give it your best effort, then kick back and watch the seasons change while you stay snug and warm.

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What Should Your Home Inspection Report Include?

Home inspection reports have become a requisite item in above-board property sales. Their findings are immensely important, especially when the home being evaluated has severe maintenance concerns or a checkered history of unpermitted renovative work.

Before the founding of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) in 1976, which brought about a significant push for industry standardization, there were no shared inspection guidelines or license requirements. This created troubling inconsistencies in service quality, made worse by the fact that there was no reliable way to identify the best home inspectors.

With regulatory bodies like ASHI and the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) at the helm, though, process standardization has now become a top priority for reputable home inspection companies. However, while best inspection practices have been established, reporting methods are still diverse. To give you a better idea of what to expect in your home inspection report, here’s a rundown of the noteworthy similarities and differences:

What Should Always Be in Your Report

  • Property and Client Information: Often enclosed at the top of a report, this baseline information includes the client’s name, property age and square footage.
  • Thorough Descriptions of Inspection Findings: Regardless of whether your inspector uses checklist, narrative, software-based reporting or a combination of all three, there should be full, detailed descriptions of all defective fixtures and appliances. These descriptions should also come with photographic evidence of said findings. Inspectors also should describe what a consequence of the situation and of not correcting the finding.
  • Solution Suggestions: Uncovered defects should come with a repair solution or specialist recommendation, if you’ve hired a general inspector. Remember that, while general inspectors can identify defects and vulnerabilities in a wide variety of home systems, they may not always be trained to directly address their findings. In most cases, certifying bodies like ASHI and InterNACHI actively discourage general inspectors from working on homes they evaluate. For example, a general inspector will assess the condition and longevity of your garage floor material, but its repair or replacement is best left to a company that specializes in garage floor coatings.

Where Reporting Methods Differ

One of the biggest differences is how home inspection reports are formatted. The two main reporting types are checklist and narrative, but increasingly, more inspectors are using software-based tools. Narrative reporting is the preferred method in many municipalities, especially as a legal record, because it doesn’t leave as much up to interpretation as a checklist does, since an inspector can specifically detail—and photograph—exact vulnerabilities and their severity.

Some reporting software provide inspectors with location or room-specific templates to ensure that each space’s most common areas of concern are identified from the very beginning. This is meant to ensure more thorough reporting, and remind inspectors where to centralize their focus.

The home inspection industry has grown immensely concerning operational standards and reporting methods, but the entire process can still be daunting for a home buyer or seller participating in it for the first time. If you live in the Columbus and Central Ohio area and would like a thorough, time-tested professional to guide you through the home inspection process, there’s no better place to turn than Habitation Investigation. To schedule your inspection today, call (937) 205-4758 or (614) 413-0075. Or schedule online at

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How Home Sellers Try to Trick Home Inspectors

If you’re selling your home, the very decision to schedule or allow a home inspection is an act of goodwill. It not only indicates that you’re serious about selling a property in good condition, but also that you respect the sizable investment your buyers are considering and want to give them the most information possible before they close the deal.

Of course, where there’s money at stake, there are always some looking to cut corners. A handful of uncovered defects can give buyers enough leverage to negotiate a lower price, so some sellers may be less than forthcoming about their home’s issues to preserve their asking price, especially if the seller doesn’t view the issues as major deal breakers.

Problem is, when it’s your home, you’re prone to a host of biases. They could be malicious, with the seller simply looking to pull one over on everyone to get the best offer possible. They could also come from a sentimental, nostalgic place based on the seller’s memories of living there.

Regardless of their motivations, there are sellers out there that try to manufacture a good home inspection, as opposed to earning one. Here are just a few of their tricky strategies:

Concealing Water Stained Walls

One of the most common inspection concealments is also, often, one of the costliest for buyers. Water stains indicate leaks, and where there are leaks, mold growth is always a concern. So, it’s not just the one issue; a buyer that purchases a home with significant water damage is on the hook for both repairing the leaks and potentially bringing in a restoration contractor to eliminate any unwanted bacterial growths.

Unfortunately, there numerous D.I.Y. ways to conceal water stains, whether it’s a fresh coat of paint, a stack of boxes or an oversized piece of furniture. If you’re considering buying a home and you attend its inspection, keep an eye out for “organized chaos,” or areas where obstructive items seem too pre-arranged; then ask the inspector to take a closer look, if he or she hasn’t flagged the area already.

The Old “Under the Rug” Trick

You would think home sellers would steer clear of this tactic since most people are warned from a young age to be wary of those that “sweep things under the rug,” but as they say of all clichés, there’s a reason for their existence. Throwing a rug over a cracked floor or stained carpet may give the seller a momentary bit of ease, but any home inspector worth their credentials won’t forget to inspect covered areas—in fact, they’ll likely prioritize them especially if they feel an uneveness to the floor. Home buyers often lift up rugs. Get caught hiding soemthing and you lose nearly all trust from the buyer.

Well-Timed Inspections

Buyers should never lose sight of the fact that buying a home is an investment in the property and the neighborhood. Since home inspections mostly focus on the indoor spaces, it can be easy to be wooed by a freshly remodeled shower and vanity from one of the top Cleveland bathroom remodeling companies, or a sleek, contemporary roof from one of Columbus’ best roofing contractors; but it’s important to step outside, observe the neighborhood and note the time of day.

Check to see if the neighborhood’s thoroughfare has a lot of traffic, and ask the seller about pending plans for the area—like school district rezoning or planned construction. You’ll also want to make sure the neighbors aren’t too raucous. Any one of these things can significantly diminish the value or curb appeal of the property being inspecting. I recommend visiting the neighborhood on a Friday or Saturday night to make sure there are no crazy neighbors; or if there are, that they’re the right type of crazy—like you’d see in a great Ohio State football fan (O-H-I-O!)

Covering Foundational Flaws

I’ve seen this attempted many ways, from placing foam board insulation over a leaning foundation wall to stacking boxes against foundational cracks. It’s understandable why some would conceal such a debilitating home issue, but it’s also a nonsensical tactic for sellers that will clearly stop at nothing to sell their property at what they deem the appropriate price.

Let’s track the hypothetical: a seller hides their home’s cracking foundation and, by some miracle, sneaks it past the buyer and inspector. At some point, though, the foundational flaws will be uncovered. If it happens right before the dotted line is signed, the seller’s deception was for nothing. If it’s found after the house changes hands, the seller could eventually be subject to legal action because of the severe nature of the undisclosed defect.

If you live in the Columbus and Central Ohio area and would like a thorough home inspector that has seen through these tricks and countless others before, there’s no better place to turn than Habitation Investigation! To schedule your inspection today, call (937) 205-4758 or (614) 413-0075.

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Water valves and Home Preparation for a home inspection

When a home inspection is scheduled it is scheduled for a specific start and end time. It is important that the home be ready to be inspected. When the home is not ready for the inspection the inspection takes much longer than it should and at times issues can not be discovered due to the lack of preparation.

At an Urbana Ohio home inspection one of our inspectors arrived at the home to find that the water was shut off, and the water heater tank was still not filled up. The agent who was there cut the zip tie keeping the water from being turned on and attempted to turn the water valve. The valve would not turn. Because of the agents lack of preparation the home buyer did not as full of a home inspection as we would normally do. We were unable to check the water lines and the drain lines. The water heater could not be checked nor could the dishwasher be ran.

According to all the home inspection associations, home inspectors are not required to turn on valves due to the chance of leaks (valves are often turned off for reasons). Inspectors are highly recommended not to force valves to move also. High chance of damage and leaks if a valve does ot want to turn.

The agent at this home then wanted us to come back out immediately to finish the inspection because a plumber was able to get the valve opened. After asking we find out that they still did not fill the water heater tank. We will wait till we know it is all done. We have schedules to keep and we can not spend much extra time doing the things that should have been done before.

When delays like this happen the real estate agent looks bad to the home buyer and to the inspector. Sometimes the agent will blame the inspector for not getting it all done. Agents should always verify that the water is on especially if the home is vacant to help the home inspection go smoothly.

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Why Waiving the Home Inspection Contingency is a Mistake

Many property sales hinge on a collection of contingencies, and why shouldn’t they? With hundreds of thousands of dollars—potentially millions—at stake depending on the property, it’s only natural to expect both buyers and sellers to seek their own protections.

As individual markets become more seller-friendly, though, buyers incentivize the waiving of these contingencies to give their respective offers the competitive edge. This is a less common practice with homeowner’s insurance and financing contingencies since these determine whether the buyer actually has the capital to complete the transaction, but it’s become common practice to waive the home inspection contingency.

What is the Home Inspection Contingency?

The home inspection contingency gives a buyer the ability to cancel or renegotiate their property contract based on the findings of an independent, professional home inspector. The contingency is meant to protect buyers from investing in a home that is in chronic disrepair, and as a result, will never appreciate beyond its maintenance costs.

It seems like a strange thing for a prospective buyer to waive, but it turns out to be an enticing bargaining chip for property sellers who resist the idea of receiving a full inspection report. This isn’t necessarily because resistant sellers have one or more major property flaws they’re trying to hide; it’s often because they fear that, once they know the full roster of their home’s deficiencies, they’re obligated to disclose them entirely to all future buyers.

The Case Against Waiving the Contingency

A seller with this mindset may favor buyers that don’t require a home inspection to complete the sale, especially if they have a pool of comparably competitive offers. A buyer, especially one enamored with the location or architecture of said seller’s home, may be willing to acquiesce in order to take pole position atop the offer pool.

It’s an easy trap for a buyer to fall into, but unless you have a considerable amount of capital set aside for ongoing and unexpected repairs, it’s best to resist waiving the inspection contingency just for the sake of locking up your dream home.

Also, when you wave the inspection contingency, you’re not just relinquishing your ability to back out of an unsavory property deal; you’re also putting the financial burden of needed repairs and renovations squarely on your shoulders. If the height of a home’s issues is a few broken windows and jamming doors, there’s considerably less risk; but if you’re dealing with terminally failing HVAC systems or you’ll need to bring in local roofers, it’s best to leave the contingency in place so there’s room to negotiate who foots the bill for major repairs.

Not having a home inspection completed on your new home can also have a negative effect in regards to your home warranty. Home warranties often require that they see the home inspection report to verify that an item such as the water heater or air conditioner was working when the buyers were in the process of buyin the home. Without the home inspection report confirming that the item was working some warranty companies are denying claims.

Making Your Offer More Enticing to Sellers Without Waiving the Contingency

As markets around the country return to a less buyer-friendly median, sellers are gaining more leverage, especially in the contingency negotiation process. For example, sellers can employ what’s known as a “kick-out clause,” which allows them to market their properties even during a negotiation with a specific buyer, should said buyer be unwilling to forego a home inspection or unable to schedule one within the agreed-upon time frame.

During a highly competitive bidding process, it can seem like waiving your inspection contingency is the only way to distinguish your offer, but there are a few alternative compromises you can make to close the deal. Instead of a full home inspection, you could opt for a general home inspection contingency, which only requires a pass-fail inspection, as opposed to a full, itemized report. Buyers could also establish a cost of repair contingency, which establishes a pre-determined cap of funds the seller is obligated to commit towards needed repairs—often between 1 and 2% of the home’s estimated value.

Navigating a home purchase and all its contingencies can be a daunting process filled with legal jargon and intense negotiation. Ultimately, though, the case for not waiving your home inspection contingency is a simple one: you don’t want to make a potentially life-altering investment without having as much information as you possibly can about what you’re investing in.

If you live in the Columbus and Central Ohio area and would like a thorough, time-tested professional to guide you through the home inspection process, there’s no better place to turn than Habitation Investigation. To schedule your inspection today, call (937) 205-4758 or (614) 413-0075.

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Foundation Cracks

Nearly all homes have foundation cracks. The foundation is something that all home buyers are concerned with. Most often the cracks are not significant and will not cause any issues with the stability of the home. During a Grove City Ohio home inspection one of our inspectors came across a non typical crack in the crawl space of the home.


In this Grove City home the foundation instead of have stair step cracks due to some minor settling this area of the foundation shiften inward.  There also did not appear to be alot of water pressure stains on the floundation blocks in this area.

Often at home inspections we find grading and water concerns that add pressure to foundations. Without evidence of a lot of water issues on this section of foundation this crack may have been caused during contruction when the backfill was added and it pushed the blocks inward.  Due to the size of the crack in the home inspection report it was recommended to have it looked at by a foundation company.

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Why a New Home Buyer Should Not Rely on the Former Buyers Home Inspection Report

Not all home buyers end up closing on the home that they put an offer on. Things happen and deals do fall through. This happens for several reasons. The top reasons are financial approval fell through, the seller and buyer got along poorly, the sellers decided not to sell the home, and the condition of the home was worse than the buyer originally thought it was.

Once the home purchase has been cancelled the first home buyers usually look at other homes. The sellers are now left to hope another buyer comes along. The home inspection report is often shared with the real estate agents and the seller. Erroneously this home inspection report is sometimes shared with the new home buyers. This is an error for a couple of reasons.

The first reason is because the second buyer has no contract with the home inspector or the home inspection company. Because there is no agreement/contract if the second buyer has an issue with the home claiming that the home inspector missed a major issue there is zero responsibility for the inspector to take care of them. There was zero legal obligation.

Another reason is that the new home buyer was not present at the inspection and therefore has not idea what conversations the former home buyer and inspector had. This can be vital information.  Sometimes in the inspection agreement the buyer request somethings not be inspected so the report is not as whole as the new buyer may believe.

The last reason I am giving here for not relying on the home inspection report created for a previous home buyers has to do with your warranty. To help sell homes agents and sellers will often buy a home warranty for the new home owner. However most home warranty companies will not repair a lot of your issues if you did not have a home inspection completed for you. I spoke with a home warranty rep and they do depend on the home inspection report to determine if items such as your furnace or air conditioner were working when you bought the home. If you do not have your own inspection report to verify that things did operate when you bought the home then you are out of luck and the warranty company will not pay to fix your broken stuff.

If you are buying a home that was previously inspected then you need to have your own inspection done to be protected as fully as possible. If anyone tells you that it is fine to use the previous home inspection report they are wrong. Your are not protected well at all. When Habitation Investigation does a home inspection the client has the ability to get an 18 month warranty for the fee of 12 months. Habitation Investigation also provides warranties such as sewer line protections, 5 year roof leak warranty and 90 day warranty on structural and mechanicals. All those things are there for the home buyer if Habitation Investigation does the inspection for the clients who buy the home.

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How to Maximize Your Home’s Resale Value

According to the Consumer Reports National Research Center, over 5 million homes will be sold this year; so if you’re selling a home in 2017, you’ll likely have some competition.

Many sellers resort to lowering their asking price to quickly assume pole position as the most attractive and valuable property in the area, but there are numerous strategies you can employ before listing your home that will maximize its resale value.

It’s important to dwell on the word, “value”; your objective shouldn’t be to have the cheapest listing, it should be presenting the most value-rich property that demonstrates to prospective buyers that their investment is well-warranted.

Luckily, there is a wide variety of tasks that will help you build your home’s resale value, ranging from simple, cost-effective aesthetic changes to full-scale renovations. Here are just a few tips to keep in mind as you work towards realizing your property’s full potential:

Focus on the Kitchen and Bathroom, But Update Wisely

Kitchens and bathrooms are often the make-or-break rooms for buyers, so you’ll have to resist the impulse to plan a highly ornate, transformative remodel of each space. There’s an important balance to strike here; you want to present rooms that are enticing but not alienating.

For example, it wouldn’t be advisable to spend loads of money on purely aesthetic changes, like installing new wall-mounted lighting to replace overhead fluorescent fixtures. While these are positive updates, they may carry too much of your stylistic preferences and strike buyers as spaces that were prepared for them—as opposed to a blank canvas they can leave their own mark on.

In this case, less is more. Something as simple as a new paint job using a neutral palette can provide the visual pop you’re looking for while still preserving that sense of depersonalization.

Stainless Steel Helps Close the Deal

If you have aging appliances that need an update before you start bringing in buyers, opt for stainless steel fixtures. Their sleek, metallic appearance screams contemporary design—a big attractor for many buyers. Newer appliances will also help alleviate other potential pain points during your home sale, such as uncertainties about the overall state and longevity of the property.

Bring the Spa Home

While buyers may be off-put by drastic aesthetic changes, major functional changes to high-traffic spaces will draw them back in, especially when it comes to the bathroom. Privacy and comfort rank high on the list of human desires in any given moment, so make sure the bathroom you show promotes both.

To give your bathroom that spa-quality look and feel, you can invest in things like heated flooring, stone shower surrounds, a glass shower enclosure, a new wall partition, or even replace your current bath fixture with an innovative walk-in tub or shower. Whatever renovation route you elect, your goal should be to optimize your bathroom’s versatility, accessibility, comfort—or all three!

Schedule a Home Inspection Before Listing Your Home

Nothing chases a buyer away like runaround, and few tasks present a greater risk of runaround than home inspection. Many inspections require the attendance of the buying party, selling party, and their respective agents. Most inspectors highly recommend that at least the home buyer attend the inspection. Coordinating across that many schedules can quickly create confusion, which in turn can lead to dissatisfaction with the entire process. Then, of course, there’s the uncomfortable conversations that result from a less-than-glowing inspection report—especially if it identifies a ton of property issues that weren’t disclosed at the outset.

If you’re selling a home, it’s in your best interest to conduct your property inspection before putting it up for sale. This is called a pre-listing inspection. You’ll enjoy peace of mind by having all your home’s issues laid out in front of you, and your buyers will appreciate the more simplified process, as well as a legal account of exactly what they’re investing their money in. When the home inspector finds thing to fix (they always do) having a pre listing home inspection gives you plenty of time to fix those things yourself or you can select who you want to hire to correct those things. Either way you will be able to save yourself money.

Don’t Splurge on the Down Payment for a Fixer-Upper

This final tip is meant more for those looking to resale their home in a few years. If you live in a home that needs extensive renovative work, it’s best to reserve a portion of the sizeable down payment you’d make on a newer construction and invest it into a major remodel or two to kick off your property overhaul.

If you plan on flipping your home in the next 2-3 years, it’s better to invest in the work you know needs to be done to boost your profit margin, like replacing warped windows or hiring metal roofing contractors to replace a porous asphalt shingle system. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself aggressively paying down a home that won’t yield a large-enough return when it’s placed back on the market.
There’s no single, tried-and-true method for maximizing your home’s resale value, but there are many small and large-scale strategies you can piece together over time to steadily improve your asset’s closing price. Several of those tasks are covered here; and while they’re diverse in their focus, they all center around one thing: making your buyers feel at home.

The more comfortable they feel in your home, the more likely they are to meet you at your price point to ensure that they don’t miss out on a high-value property.

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The Telltale Signs of a Bad Home Inspector

Home inspection is a pivotal phase of any property transaction. Thousands of dollars and weeks of buyer-seller negotiation often hang in the balance as inspectors assess the structural integrity, functionality and long-term durability of their clients’ respective homes.

You don’t have to be involved with the process to understand its enormous stakes. They’re so clear, in fact, that some people may be apprehensive about committing to a home inspector, especially if they are unclear about what constitutes a thorough property inspection.

To help ease those worries, here are several details you should keep an eye out for to determine when a home inspector simply isn’t up to snuff:

Issues Vague Reports That Lack the Basics

When you think of home inspection reports, it may elicit images of a long list of potential home vulnerabilities broken down by area. That’s generally accurate, but what you may not realize is that it’s important to include baseline details like property age and building type.

In many instances, it’s easier for inspectors and home sellers to contextualize the nature and severity of a home’s issues with specific information about the property’s construction. For example, foundational weaknesses in a home built decades ago can be chalked up as expected depreciation; whereas a newer home with the same issues could suggest recent, faulty remodeling work. If so, the question then becomes if said work was done in just one section of the home or throughout the property. If the latter, this could suggest more areas of concern for the seller.

Also, on a more general level, robust, detailed reporting paired with general home info suggests that your home inspector is thinking about your property’s state outside of a vacuum. It shows that he or she is considering every factor in order to make the most precise assessment.

Lists Problems, Provides No Solutions

Some home inspectors are more specialized than others, offering specific evaluations for things like pest infestations and radon deposits; most inspectors, though, are general practitioners and, as such, should provide recommendations for certified third-party professionals to fix issues they identify.

Any home inspector worth their salt will never take the standpoint of, “Here’s what I found. Good luck finding someone to fix it,” even with smaller DIY fixes. For example, if a homeowner needs to make a small fix, like replacing a shower diverter valve or checking a filter for an HVAC system, a thorough inspector would either recommend the help of an experienced professional or provide a link to a tutorial video or article that will walk said homeowner through the process.

Promises a Quick Inspection

Most inspections should last between 3-4 hours, depending on the home’s size and structural issues. Any inspector promising to do the same quality work in half the time likely won’t be able to. Your final report may come back quicker, but if it’s riddled with inaccuracies and generalities, you could be forced to pay for a new inspector and all the fees associated with their process.

Evades Questions About Certification and Process

Not only should every good inspector detail their process; they should also cite the standard practices of reputable industry organizations that inform their process. Two commonly cited organizations include the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors (NACHI) and the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). If your inspector isn’t forthcoming about these details, especially if asked directly, there’s a good chance he or she isn’t adhering to industry best practices.

Good inspectors and good home inspection companies will also have a standardized reporting format that incorporates images and text, as well as a fully formed fee policy in the event that re-inspection is required. Don’t be afraid to press your home inspector on these issues because a truly professional inspector will have no issues providing a thorough, satisfactory answer.

Offers to Fix What They Find

Quick scenario: a homeowner lives in Ohio within close distance of Lake Erie. Their home has an asphalt shingle roof that’s proven sturdy for years, but the humid climate is causing the roof’s shingles to unfasten and displace. If a home inspector identifies this issue before the homeowner puts the property up for sale, great! If the inspector goes a step further and recommends a reputable Cleveland roofing contractor, even better.

But what if that same inspector was incredibly close friends with that contractor, and the homeowner found that the inspector regularly referred his clients to that roofer? Homeowners should avoid these shady transactional relationships because it’s uncertain whether they’re investing in much-needed home improvements, or merely gifting a new job to one of the inspector’s closest friends.

If your home inspector offers to fix your home’s issues him or herself, make sure to press them again on their professional certifications and training. If the inspector can’t provide solid evidence of either, it’s best to steer clear.

An excellent home inspector is worth their weight in gold. A thorough, responsive professional can greatly streamline your process for getting your home in sale shape, but the only way to make sure you partner with the right person is with comprehensive vetting.

The two most important things to assess with any inspector are their experience and passion. Before you hire any inspector, it should be clear to you that they know what they’re doing, as well as the importance of doing their job well. Otherwise, the end result will be costly, unhelpful and, well, bad.

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It is only a small percentage that are bad

There will always be some bad people in whatever type of business you think about. Real estate is no exception. There are bad home inspectors who will hide issues so as to help an agent sell a home and there are real estate agents who will tell home inspectors that if they write up certain things then they will make “the list” of  home inspectors that do such things and will not be recommended. The percentage of agents that do this is very small. It should be recognized that there are agents like this and they should be avoided. I know of an agent recently that did the exact thing recently in regards to noting in the inspection report moisture at the base of a toilet. Condensation on the tank is one thing, however when there is moisture and stains at a toilet base then there is an issue. Wax rings used to seal toilets are very inexpensive and seem to need replaced every 10 years or so typically. The inspector, after receiving a phone call from the agent complaining about the exact same thing, called the owner/broker letting him know of his agents behavior. Bad agents run the risk of ruining a real estate agencies reputation and scaring away potential clients if the word gets out that the agency has unethical agents who try to tell home inspectors not to put things in a report.

Perhaps the next time this happens that home inspector should present to the agent, in front of the buyer of course, an agreement stating that at the request of that agent no comments will be made regarding leaks at toilets. This special agreement should also state that the agent agrees to pay for such issues if/when discovered later on. The look on that agents face would be priceless. Of course that home inspector would never get referred to anyone by that agent, but then again that home inspector and buyer, and the buyers friends will never want to do anything with that agent nor that agents agency for a long time.

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