Tuesday, June 5, 2012

3 common, easy to fix inspection items

As professional home inspectors, we see a lot of issues, big and small. We also see a lot of the same issues from house to house that can be headed off with a little preventive maintenance. Here are 3 common things we see and what you can do to keep them off your inspection report.

Replace refrigerant line insulation - The hot Texas sun tends to bake the pipe insulation around the AC unit's refrigerant line, causing it to crack and fall off. (Note: Good insulation around your refrigerant line will really help your AC unit perform more efficiently). Pipe insulation can be found at any home improvement center, and it's an inexpensive way to keep the cold air cold.

While you're messing around with the AC unit, go ahead and clear any vegetation or debris from around your AC condenser. If the coils look dirty, give them a hose down. Use a regular garden hose; a power washer can damage the fins on the coil.

Trees, shrubs and bugs - Trim any shrubbery, trees or vegetation that is touching the house. We don't need to make it any easier for insects to access your home. Also, if possible, make sure your wooden fence isn't touching the exterior of your house for the same reason.

For houses built on a slab, try to keep the dirt, grass and mulch 6 - 8 inches below the brick line. In other words, have 6 - 8 inches of concrete slab showing around your house. This will help keep bugs off the brick and keep water from ponding and wicking into the walls.

Dishwasher drain - Take a look at how your dishwasher drain leaves your food disposer. It should leave the disposer housing and head uphill, ideally to the level of the bottom of the countertop, before heading to the dishwasher. That will keep gunk from the disposer from backwashing onto your clean dishes in your dishwasher.

If your sink has an air gap for the dishwasher (the thing that looks like a soap dispenser with no soap), make sure it's plumbed. Sometimes when a dishwasher is replaced, the air gap is bypassed.

More tips to come...

Call us to book an inspection or pre-listing consultation - 972-292-8733

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Why Your Client Needs a Pre-Listing Inspection

Obviously as a home inspector, I think anytime is a good time to get an inspection.

Buy a new dog, get an inspection.

Paint the kitchen, get an inspection.

Really, why are we pushing the pre-listing inspection so much? Because it makes sense, and here's why:
All of the issues you are worried about "coming to light" after a buyer submits an offer are going to show up in a decent inspection. Not knowing about the problems isn't going to make you not have problems, it just makes you ignorant of the problems.

I'm sure you heard the expression "Fore-warned is fore-armed", but it goes a little deeper than that.

The vast majority of buyers are going to have the house inspected during the offer process. The issues are still going to be there, whether you  know about them or not. 

So let's say you didn't bother with the pre-listing inspection and the buyer sends an inspector over.

Now that the issues have been identified by the buyer, it's time to start negotiating the repairs. Here are some very common deficiencies and their contractually required remedies.

Broken doorknob - replacement by licensed locksmith.
Outdoor light fixture loose - repair by licensed electrician.
Missing knockout plug in main breaker panel - repair by licensed electrician.
Replace insulation around air compressor refrigerant line - repair by licensed HVAC technician.
Dishwasher lacking high loop drain - repair by licensed plumber.
Roof repair - estimated by Joe's Roof Repair, $3,000 (to come off sales price).


Now imagine you got that pre-listing inspection and you knew about these issues before listing the house.

Broken doorknob - trip to Home Depot.
Outdoor light fixture loose - local handyman.
Missing knockout plug in main breaker panel - trip to Home Depot.
Replace insulation around air compressor refrigerant line - trip to Home Depot.
Dishwasher lacking high loop drain - trip to Home Depot.
Roof repair - compile a few estimates, seems like $1,500 is a much more accurate estimate.

So for less than $100 at Home Depot, we have avoided hiring a locksmith, an electrician and a plumber. And we got reasonable quotes for that roof problem that we can share with the buyer to help in the negotiation process.

Starting to make sense, isn't it?

Initially it does look a little counter-intuitive to go "looking for problems", but once you finally get a buyer for your house, do you really want them to immediately see a laundry list of issues they have to deal with? As a real estate agent, I have never had a buyer not get an inspection. If it's going to happen anyway, be pro-active and find out what the inspection report is going to say before the house is even on the market so that you can be prepared.