Improvementalism:
The fanatical belief that remodeling doesn't need to cost you a fortune - or your sanity.

What the heck is a home inspection?

Posted on March 12, 2010

David Salvato thoroughly inspects every outlet

Nobody can deny I’ve got a thing for houses.  When I visit friends, I ask the kind of questions that earn me blank looks, shrugging, and an occasional eye-roll over my obvious excitement for the things many people, well… just don’t care much about. But nobody beats out a Home Inspector when it comes to an eye for detail…

If you’re a real estate agent in LA, you probably know David Salvato- with DHI Home Inspection. He’s one of those people that seems to be everywhere, a featured Home Inspector on Active Rain, and I love his juicy updates on Twitter describing conditions good and bad in homes all over Los Angeles.

Today I grill David in honor of first time home buyers using the tax credit- and giving them some sound advice, with a quick Q & A followed by some of David’s Home Inspection Deal Breakers.

tools of the trade

@EvangelistaLA: David… I’m guessing you either have to be OCD or majorly methodical to be a home inspector. What makes you so thorough?

@FollowDHI: I get my patience by remaining focused on the task at hand. I inspect every home as if were one I was buying for myself. As the owner of David Home Inspection my name is on every inspection and I take that very seriously.

@EvangelistaLA: How do you feel about buyers who want to be present for your inspection?

@FollowDHI: I love it! I guess I must have been a teacher in another life or something. I truly enjoy sharing the details of the home inspection with the potential buyers.

David caught a gas leak on this inspection

David caught a gas leak on this inspection

@EvangelistaLA: Gimmie the dirt. What’s the worst thing you’ve seen on an inspection?

@FollowDHI: I would have to say by far the worst thing I’ve ever seen was a complete cutaway of a roof truss system to make room for a non-permitted bonus room. The roof could have collapsed on the occupants. The Home was deemed uninhabitable by the local building department. It took an investor to remove all the damaged trusses and rebuild it.

@EvangelistaLA: Woah. I’m guessing with banks taking ownership of so many homes you’re seeing some wild conditions in REO properties. What’s the deal with that?

@FollowDHIConditions vary with location- and the amount of time the home is left unattended. It’s not uncommon for a Home Inspector to find things like the Heating and Air Conditioning systems removed. Vinyl doors and windows missing. Copper plumbing and electrical wires pulled out. I recently inspected a home where the $6,000 pool equipment had been stolen!

I mean this guy is EVERYWHERE...

Your bonus: DHI’s Top Ten Reasons Homeowners Tend to Walk Away:

  1. Foundation cracks that are beyond normal. Small hair line cracks are considered normal – caused by the shrinking and settlement of the concrete itself. Larger cracks are sometimes caused by large tree roots or poor soil conditions.
  2. Mold. At times mold will come up on the report. Mold in large amounts can be caused by long term roof leaks, plumbing and irrigation damage- and the health effects attributed to major mold exposure may be serious.
  3. Asbestos. Any home built before 1978 will contain asbestos of some type, unless it’s been removed already. In older homes where the new owner wants to renovate, it is best to know where the asbestos laden products are and call a pro to remove them. This can impact a renovation budget heavily.
  4. Lead. For young families with small children a home with lead paint can be a big issue. Many times I find paint peeling or flaking off- leaving small bits of paint that can be ingested by children. The lead paint removal process is a expensive, and takes time.
  5. A Bad Roof. The roof system is one of the most important parts of the house. Replacing a roof can cost thousands and in some case even over ten thousand. Wood damage under the roof will cause the replacement price to escalate quickly.
  6. Wood destroying insects and organisms. Subterranean termites are the most common termite in the United States. A mature colony has from 80K to 400K workers. (eek! Something tells me they’re not lazy either…) The average colony can consume a one foot length of 2×4 in 118 days. Other unfriendly suspects inclue the Powder post beetle, the Carpenter bee, and the Carpenter ant. Long term infestation by any of these pests can lead to the loss of structural integrity.
  7. Household pests. (uh. Yuck…) Rats and mice are the most common finds in Southern California homes. This is especially true in homes that have a lot of fruit trees and date palms. Rodents can cause thousands of dollars in damage to the homes systems and equipment. They can eat the insulation off electrical and control wires, can nest in and destroy HVAC ducts as well.
  8. Missing or damaged systems and equipment. Plumbing, electrical and HVAC equipment are some of the first things taken. Many homes are being sold as is- Bank Owned. When homes are left unattended they are subject to thieves removing HVAC equipment appliances, copper wire and plumbing.
  9. Signs of past fire damage. Even after repairs have been made many people can’t get past the feeling of bad luck that comes with a home that’s been involved in a house fire.
  10. Death or Murder in Home. (major eek!) We saved the worst for last. Everyone has seen Amityville  Horror. Never met anyone who went through with the purchase of a home after this kind of disclosure.

Seen something wild at a Foreclosure? Bought or sold a house somebody died in? Shoot us a comment!

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  • MovingMountains

    I loved this interview Laurie. Nice to hear what Dave has to say about home inspections. I recommend my home staging clients have a pre-sale home inspection so they can address any condition issues before the sale. I've seen condition problems that could have been fixed before the home went on the market sink many a sale.

  • Leah Thayer

    Great work, Laurie! Thanks for sharing this — it deserves a wide audience.

  • http://www.moldremoval.com/ mold removal

    This is informative

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  • http://www.moldremoval.net Mold Remediation

    i think there are more good tips!

  • http://www.waterdamageout.com/mold_removal.htm Mold removal

    Thanks for sharing Laurie

  • http://www.cabletiesandmore.com/WiringDucts.php Wire Duct

    This is somehow informative but I can add to that for the inspection is those wires and cables. It is important to check those wires and cables because if they are damage it will cause harm to people because of the electricity flowing and also can cause of fire too.There is a need of those wire duct which can really manage and organize those wires and cables either at home or at office.

  • Mike Taylor

    What I like about home inspection back when I was buying a house in Minneapolis was jioining him as he went through the house I had my eyes one. (I am the new ower now) He pointed a lot to be done and gave me an easy-to-understand list keep in mind. The home inspections (St. Paul, MN) company even provided me additional resouces like maintenance manuals.

    Likewise, David's passion for home inspections impresses me. He takes things seriously and he knows how to do the job right. Lastly, I really love that bonus list. It's very helpful for anyone planning to buy a house or just considering a home inspection. Really helps!

  • Mike Taylor

    What I like about home inspection back when I was buying a house in Minneapolis was jioining him as he went through the house I had my eyes one. (I am the new ower now) He pointed a lot to be done and gave me an easy-to-understand list keep in mind. The home inspections (St. Paul, MN) company even provided me additional resouces like maintenance manuals.

    Likewise, David's passion for home inspections impresses me. He takes things seriously and he knows how to do the job right. Lastly, I really love that bonus list. It's very helpful for anyone planning to buy a house or just considering a home inspection. Really helps!

  • http://www.moldtesting.org mold testing

    This is really informative. Thanks for sharing it. Great site.

  • http://digg.com/nerojohn91 Juliet Meeks

    This is great information.  I am very happy to see the post.

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