Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I pay for a home inspection?
It is very important to allow a professional to look over your investment prior to purchase. If there is nothing wrong with the home, then you can rest assured that a qualified professional has inspected the home thoroughly and verified the quality. The home inspection can literally save you thousands of dollars. I ask clients, would you buy a used car without having a qualified mechanic check it out?? The money spent for an inspection of a home is minimal compared with potential money outlay if problems are not detected.
What if I am buying a new home, or selling a home, why would I need a home inspection?
New homes have problems too. Having an independent party check a new home is a good idea. Some of the better builders in Gainesville will welcome a qualified inspector to check their finished product and have reason to be proud. In my experience, beware of the builder who does not want the inspector to check his new construction. Also, see if the builder or superintendent can be at the home inspection, in case there are things that come up. Problems are always resolved more promptly when all parties hear about it firsthand.
As for sellers, this buyers’ market today is the best reason in the world for an inspection. The last thing you want is for an unknown problem to become a catalyst for killing a sale. Allow a professional inspector to check the home thoroughly, then fix problems you wish to deal with, and disclose other problems that you may not want to deal with. Full disclosure means there are no surprises and fewer potential deal killers.
How do I know who to call for an inspection?
Ask around. Gainesville is still a pretty small town. Ask friends, colleagues, other home buyers. Ask real estate professionals that you trust. Ask mortgage companies, pest inspectors, and lenders who they would trust most. Ask them who they would use to inspect their home. Also, check to make sure the inspector is a member one of the better home inspector groups like FABI or ASHI, and make sure your inspector is properly licensed by the State of Florida.
Does your experience make you a better inspector?
Of course it does. Having inspected homes full time in Gainesville since 1997 has given me the opportunity to inspect homes in practically every corner of the county. I am a better inspector than I was five or ten years ago. I do find it tougher to crawl through those hot attics in August, but I still do it and I still enjoy my job. There are few neighborhoods in Gainesville where I’ve not inspected at least a home or two, and there are consistent problems in certain neighborhoods, certain areas, and with certain age homes. I generally know what problems to look for as soon as I hear the address of a home to be inspected.
How long does an inspection take?
About two hours for an average home. Larger homes, older homes, or homes with multiple defects can take longer. Be there at your inspection. Ask questions. Don’t let anyone force you to be in a hurry to leave until you feel like your questions are answered. Your decision to buy a home is a huge financial commitment and you deserve to have your questions answered.
What is covered in an inspection?
See my web page that covers services and then call or email me if you have other questions.
What about well and septic?
Good question. In my opinion, the only way to have a proper septic inspection is to have a septic company open the tank, inspection sewage levels, clean out the tank, inspect the insides, and check water flow to the tank. The septic cleaning typically costs about $275. Dye tests are not able to detect all the possible problems a septic system might have, and in my opinion, are not worthwhile.
Well pressure is key, and a good inspector will allow water to run inside a home for some time to assess pressure and drainage. Water tests need to be run through the county Health Department.
Do you do any repair work?
No. Repairing work that I find can be a conflict of interest. I will suggest ways to make repairs, but leave it to licensed professionals in the various areas. I will not re-inspect homes to check repairs unless licensed individuals have made repairs.
Do you recommend service people?
Yes, I do, but only licensed contractors. For me, there is liability in recommending others, but I know contractors (plumbing, roofing, electrical, HVAC, painting, etc.) in Gainesville that are continually praised for their work ethic and I try to direct clients to the most ethical and professional service people that I know.
Do you offer any insurance or warranty?
No, I don’t and I’d be wary of companies that do offer a warranty. There are insurance policies you can purchase that will cover you for a year on most appliances and HVAC systems. In a 20+-year old home with mostly original equipment, a 12-month insurance policy on equipment might be a good idea.
Will you tell me if I am “getting a good deal on my house?”
Nope. Sorry. Actually, I usually don’t even know the final sale price of the home and I leave the valuation of the home to the appraiser, and the “good deal” assessment to your real estate professional. They are the ones that deal with price. I’m the one that deals with mechanical and structural components of the home. What I will tell you is about potential expenses that may crop up in the first year. A very good inspector once told me, “Remind your clients that you can’t see into the future, and you can’t see through walls,” so I will do my best guessing the life expectancy of the equipment, and try to warn you about the small problems that could get worse.
What about insurance inspections?
Most insurance companies are now demanding a 4-Point inspection for homes over 20 years old. The 4-Point report covers the roof, the electrical system, the HVAC system, and plumbing areas. The inspection is very much abbreviated compared to a full home inspection and basically confirms the age and life expectancy of the four areas of concern. Nearly all insurance companies, including Citizens, now demand at least 5 years life expectancy for the roof shingles. Some companies won’t insure if the water heater is older than 15 years old. Certain electric panels (like FPE Stab-Lok or Zinsco panels) and some plumbing pipe types (like polybutylene) will not be insured by most companies. Having a professional home inspector identify those potential problems can save you time and money. Homeowner’s insurance has gotten progressively more difficult to obtain in Florida and is a significant concern when buying an older home.
How about wind mitigation inspections?
I am certified to do a Uniform Mitigation Verification Inspection (UMVI) reports that can lead to significant savings for homeowner’s insurance. The UMVI is usually applicable and worthwhile if an older home has been re-roofed since March 1, 2002. My inspection will verify strapping, nail patterns, and roof configuration, and will include photographs and scanned documents from the State of Florida. My clients have reported savings from $75 to $700 off on their homeowner’s insurance with a qualifying UMVI report.
Do you work on weekends?
No, I reserve the weekends for myself and my family. Running my own business has proven to take far more than 40 hours a week, so I need the time off. I also a volunteer volleyball coach and that passion takes up some of my weekend time.
Do you test for radon?
I am certified to test for radon, but I am currently not doing the testing until I find equipment that I like better than my last testing equipment. I will update my website when I do offer radon testing again.