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Old 01-10-2014, 10:56 AM   #16
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The building and working on homes is critical especially if buying a home built before the current code cycles were put in place for your locality.

I'd probably look for someone with knowledge in areas you are uncomfortable with. And beforehand, if you know anyone in any of the trades ( electrician/plumber/engineer ) that can take a looksee and point out potential issues, you can also have the inspector comment on them as well.

First house I bought I went with a realtor recommended inspector. While the realtor was honest with us looking at houses, the inspector, while we paid, is really more tied to the realtor in that the realtor will probably get him x more jobs a year while he would be lucky to get one more job in his lifetime from us. His inspection was cursory and he missed things that were obvious to me once I learned a little about home ownership ( like the washer drained into sump pit ... )

The one we got for our new(er) house I ended up picking from the phone book. I specifically looked for one not really endorsed by any realtor or real estate company. He sent us a checklist of what he does and does not look for. It's important to know what an inspector cannot do. We were there for the inspection and were welcomed to be there and ask questions. He was very thorough and pointed out many things not up to par ( nothing expensive or deal breaking ) I was most impressed that he has his daughter ( 12 - 13 maybe ) with him and was having her help and showing her the reasons for all the things he was doing. It showed he had patience with less knowledgeable people and was able to communicate using laymans terms when needed.


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Old 01-10-2014, 11:00 AM   #17
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OH MY GOSH, we've been warned to vacate our house because of rising flood water. The realtor or home inspector didn't mention that did they.

So before getting from your computer chair do a little research on the subject for that residence. It may save you time and a whole bunch of aggravation.
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Old 01-10-2014, 11:03 AM   #18
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While finding a good inspector is important, it's important for YOU to know that even the best inspectors can't see through walls, etc. Something is always going to get missed. That might be a little something. It might be a big something. But, it's always something. That's just how old homes are. They need care and feeding constantly, and being "done" never happens. You have to be accepting of that fact 100%. You will need have to have funding in place and a contingency plan to handle that something when it arises. Especially long distance. Who will be handling the maintenance and repair of the property until you move to the area? That's who I would start with for someone to look at the home now.
Do it right from the beginning if you only want to do the job once. It'll be cheaper in the long term.
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Old 01-10-2014, 12:27 PM   #19
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Exactly..NOBODY can see through walls. In Ontario home Inspectors are not allowed to take off service panels.

And Realtors are not allowed to give referrals to home inspectors or bankers unless they give no less then 3 names for each industry. Just keeping it fair

The very best source of info on a home are the neighbours...if you've got the nerve to go a knockin
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Old 01-18-2014, 02:19 AM   #20
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As well as experience- I would look at credentials, and what their "licensing" actually means.

I am going for my HI license (mandatory licensing here) and so have been taking courses at night for the last year and a half. Once I am done the academic part I will have to do a certain number of mentoring hours.

In other areas, a home inspectors course may be a couple days, opposed to 150-200 hours for a more thorough training program. So just because someone belongs to an association, don't assume it means a lot-it may or may not.

I agree with the experience part, along with schooling-look for someone who has been in the trades or in the industry in another capacity for a number of years. I belive that while the schooling is good, it only goes so far- If an inspector comes from some field that is completely unrelated, they are less likely to be as able as someone who has first hand knowledge of the methods and materials used in construction, and will know what to look for in houses of a certain age.

Also agree with finding someone who actually gets in there and inspects- goes up to if not onto the roof, into the crawlspace, attic, with a flashlight. Lifts the cover off the sump and has a look, etc.

With realtor referred inspections, I would be cautious. I am sure there are those out there who have your best interests in mind and will refer an unbiased inspector. However the opposite does happen as well. Best to hire someone independent who tends to work for buyers, sellers, banks, lawyers, etc.

Last edited by chrisBC; 01-18-2014 at 02:22 AM.
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Old 01-18-2014, 06:28 AM   #21
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Call your insurance company....find out if there have been any claims on the property.

The insurance companies keep a shared pool of claims info.

I found out after the fact that the PO of the house we bought filed a water damage claim on the shower in the bathroom....never disclosed the damage....I ended up having to gut the entire bathroom floor....lesson learned.
Even if you are on the right track, you will still get run over if you just sit there.

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Old 01-19-2014, 06:06 PM   #22
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I have had experience with a couple of home inspectors. One was pretty worthless and the other was not too bad. Both missed things though.
The good inspector was recommended by my Realtor but was pretty much on my side. His attitude was that his job was to find stuff wrong with the house.
Unfortunately, there is no home inspector degree so knowledge and experience is all over the map. Best to talk to the inspector a bit about experience first.
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Old 01-19-2014, 06:53 PM   #23
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Keep in mind that a home inspection is for the purchaser and does not include building code requirements, but they do have to point out fire and safety issues, point out problems requiring a specialist, aging materials and systems and items that me need to be invested in for the future. - In other words, it is a cheap look at a home for the person to use(usually to get a better price), since the person paying for the report uses and discloses it as desired. If the realtor is provided with a copy he/she is required to divulge the information to other purchasers (but rarely done).

I did inspections, but the $350 or so for a pre-purchase inspection was not worth it considering the time, tools, scheduling, report preparation, insurance and liability, so got out.

I would not bother with an inspector unless he had at least 200-300 inspections and was state certified.

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Old 01-19-2014, 10:49 PM   #24
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I am helping a friend buy a house. It was funny because he mentioned the street name and I could tell him all about houses in that area. Things that were probably bad. You would think an inspector would know a city well enough that he could say right off the bat, do not buy in that area. He has two young kids so he can not move into an area that will take 15 years to turn around.
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Old 01-20-2014, 06:37 AM   #25
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I don't feel it is an inspectors job to tell you what neighborhood you should live in.
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Old 01-20-2014, 07:19 AM   #26
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Yep, the inspector should be reporting structural and mechanical issues with the house. Possibly an inspector could know about neighborhood issues like water table and soil type since that could affect basement water issues. Being shown a house in a bad neighborhood is a realtor problem.


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