One of the first orders of business for any buyer upon going under contract is to hire a professional home inspector. For us to add an inspector to our list of preferred vendors, we have several criteria. We require their reports to be in narrative format, versus a simple checklist. Digital photos documenting each issue discovered during the inspection should be included next to that item. We expect inspectors to have appropriate carbon monoxide and moisture detection equipment, and we like to see them employ an infrared camera, which helps to determine the quality of insulation and weatherization. Click on the image above left to download our smartphone app, which includes several home inspectors.
We recommend to our buyers that they schedule the inspection well before the inspection objection deadline in the contract. We do this so that secondary inspections can be scheduled and the results obtained prior to the deadline. For example, the inspector may suspect the presence of mold and recommend a mold inspection. Inspections by electricians, plumbers, or structural engineers might also be recommended. Because these secondary inspections cannot always be completed quickly, an extension of the inspection objection deadline might be necessary, something most sellers consent to when well reasoned.
Buyers should also consider testing for radon and having the home’s sewer line “scoped.” Typical cost for each of these inspections is $100-$150. Radon, the presence of which can vary from neighborhood to neighborhood (and even house to house) is a naturally occurring gas that has been linked to lung cancer. Proper testing for radon requires 48 hours.
Sewer lines in older homes are often made of clay pipe and are prone to root intrusion and collapse. A sewer scope can usually be completed in an hour.