Unveiling Hidden Issues and Home Maintenance Benefits
I have written a few blog posts in the past year about the real estate market and the practice of waiving home inspections. While I understand buyer’s frustrations about the shortage of homes for sale and the heavy competition for the few homes that are available for sale, you should still seriously consider having your new home inspected after settlement. Waiving inspections does NOT change the condition of the home, there may be serious hidden issues, and a home inspection done by Batten to Beam Inspections. LLC will also have the benefit of providing you with a list of maintenance concerns. This list will enable you to plan and budget repairs over time as well as mitigate more serious problems that could result if ignored. Recently I did two townhome inspections after settlement for two new homeowners, with drastically different results.
Tale of Two Townhome Inspections: A Day of Surprises
Both inspections were done on the same day, and both were young professional couples, the dad of one contacted me and wanted the inspection done and was paying for the inspection, his kids were not initially concerned about their 30-year-old townhome, but he wanted to be sure. The other townhome was originally built in the late 1800’s and had several major remodels and additions without any permit history and the couple was nervous about what might be found during the inspection.
The first inspection that day was the older home, it had a dug-out basement (originally a crawlspace) and an addition with a crawlspace that looked to have been added in the early 1900s as it was done with a stacked stone foundation. The attic had been converted into a conditioned loft space and the home was originally wired with Knob and Tube electrical conductors. I arrived expecting I may have my work cut out for me as homes of this age often have a fairly long list of overlooked upgrades and amateur repairs that would need to be documented.
It did not take me long to realize after the first walk around the exterior and through the interior that the home was in good condition for its age and it would prove to be a pretty smooth inspection. There were a few inexpensive plumbing and electrical repair needs, a drainage recommendation outside, and a handful of different maintenance issues. The only significant issue was the age of the HVAC system which was working, but approaching the end of its typical life expectancy. The new homeowners were relieved and we wrapped up talking about how to choose contractors for a few remodeling plans they had.
It’s a good day when I am heading to an afternoon inspection after one that went relatively smoothly, and when I pulled up to the townhome it looked like the rest of the day would be fairly smooth as well. The front exterior was clean with no visible issues, the roof was not new, but I didn’t see any visible damage. I like to walk around the property and look carefully at adjoining townhomes as sometimes there are issues with the neighboring property that could be affecting the property I am inspecting. There were some moisture and algae stains on the north-facing exterior stucco walls, not an unexpected occurrence as there was also a large tree shading the area. Exterior walls that do not receive enough sunlight often exhibit algae growth and I made a note of the appearance and location for further reference while turning on a comment in the report about stucco cleaning and maintenance.
When I entered the homeowner was on a Zoom call with work, I motioned that I would be in the basement for a while. The basement usually takes a while, there is equipment to document and test, the foundation and structural components that need to be inspected as well as a thorough inspection for termites when a WDI inspection is required. In this case, I found a corner of the basement ceiling with moisture damage and some mold, there was a downspout and window well that might be the culprit and made a note to check outside.
The new homeowner was off his call and asked me if I found anything significant, to which I replied “There is some moisture damage and mold in the basement” I told him I wanted to look closely outside near that location for water intrusion, to which he asked me if I had been upstairs yet. I went upstairs and found a second-floor bedroom wall open. That morning, the homeowner had pulled back the carpet to replace it and found a large moisture stain that was damp at the baseboard molding, the drywall wall was damp and he proceeded to open up the wall to see what was happening, inside the wall he found the reason why waiving stucco inspections is a very bad idea. The OSB sheathing was rotten away as well as the wall sill plates and some vertical studs. The insulation had mold in it and the damage was likely affecting the first floor or I would not have found damage in the basement. The hood e owner was looking at about $40,000 – $50,000 for mold remediation and repairing the wall structure and new stucco.
Importance of Early Home Inspections
If the homeowner had hired a home inspector when the offer was accepted they would have known about the issue and would have understood the financial considerations and either try to negotiate with the seller or walk away from the deal without losing their earnest deposit. Neither the buyer nor their agent had any inkling that there were issues of this impact when they looked at the home, the risk you take when you waive your home inspection rights.
Choosing Batten to Beam for your successful inspection
Hiring Batten To Beam Inspections, LLC, can prevent you from making the same mistake my client made, even if he had only ordered a home inspection, there were issues that would have pointed me in the direction of insisting that a stucco inspection was necessary while explaining the risks if he did not. I know this market is frustrating for buyers, but please, do yourself a favor and have a home inspection done, it protects you from potential financial heartache. Contact me today to explore the full range of services we offer. Serving Newtown Square, West Chester, Phoenixville, and surrounding areas, we’re committed to delivering inspections that empower you to make informed decisions about your home. Trust in Batten to Beam for inspections that go beyond the surface.