Ask Wes (Frequently Asked Home Inspection Questions)


Written by:
Wes Kelley, Certified Inspector
7 Oaks Home Inspection, LLC

WHY CAN’T MY UNCLE JOHNNY, WHO IS A CARPENTER, DO OUR HOME INSPECTION AND SAVE US THE MONEY?
Rick & Mary S. from St. Charles, Mo.

Good question! I was on e-Bay last night and saw a little paper back, “Do-it-Yourself Home Inspection Guide” for $3.00. The deal was, buy the book and use this to go through the house. There you go – you’ve inspected your own house and it only cost you $3.00 plus shipping and handling. Sounds better than finding money in a sack! Have you ever needed to go to a Chiropractor but first let your biggest kid try walking on your back or twist you around on the floor? I have. So now the jigs up and you’ve just figured out I’m a real person! Hey, we’re all Americans and we all chase the green stuff trying to save as much as possible. Let me give you some good back ground information about home inspection options so you can make a well informed decision.

A Professional Home Inspection should give you the knowledge and peace of mind from an impartial third party about the present condition of that home and possible future repairs. You should walk away from that inspection well equipped to do one of three things: go to the closing with confidence and “yes Lord, this was from you,” or two: go to the bargaining table with ammunition for renegotiation of price or three: head out to find a different one with a very thankful heart you found out, “this wasn’t the one!” In all cases, the Professional Home Inspection was worth the small cost.

The inspection fee for a typical one family house varies with in the Greater St. Louis market area depending on the size of the home, particular features of the house, its age and possible additional services such as septic, well, termite and radon testing. However, do not let cost be a factor in deciding whether or not to have a Professional Home Inspection or in the selection of your home inspector. The knowledge gained from a good quality inspection is well worth the cost,. The lowest priced inspector is not necessarily the one with the best qualifications, experience, and training.

What about Uncle Johnny? A lot can be said for experience in the construction field. I used to have a saying, “I know houses – I can build ‘em, I can repair ‘em and I can tear ‘em apart.” Years of experience in many areas brought a fantastic base of knowledge. Construction is a very broad field covering areas from foundation to roof and many systems including plumbing, electrical, heating and cooling. Some carpenters are not “well rounded” and may know only one specific area. I have known carpenters who have worked for years building sub floors on track homes. That experience is good but wouldn’t help them out a lot when it comes to heating and air or plumbing systems. Let’s be really clear – an inspector is trained differently than a carpenter.

Suppose your Uncle is well experienced in all areas of construction. Let’s suppose you find a place on the net to buy the forms you need for a complete and thorough inspection. Let’s also suppose that you buy the equipment he needs for testing and evaluating major home systems. Let’s suppose you all agree on the time and schedule your two to three hour inspection. Will you as a couple leave feeling confident that you know what you need about this homes current condition? Some people think a home inspection is just about finding “the hidden stuff.” There’s plenty of that out there, for sure. A really good home inspection should also leave you with lots of positives. You should see things you hadn’t noticed before and gain understanding from inside to outside that will help you appreciate this home. What if, Lord forbid, your Uncle misses something. How will that affect your extended family? Remember the goal is to get an “independent, neutral person ’ – for a reason! Come Thanksgiving and Uncle Johnny’s setting across the table you may have a hard time swallowing down pumpkin pie when you think about the broken trusses he missed that cost you a bundle. Just want you to think this through. There is a cost to everything. There’s a reason most people choose Professional Home Inspectors over e-bay do-it-yourselfers or Uncle Johnny’s.

The percentage of folks opting to purchase a home inspection has gone from 40% to over 90% in just the past few years. Most Realtors now quickly advise all buyers to choose an inspector and some offer lists of inspectors you can choose from. What’s the best way to find an inspector? The best remedy is to become a well informed consumer and listen to your satisfied friends and business acquaintances. Since there are no licensing requirements in Missouri it’s good to make sure the inspector is both certified and part of an organization that has a nationally recognized standards list and code of ethics. I’m really pleased you’re planning to get a home inspection on your next home purchase. That’s smart thinking. As for Uncle Johnny – I hope this information helps you with that decision and may you have many years of family peace.

Have a question you’d like to ask Wes? Be sure to email him at wes@7OaksHomeInspection.com and he will answer it as well as post it here for our site visitors to see.

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