Valentina Ga…, Real Estate Pro in Sea Girt, NJ

home inspections

Asked by Valentina Gabela, Sea Girt, NJ Tue Dec 21, 2010

Home Inspections are all very different. Each inspection I go on I learn something new and must prepare in different ways. For eg. If there is a detached structure on the property make sure you have keys don't always assume the owner left them. Also buying near the water sometimes need to adhere to hurricane codes etc. so you must look for different things.

Here is my questions
Does any inspector have a full check list on what to expect and how to prepare for an inspection so you don't run into anything that could delay or prevent a full inspection. Sort of a handbook for the Client as well as the agent. In my area I run into so many different terrains being close to beach, river, hilly, sandy, rocky etc.. there are sometimes things I missed.


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Inspectors won't do this for fear of insulting the realtor. After all realtors are our #1 source of referrals and the last thing we want to do is tick you off by implying you don't know what you're doing.

In a nutshell request the seller:

- provide keys for accessing all areas / buildings
- clear access to all attic and crawlspace scuttle hatches
- clear access to the appliances (furnace, boiler, water heater, etc.)
- clear access to the the electrical panel. The inspector should be removing the cover
- empty the dishwasher, clothes washer and dryer so they can be run through a short cycle
- have as many utilities on as possible
- provide the ages or install dates of the roof, siding, seawall, furnace, water heater, etc.
- provide a cell phone number for questions or to relay concerns (like the sump pump is out and the pit is full)

The inspector should do the rest and inform the client about the conditions of the property, house and out buildings.

I agree with some of the others that replied too. I hate inspectors who find fault with something and automatically request it be evaluated further by a professional - that's why they hired a PROFESSIONAL home inspector. If the roof is missing a few shingles I write it up and suggest they be repaired, not that the entire roof needs to be certified. I also document the furnace operated by the use of normal controls (the thermostat) and if there is any indication that it has been repaired or received an annual "clean & check". I only recommend further evaluation if it has obvious defects, otherwise I recommend a home warranty for peace of mind.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 21, 2010
I have been doing this a long time, and have had very good luck with 99% of the home inspectors in terms of thoroughness. However, the inspector is working for the buyer, and I try to stay out of the way and let her/him do their job. If I feel something is being overlooked, I will privately discuss with my buyer client and let them deal with the inspector.

If I am representing the seller, I am strictly observing and have a duty to the seller. So if I think the inspector is missing something, I cannot get involved in my view.

This can be a tricky area...just need to remember to whom we have a fiduciary relationship.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 21, 2010
Valentina this question is best posted in agent to agent but I will comment anyway..
There are many inspectors with different firms. From what I have seen they vary greatly (some always show up a half hour early to look for nearest fire hydrants as well as other exterior on and off site conditions. (insurance companies will often want to know this) Some will remind agents that utilities must all be on as well as specifics like closing windows for radon test. Some firms have licensed engineers on staff who can comment upon structural concerns others do not. Some have in house mold testing lead paint testing,...Some firms will have a different company check for termites etc. In short they vary greatly. Ask around your office, at your local realtor nite outs etc to be able to get references. I am glad you attend your inspections. I see many agents who will not attend for fear they may learn something.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 21, 2010
not to my knowledge. It's my belief that for liability reasons we are not to get too involved with the inspection. We are there to answer questions, bring obvious latent defects to the inspector and wait out the length of time it takes to comlplete.
Web Reference:
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 21, 2010
Many of the home inspections I see are multiple pages of topics or questions and the answers are filled out during the inspection. What I hate are the inspectors that cause more questions than they answer. Reading in a report that there are shingles missing mean a roofer is needed and more times than I can recall the roofer gets on the roof and reports no shingles missing. Some reports I read HVAC looks old and may soon need replacing. Or HVAC looks old, I suggest contacting a HVAC contractor to inspect or that they could not inspect the tool and hot tub and suggest we contact a pool contractor. My latest problems have been with inspectors with moisture meters and there total inability to read and use them correctly. Being mostly oceanfront homes in my market this comes up more and more.

Sorry to vent!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 21, 2010
You always should use a Licensed Home Inspector and one that is a member of ASHI....the
American Society of Home Inspectors. People think that a license is enough, but I find the ASHI seal is what sets him apart. Also, a home inspector that is a Structural Engineer is a plus because if there are any structural issues, he can find them without the homeowner contracting a structural engineer after the inspection to inspect for structural issues. He's all in one!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 6, 2012
Yes it is important to obtain as much information as possible from a variety of sources.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 27, 2012
As a licensed home inspector with 18 years experience I have to address the issue of ASHI membership being a guiding principle in selecting a qualified home inspector. There are many member organizations for inspectors, such as NACHI and InteNACHI, NJ ALPHI, NAPI, NAHI, etc, etc. Each of the groups are advocates for their members. They facilitate continuing education and adherence to standards. They are ALL subordinate to the licensing requirements of the individual state in which the inspector resides. None of these groups makes an inspector any better than another. It is like going to company X and picking out an employee, thinking you have the best in the field because company X has the most recognized name. There are neophytes and minimally educated members in any and all groups, just as there are the highest qualified, most experienced and most educated members in any and all groups.

When I began my career in 1993, I took the Texas state license exam, which was the only licensed state at the time. That was required by NAHI, the group I was a member of at the time. I have since been a member of NACH and ALPHI. ASHI has obviously done a great job of promoting its members. However, picking an inspector only from that group is short sighted. I never joined ASHI for a variety of reasons. I have a master degree college education that includes studies in engineering and biology and have done well over 7500 inspections of all types of properties. Do you think I am unqualified if I am not a member of ASHI?

Joe Serino
J Serino Inspections
Avon, NJ
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 24, 2011
Hi Valentina:

Check with inspectors associated with:

Good luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 19, 2011
Hi, Valentina -
I am a licensed NJ inspector of 18 years. There are minimum standards of practice set by the NJ State Board of Engineers. As with any minimum standards, they are followed by many inspectors because it is a way of reducing their liability. For example, only one window and wall outlet per room is required to be inspected or tested. Appliances are not included. Any mechanical systems not already on do not have to be operated, meaning the utilities need to be on, the pilots on gas burners need to be on, water and electrical needs to be on. Access should be cleared in front of entry areas to the doors, basements, crawl space, electrical panel, water heater and furnace. Basements and garages should be clean of unnecessary clutter and as accessible along perimeter walls as possible.

A home inspection is a visual observation and report of the readily accessible and main components of a property. The report should be objective and unbiased and literally be the same whether a buyer or a seller orders it from the inspector. Inspectors can't see inside walls, but knowledge and experience create an intuition that can save hundreds and thousands of dollars of wasted followup opinions and tests. That is what you should be paying for.

I hope that helps. I am a sole proprietor with over 7500 inspections in my career. I have studies in engineering, biology and graduate level critical thinking - all credentials beyond the minimum standard.

Joe Serino
J Serino Inspections
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 19, 2011
After 20+ years in this business I could write a book about home inspections. Once I had a home inspector open an attic hatch and a basket full of tennis balls fell on his head. One home inspector insisted that a gas furnace was an electric heat pump. Another inspector drilled through an electrical wire when putting the cover back on the electrical panel - sparks flew everywhere!! One turned light switches on and off and stated the inspection was "complete." Oh and I love the inspectors that ask ME what I want written on the report - WHAT!?!? When I get my home inspectors license I'll let you know......CRAZY!!!

Client's get what they pay for. I think the most important thing is for the Buyer(s) to attend the inspection, to ask all the questions they have about potential issues and proper maintenance of the home.

I think the 911 Inspectors check list is great!

Karen Evertsen
RE/MAX Greater Princeton
Princeton, NJ 08540
Office: 609-951-8600
Cell: 609-658-8934 < best way to reach me
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 12, 2011
Be sure to use a STATE LICENSED home inspector for best results. Any good home inspector will be happy to share his check-list with you. Shop around for price too. Ask your REALTOR (hopefully representing YOU as a Buyers Agent) who his or her top-three inspectors are - that shold help. I am in North Carolina and always share this information with my Clients as it outlines what Inspections are - and are not. You may have to cut and paste this into your browser window.…

Be sure to check with YOUR STATE association - as requirememnt may vary. Hope this helps! Good Luck!

"Big Dan" Willard
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 12, 2011
Very helpful reminders from 911 Inspectors! I would add clear view of foundation walls as well. It is wise for us as listing agents to pass these reminders along to our sellers so that the inspector can do his/her job. Otherwise, it may lead to an incomplete report and/or the need to return to inspect areas that are not accessible. Preparation is always key to success - and it is true here as well.

Jeanne Feenick
Unwavering Commitment to Service
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 12, 2011
Very helpful reminders from 911 Inspectors!

Jeanne Feenick
Unwavering Commitment to Service
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 12, 2011
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