Buyers, especially first time buyers have so many questions about property condition when first looking at a home. I work with Alliance Inspections all the time and asked the owner Robert some key questions buyers often have.
1. What don’t you check during a home inspection?
To answer this question thoroughly, I would need at least a page or two, so I will just hit the highlights. Probably the most applicable part of the California Real Estate Inspection Association standards of practice is this section: ‘Systems or components of a building, or portions thereof, which are not readily accessible, not permanently installed, or not inspected due to circumstances beyond the control of the Inspector or which the Client has agreed or specified are not to be inspected” For example, refrigerators and washers or dryers are not considered “permanently installed.”
On appliances, we only do a cursory inspection (for example, we check only one setting or cycle), so we can’t know whether the system will work on every setting. Also, we are not doing components that require a specialist, such as termites, pests or mold. In most cases, the irrigation is not visible and they are on timers that the inspector should not disrupt, so these are not inspected either. If the system requires specific equipment to inspect, the inspector would not inspect that area either, like the chimney or the sewer line that requires a special camera and scope.
More information can be found at CREIA.org.
2. When seeing a home for the first time, what would be the things to look for as red flags?
An unkept lawn, trees not maintained or little curb appeal is almost always indicative of a poorly maintained home inside as well.
3. We live in earthquake country. Would you say getting a foundation inspection is always necessary when buying a home?
No, not always. Very often, a general inspector can provide enough information to render a specialist unnecessary.
4. What would be a deal breaker for you if you were purchasing a home in terms of what you find during an inspection.
Any house with geological issues that require significant retrofitting or repairs to stabilize the structure, adding caissons or slab jacking. Other issues would be environmental hazards, such as power lines.or noise pollution, such as from nearby a freeway. Mold, radon and asbestos aren’t concerns for me since those can be abated and remediated.
5. What is the craziest or most bizarre thing you have discovered during an inspection?
A bobcat was in the crawl space. I aimed my flashlight and saw glowing eyes and a cat-like shape, except much bigger than a house cat. Needless to say, I backed out of the crawl space in record time. I later learned the homeowners had been feeding the bobcat and left the hatch open so the cat had a safe space.