House Inspection Blog

House Inspection Blog

Why You Should Have A Moisture & Mould Inspection

Why You Should Have A Moisture & Mould Inspection

A lot of people are underestimating the damage water can cause to their home, or the extent of expensive repairs they may have to undertake down the line. Many also fail to realize how easily preventable these problems are if regular inspections and maintenance are carried out on the property.

Prolonged dampness can lead to indoor mould growth (fungal) and create a conducive environment for termites and timber pests. Mould exposure can also lead to severe human health effects, especially for people with asthma or a mould allergy

What can cause a high moisture reading?

There are several ways water and moisture can enter your home. If it’s a result of a persistent downpour, most commonly it will be seeping through the basement floor. Hence this is the first place you should inspect for moisture.

However, other common areas creating excess wetness and steam include the bathroom and the kitchen – showering and cooking frequently adds moisture to the air in your home.

Wet spaces in your home are particularly vulnerable to water damage and need to be regularly inspected for mould growth. You need to find the source of moisture, eliminate it and make sure you remove all the mould and mould spores.

In the bathroom, mould on wall sheeting, ceiling tiles and flooring may be caused by poor waterproofing or leaking taps, pipes or by fault of plumbing leaks. These issues can all cause significant water damage to cabinets and floors.

During an inspection, you should always pay specific attention to areas underneath shelving and inside cupboards as well as along the wall skirting. These are areas where signs of overflows or mould build-up from leaks can go unnoticed.

Untreated mould and dampness can damage wood in form of either stains or growths. In worse cases, it can contribute to more serious decay and cause irreversible damage to hardwood floors, window-frames, and other wooden fittings.

There are also causes that might not be so obvious to people. These include poor ventilation, inadequate insulation, contaminated air-conditioning system and poor building practices or low-quality building materials.

How to control & prevent moisture in your home

You should make it a habit to check for any presence of mould. You can do this by checking your roof for any roof leaks and the brickwork after wet and stormy weather. This will ensure water is not getting in through any new leaks. You should also regularly check on your ventilation throughout your home and possible sources of moisture.

Adequate ventilation is crucial in controlling humidity and in increasing indoor air quality. It might be as easy as letting out trapped moisture through opening a window or turning the fans or aircon on. This is especially important in wet rooms and during particularly hot and humid months. Investing in a good quality humidifier is also a good remedy for trapped moisture.

If water is in fact entering your home from the outside, you may have to spend some time on simple landscaping to prevent further damage. If the leak is extensive, you might have to hire someone to do some professional waterproofing.

For smaller issues, put a plastic cover over dirt in crawlspaces to prevent moisture from coming in from the ground.

When should you have a moisture reading and mould inspection?

At Dependable House Inspections, our qualified building inspectors always check for signs of elevated moisture during a building inspection.

Even though yearly inspections are highly recommended, there are other occasions where you might want to call in professionals between regular visits for peace of mind.

For example:

  • You had a mould issue in the past and are not sure it’s completely gone.
  • Your home has endured extra wet and story weather lately.
  • You recently bought a new home or thinking about buying a particular home.
  • To determine how “bad” the problem is.
  • You bought second-hand or antique furniture (often carries mould).
  • You are experiencing mould-related health symptoms like asthma attacks or skin irritation from contact with mould.

In case you find yourself in any of the above circumstances, get in touch with us and let’s see what we can help you with.

about dependable house inspections

Dependable House Inspections offers professional, comprehensive construction advice and reports on residential properties to ensure your complete peace of mind – whether you are purchasing, renovating or developing a property.

We will empower your negotiations and help you make the right property decision – with 30 years of building experience, we are working for you to ensure that you fully understand the complete picture when it comes to your new property.

Get in touch with us today to get your report prepared.

Alternatively, call us on 0800 337 373 for a quick response.

House Inspection Blog

What a Home Inspection Covers

What a Home Inspection Covers

Inspectors vary in experience, ability, and thoroughness, but a good inspector should examine certain home components and then produce a report covering their findings.

Property Pre-Purchase Inspection Report, Dependable House Inspection, Auckland House Inspection

The typical inspection lasts two to three hours, and you should be present for the inspection to get a firsthand explanation of the inspector’s findings and, if necessary, ask questions. Also, any problems the inspector uncovers will make more sense if you see them in person instead of relying solely on the snapshot photos in the report.

The inspector should note:

  • Whether each problem is a safety issue, major defect, or minor defect
  • Which items need replacement and which should be repaired or serviced
  • Items that are suitable for now but that should be closely monitored

An excellent inspector will even tell you about routine maintenance that should be performed, which can be a great help if you are a first-time homebuyer.

While it is impossible to list everything an inspector could check for, the following home inspection checklist for buyers should give you a general idea of what to expect.

Exterior Inspection

The inspector will complete a full inspection of the outside of the structure. This will include climbing into any crawlspaces under the home and using a ladder to reach and inspect the roof and other items.

Exterior walls

The inspector will check for damaged or missing siding, cracks, and whether the soil is in excessively close contact with the bottom of the house, which can invite wood-destroying insects. However, the pest inspector (yes, you might want to engage one of those too), not the home inspector, will check for actual damage from termites, etc. The inspector will let you know which problems are cosmetic and which could be more serious.


If the foundation is not visible, and it usually is not, the inspector will not be able to examine it directly. Still, they can check for secondary evidence of foundation issues, like cracks or settling.


The inspector will let you know whether the grading slopes away from the house as it should. If it doesn’t, water could get into the house and cause damage, and you will need to either change the slope of the yard or install a drainage system.

Garage or Carport

The inspector will test the garage door for proper opening and closing, check the garage framing if it is visible, and determine if it is properly ventilated (to prevent accidental carbon monoxide poisoning). If the water heater is in the garage, the inspector will make sure it is installed high enough off the ground to minimize the risk of explosion from gasoline fumes mingling with the heater’s flame.


The inspector will check for areas where roof damage or poor installation could allow water to enter the home, such as loose, missing, or improperly secured shingles and cracked or damaged mastic around vents. They will also check the condition of the gutters.

Home inspectors also do not specifically check for termite damage, mould, asbestos, or water contamination. If you are concerned about these issues, ask your inspector for a heads up if they suspect any of these problems.

Interior Inspection

The inspector will also complete a thorough inspection of the interior of the home. They will inspect everything from the ceiling to the cabinets under the sink.


The home inspector will check all faucets and showers, look for visible leaks and test the water pressure. They will also identify the kind of pipes the house has if any pipes are visible. The inspector may recommend a secondary inspection if the pipes are old to determine if or when they might need to be replaced and how much the work would cost. The inspector will also identify the location of the home’s main water shutoff valve.


The inspector will identify the kind of wiring the home has, test all the outlets, and make sure there are functional ground fault circuit interrupters (which can protect you from electrocution, electric shock, and electrical burns) installed in areas like the bathrooms, kitchen, garage and outdoors. They will also check your electrical panel for any safety issues and check your electrical outlets to ensure they do not present a fire hazard.

Water Heater

The home inspector will identify the age of the heater and determine if it is properly installed and secured. The inspector will also let you know what kind of condition it is in and give you a general idea of how many years it has left.

Kitchen Appliances

The inspector will sometimes check kitchen appliances that come with the home to make sure they work, but these are not always part of the inspection. If you think you’ll want to keep them, be sure to ask which ones are omitted so that you can test them yourself.

Laundry Room

The inspector will make sure the laundry room is properly vented. A poorly maintained dryer-exhaust system can be a serious fire hazard.


The inspector will check for visible leaks, properly secured toilets, adequate ventilation, and other issues. If the bathroom does not have a window or a ventilation fan, mould and mildew can become problems, and moisture can warp wood cabinets over time.

Not Covered in a Home Inspection

A home inspection can’t identify everything that might be wrong with the property; it only checks for visual cues to problems. For example, if the home’s doors do not close properly, or the floors are slanted, the foundation might have a crack, but if the crack can’t be seen without pulling up all the flooring in the house, a home inspector can’t tell you for sure if it’s there.

Some areas inspectors won’t look at include:

  • Inside walls (won’t cut open drywall or insulation)
  • Inside pipes or sewer lines
  • Inside chimneys
  • Behind electrical panels

Furthermore, most home inspectors are generalists—that is, they can tell you that the plumbing might have a problem, but then they will recommend that you hire an expert to verify the issue and give you an estimate of the cost to fix it. Of course, hiring additional inspectors will cost extra money.

Home inspectors also do not specifically check for termite damage, site contamination, mould, asbestos engineering problems, and other specialized problems. If they have reason to suspect, though, they’ll likely give you a heads up. Some inspectors offer radon testing as an add-on; some will recommend asbestos testing services if your home appears to be at risk.

The Bottom Line

A home inspection will cost you a little bit of time and money, but in the long run, you’ll be glad you did it. The inspection can reveal problems that you may be able to get the current owners to fix before moving in—or else prevent you from inadvertently buying a money pit.

If you are a first-time homebuyer, an inspection can give you a crash course in home maintenance and a checklist of items that need attention to make your home as safe and sound as possible.

Whatever the situation, addressing issues early through a home inspection can save you tens of thousands of dollars down the road.

about dependable house inspections

Dependable House Inspections offers professional, comprehensive construction advice and reports on residential properties to ensure your complete peace of mind – whether you are purchasing, renovating or developing a property.

We will empower your negotiations and help you make the right property decision – with 30 years of building experience, we are working for you to ensure that you fully understand the complete picture when it comes to your new property.

Get in touch with us today to get your report prepared.

Alternatively, call us on 0800 337 373 for a quick response.

House Inspection Blog

Mould in the home: how does it get to your house?

Mould in the home: how does it get to your house?

To a lot of people, the months of  June/July are the dampest and coldest in existence. When the time for winter comes nigh, there is usually intense moisture and humidity during that time, even indoors. The moisture could worsen into something like an outbreak of mould, which is something that a lot of people hate.

Having mould growing indoors is common and is said to happen a lot during the winter and autumn months.

When it comes to mould growth, nothing is left alone. Mould can grow in toys, books, clothes, as well as walls.

When this starts growing, it could destroy those things that you love, turning them into a musty and moist piece of garbage. This is something that we don’t like. Imagine your prized books turning into musty sadness; there is an excellent chance that you will feel like hitting your head on the wall. It’s that bad.

When the mould comes into your house, how dangerous would it be? Should you be scared about it? Should you want it to end or should you ignore its existence?

If mould can destroy our possessions, have you ever thought about how it could ruin your bodies? Will, it drains your body the same way it would harm your belongings?

What are the types of moulds?

There are different types of fungus, and moulds are one type of fungi. Moulds also come in various types and can be sited both outdoors and indoors. Moulds quickly transport themselves via the creation of spores. These spores can be seen in every indoor surrounding, which makes it near impossible to have them removed. These spores are harsh to the extent that they can survive even in the harshest of environments.

It is easy for moulds to survive in a warm and wet environment, and this is seen mostly in the winter period.

Immediately mould spores find their way to somewhere that’s wet, they start to blossom. They begin by digesting the material that they land on, and as they digest it, they grow on it.

Moulds are resistant to a lot of materials. Hence, they can quickly grow there. You can see them on wood, paper, and fabric.

The typical indoor moulds that one can see easily are:


This type of mould is seen in wet spots inside the home like showers, as well as below leaky sinks.


This kind of moulds can easily be seen inside the house. You will see this type on powdery food items, dust, as well as building objects like drywall.


This type of mould sprouts on cool places, and even those that are warm. You will see this type of wood and fabrics.


This type of mould is seen in any object that has been destroyed by water. You will see this having green or blue hue.

Moulds come in several textures and forms. You can see moulds in black, white, green, blue, or yellow. Sometimes, it may seem like a stain on your surface.

You can sometimes see them in fuzzy, velvety, as well as a rough appearance. Its appearance is based on the kind of mould, as well as the surface that it is sprouting on. The hue that it takes may make one feel that it is a stain.

How does mould come indoors?

When large damp spots occur, they form the right surrounding for the growth of mould. Things like leaks could cause these spots.

The mould spores are everywhere, but can’t see by your eyes. They get into your house via the air or are carried by people or items.

Article by Dependable House Inspections

House Inspection Blog

Why you need to make your home a smart home

Why you need to make your home a smart home

As every day goes by, technology is said to be improving. Better things find their way to the market, and these things are designed to make life easier for us.
Years back, smart homes would have been seen as something meant for only scenes in SciFi movies, but the trends have changed.
We can now have those things that were seen in only SciFi movies at your apartment. Making your home a smart home doesn’t have to take a lot of money or involve you spending a lot of effort and time. With the advancement of technology, this can be done quickly.
One reason it is advisable to turn your home into a smart one is to increase the worth of your home. The reason a home in one area has different worth with a similar home in the same area is because of how advanced or not that home is. Before a home is listed on the market, a home inspection firm or realtor comes and check the features it has, and that can affect the price.
It doesn’t matter if you have any intention to sell your home now or in the future, run some renovation projects, no matter how little it is. When you decide to sell, you will be grateful for it.
We will go ahead to discuss the benefits that accrue to those that decide to turn their home into a smart one. There are a lot of benefits that may accrue to you, and they are:
  • Efficiency:

Do you know that with just the touch of a button or the use of a mobile app, it is quite easy to operate several systems and gadgets?
With your smartphone, it is easy to turn on your cooling and heating functions. It is quite easy also to turn on or off your lights by merely using a click. Isn’t that cool? This is quite efficient and energy-saving too.
  • Convenience:

Turning your home into a smart one allows you to easily control a lot of electronic gadgets from anywhere you may be in the world. You don’t have to be at home before you can turn on or off your lights. You can easily monitor what is happening in your home, even if you are thousands of miles away. It is easy to have the shades of your home drawn even when you are at work. These and more can be comfortably done, no matter where you may be. Why then haven’t you turned your home into a smart one?

  • Comfort:

Living in a smart home allows life to be comfortable for you. Gone are those days when you had to move from one part of the house to the other to get things done. Let’s say; you want to turn on the heater, this can be done quickly in a smart home. You can merely use your smartphone to control it. Let’s say you want to clean your house. With your smartphone, you can manage your smart vacuum cleaner. In a smart home, you can carry out household chores, while you rest on your couch, without moving an inch.
Isn’t that great? Who won’t want to lie on a couch and get everything done?
  • Peace of Mind:

Turning your home into a smart home is a great way to give you the peace of mind that you crave for. We live in a world where security is an issue. You always have to see if your doors and windows are locked. You have to check if there is water spillage anywhere. All these can easily be done on your smart device.
With your smart device, it is quite easy to tell if you had shut the garage door without you moving an inch to check it physically. With your smartphone, you can quickly check. It is common to see people returning home to check if their garage door is locked.
  • Customization:

Having a smart home permits you to easily have electronic appliances the style that you wish them to be. You can customise your shades to the extent that it draws automatically whenever you want. You can have the level of brightness adjusted the way you want it. Every electronic that you have can be customised to your style.

Article by Dependable House Inspections

House Inspection Blog

House Inspection and Why it is Important

House Inspection and Why it is Important

There are different reasons why you may want to purchase a house; however, there are some vital parts to consider before purchasing the house. Most times, there are a lot of costs associated with purchasing the house that it can get really overwhelming, so much so that you begin to look for ways to reduce the costs. Regardless of the total cost at that moment, one cost that you should never do away with is the house inspection, because it is very important, and you will find out why.

  • Safety and Health Conditions

One of the most important needs a human has is staying safe and healthy, and with a house inspection, you can ascertain whether the house is safe for you or not. There are different tests that will be carried out, including carbon monoxide, mold, radon, and other tests that could pose a health hazard to occupants of the house. It is imperative that the contract allows for opting out of the purchase if hazards are detected.

  • Not Interested? Opt-Out

Perhaps you have carried out the house inspection, and you are not comfortable with the results, you have the opportunity to cancel the negotiation. This is a very important reason for carrying out a house inspection. The report from the inspection can reveal a lot of irregularities. If the irregularities will cost you so much to fix, then you have the choice to either go ahead with the purchase or opt out of it.

  • A Chance to Renegotiate

If you just buy a house without carrying out a house inspection, it could be really disheartening when you move in and discover you have to spend so much on repairs and fixes. However, when you carry out a house inspection prior to buying the house, you can renegotiate with the seller and either ask them to make the necessary repairs or ask that the price be reviewed. In this case, it is important to get your realtor involved; as they will help you better understand the renegotiation process and the requests that can be made.

  • Permits, Standards, and Codes

There are some houses that have illegal room additions and installations. The seller may not tell you about them because they want to get the property out of their hands as soon as possible. There are penalties attached to not having proper permits for additions and installations, and you do not want to have to deal with that. Hence, it is imperative to carry out a house inspection, as it will reveal whether there are irregularities that need to be dealt with or not.

We are well aware of the intricacies attached to house inspections, and that is why we offer a comprehensive house inspection service that will reveal everything you need to know about the house before making that purchase. Our comprehensive house inspection services include:

  • Roof space and structure
  • Borer detection
  • Foundations
  • Roof cladding
  • Exterior joinery
  • Insulation
  • Impending maintenance
  • Site items
  • Hot water system
  • Underhouse and Sub-Floor StructureMoisture / Leak Detection
  • Workmanship
  • Flooring
  • Spouting and Downpipes
  • Wall Cladding
  • Driveway
  • Plumbing and drainage
  • Accessory units
  • Decks
  • Pests

We want you to get the best service; hence, we are meticulous with our service delivery, as we pay attention to detail and ensure that we deliver our service professionally. Furthermore, we ensure that our reports are detailed, in order to help you make that important decision of purchasing the house or not. Do not hesitate to reach out to us, and we will be on hand to attend to you and your requests.

Article by Dependable House Inspections

House Inspection Blog

12 Tips for Getting the Most out of a Home Inspection

A proper home inspection is your best defense against buying a property that will be a home improvement nightmare. Use these 12 tips to get the most out of your home inspection

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Make sure you are present for the home inspection and be prepared to ask questions and point out specific problems you’d like to check out further. This will be the first time your home inspector has been at the property, so your knowledge of potential issues is invaluable.

Use Someone You Trust

Use Someone You Trust

Doing your homework to find your own home inspector can really give you peace of mind. While your realtor probably has a few inspectors that he or she can recommend, you should really find your own. An impartial, third-party home inspector won’t have any loyalty to your realtor and will be able to talk freely and frankly about potential issues. You may have to pay a little bit extra for a quality home inspector, but compared to the purchase price of a house, it’s well worth it.

Don't be Afraid to Ask Questions

Don’t be Afraid to Ask Questions

The reason you hired a home inspector is because this person has the necessary knowledge to evaluate whether or not this potential property has any issues that would make purchasing the home a bad decision. And you should respect your home inspector’s knowledge and time. However, if something doesn’t look right or you don’t understand what a home inspector is referring to, speak up. It’s better to ask a question now than have an issue arise after you’ve purchased the property.

Get Pictures for Proof

Get Pictures for Proof

Any home inspector worth using will bring a camera along on the inspection. The inspector will also be heading into places that you won’t want to go if you don’t have to (the roof, crawl space, under decks, the attic, etc.). Ask your inspector to photograph any potential issues that arise so you can see the issue for yourself and make sure you fully understand the problem.

Infrared and thermal cameras can give you and your inspector a look behind walls and floors that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to get without ripping out drywall or flooring. Because this technology is so accessible, your home inspector should use these pieces of equipment throughout the inspection (though some home inspectors may charge an additional fee for this service).


Do Your Own Pre-Inspection

Do Your Own Pre-Inspection

You can really learn a lot about a house just by looking at it. Make sure you do your own home inspection and note any possible issues. Look at walls and ceilings for any evidence of water damage (discolouration, stains, etc.). Try all the light switches and outlets you can to make sure the electrical layout makes sense. Peek at the electrical panel to see if there are any potential wiring issues (look for new wire, old wiring that isn’t hooked up, etc.). On the outside of the house, look for drainage issues, areas with peeling paint, around decks and porches, inspect the siding, etc. Going into your official inspection, you should have a good idea of things you’d like your inspector to pay extra attention to.

Pay Attention to the Roof

Pay Attention to the Roof

A home’s roof plays a huge role in keeping the interior in good shape. It’s also one of the most expensive and labour-intensive parts of a house to replace. Try to find out when the roof was last replaced, the age of the shingles and whether or not any warranty exists. Make sure your home inspector actually goes up on the roof during the inspection (unless it’s physically unsafe to do so)? there’s only so much you can see while standing on the ground. Keep eyes peeled for curling or missing shingles and pay special attention to anywhere there’s a chimney, vent or skylight to look for signs of water intrusion. You can also see signs of water issues in the attic if it’s accessible.

Look for Cosmetic Fixes

Look for Cosmetic Fixes

Freshly-painted walls and new floors are the often signs a homeowner cares about the home they’re selling. But sometimes these things can also be cosmetic cover-ups of underlying problems. Pay attention to any suspicious fixes — only part of a floor patched or repaired or only part of a wall is freshly painted? and ask your inspector to take a closer look.

Test GFCIs

Test GFCIs

GFCI outlets are part of the building code in rooms where moisture is present (kitchen, bathroom, laundry room, etc.). Your inspector will know how to test these outlets properly, and malfunctioning or non-working GFCI outlets could hint at bigger electrical problems.

Look in the Attic

Look in the Attic

A well-functioning attic is crucial to protecting a home. If your home inspector can get into the attic without trampling insulation, you can often learn a lot about the home and any renovations or repairs. One very common inspection red flag is improper venting of bathroom fans into the attic (and not extending the vent all the way through the roof). If your bathroom fan is venting directly into the attic, all it’s doing is sending moisture and humid air into the attic where it causes mould, rot or worse. It’s also not up to code. If possible, have your inspector check for attic air leaks. While you can fix these attic air leaks, an attic with air leaks could have potential issues with insulation, moisture, mould or worse.

Give the Plumbing a Try

Give the Plumbing a Try

Losing water pressure or dealing with a slow drain can be indicators of larger plumbing issues. Make sure bathtubs and shower pans are leak-tested. And have the home inspector inspect the water main and shutoff points (very useful knowledge if/when you take ownership of the property).

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House Inspection Blog

3 Reasons Home Inspections Kill Deals

It may be tempting to blame a faulty property or an overzealous home inspector when a transaction falls apart after inspection. But there’s more to this common situation than meets the eye.

If I were a real estate agent and I had worked for weeks, months, or even years with a client, I would dread home inspection time. Experienced real estate professionals know there are hundreds of ways a deal can fall apart, from credit and financing problems to appraisals to just plain cold feet. But certainly, one of the more common deal killers is the home inspection. But it doesn’t have to be. To help prevent home inspection time from becoming contract termination time, here are a few thoughts from the point of view of an experienced home inspector.

Houses and Home Inspectors Do Not Kill Deals

From my experience, there are three home inspection situations that lead to a cancelled transaction. You might be surprised to hear two things are not on this list: the house and the home inspector. Having spent more than a dozen years performing more than 5,000 structural home inspections, I have found that some real estate agents do think that the home or the home inspector is to blame, but let’s step back for a minute and look at what really happens in these situations.

When the findings uncovered in a home inspection significantly alter the buyer’s expectations about what they thought they were buying, this causes problems. You might hear something like, “Gee, I thought I was buying X, but now that we have looked closely, I see the house is more Y” from your client.

From this point of view, the cancellation has everything to do with the client’s expectations coming into the inspection. It might be tempting to wish the home inspector had been less forthcoming about the condition of the house, but that implies that the client should experience some level of deceit or poor communication from the home inspector. The better solution to this common problem is buyers having more realistic expectations before they sign the contract. This is why I wrote my book, The Confident House Hunter—to teach people skills that will help them look at houses and evaluate risk so they are more prepared to make an offer on the right house. Here are the top three reasons buyers cancel a deal after the inspection.

1. Buyers Are Unprepared

There are no classes in college or high school to teach people how houses work or where risk lies in a residential building. Even professional real estate agents have little or no training to help them understand how to look at houses and identify issues; most of these skills are learned on the job through the school of hard knocks. This problem has been exacerbated in recent years by a new generation of home buyers, many of whom who did not grow up working on their houses with their parents.

2. Buyers Have Higher Expectations

Adding another layer of complexity to modern homebuying is how much our assumptions about houses have changed. Most buyers now expect a level of luxury and comfort in a house that consumers could scarcely have imagined as recently as the 1960s. The result is that people are now buying more expensive and more complex homes, yet have less understanding of how they are built or how they work. And in markets enduring tight inventory conditions, your clients have less and less time for decision-making, as multiple offers and spontaneous action become the norm and increase the chances for buyer remorse.

3. Technology Has Dramatically Improved Reporting

Further complicating matters is the reality that home inspections have changed as well. It’s a relatively new industry, and over the past 15 years, I’ve watched computer-generated reports, digital cameras, and other new tools lead to rapid innovation. Today, upon hiring a quality home inspector, a buyer can expect to receive a 40- to 60-page report with dozens or even hundreds of high-resolution color photos, detailed diagrams, and links to additional information. The reality is, your clients have access to more information and receive more data about the home they are purchasing than ever before. However, they often lack the tools to help them digest all of the facts.

A New Motto for Buyers

The number one reason deals fall apart after a home inspection is that the findings significantly change what the home buyer thought they were buying. Many make the mistake blaming the home inspector or the house. That’s why I created a new motto for home buyers: “All houses have problems, but every house is a great house for the right person at the right price.”

I’ve inspected houses that I felt were teardowns, meaning the property would be costlier to fix than it was worth. Upon giving this information to one homebuilder client, he said, “Great! I was hoping to tear it down anyway.” I have inspected other houses that I thought should be torn down, but buyers wanted to renovate them anyway because they were in love with the cabin-like feel of the place and they had the resources to make their dream come true, even if it was not the most cost-effective approach. If an inspection on a teardown can go well, then really any inspection should be able to be successful, right? Looking at property from this point of view, we start to see that “bad houses” are extremely rare, even though unrealistic expectations on the part of buyers or sellers can make them seem like they are common.

I am always surprised when people read my inspection reports and comment something like, “Oh, you hated that house.” I do not hate houses. I am simply doing my best to document the condition of the property so the right person can buy it at what they believe is the right price. I love houses; it is unrealistic expectations that I don’t like.

Are Home Inspectors Sometimes Responsible for Killing Deals?

One of the hardest things for me to hear is the charge that home inspectors are killing deals. I do feel that the industry could do more to train inspectors on both technical and communications skills. In fact, communication training is particularly lacking in home inspection schools and continuing education courses. But I also feel that the real estate industry could do more to prepare agents to teach buyers a better way to look at the “bones” of houses. I am not aware of any requirements for new real estate agents to learn anything about houses to get a real estate license in my home state of Washington, and maybe that should change.

The truth is all houses pose some level of risk, and there are skills everyone can learn to help evaluate that risk and make appropriate offers on the right homes. A more transparent approach could help us all show up to the inspection armed with realistic expectations. This could save everyone a lot of time and heartache, resulting in happier clients, better referrals, and a lot less talk about home inspections killing deals.


Dylan Chalk

Home inspector Dylan Chalk is the author of The Confident House Hunter (Cedar Fort Press), a book to teach home buyers how to look at and understand houses. He is the owner of Seattle-based Orca Inspection Services LLC, and in 2017 he accepted the position of vice president of the American Society of Home Inspectors’ western Washington chapter.



House Inspection Blog

What to Expect From a Home Inspection

You’ve finally found what seems to be the perfect home. It’s got all your must-haves and some of your nice-to-haves, too. It looks like it’s in excellent condition, but merely looking like it’s in good condition is not enough when it comes to such a huge financial decision.

To make sure you’re not buying a money pit, you need a professional home inspection before you commit.

An inspection should uncover any potential issues so you have a complete picture of what you’re buying.

Finding a Home Inspector

Many first-time home buyers don’t realize that it’s their responsibility to hire a home inspector. Make sure you make your offer conditional upon inspection or get one done before you make a bid.

To find a home inspector, people often turn to recommendations from trusted friends and family members. Your broker might also have an inspector to recommend. While other people’s opinions are helpful, what’s paramount is that you hire someone who is qualified.

Some states require home inspectors to have certifications. For those that don’t, membership in organizations like the American Society of Home Inspectors can give you some assurance about an inspector’s professionalism.

What the Inspector Should Look At

During a home inspection, the inspector should thoroughly evaluate the physical structure of the home as well as critical internal systems. You should make sure the examination includes the following:

● Electrical system

● Plumbing system

● Heating and cooling systems

● Radon detection equipment, if applicable

● Walls, ceiling and flooring

● Windows and doors

● Roofing

● Foundation

● Basement

● Attic

● Insulation

While an inspection will give you an idea of a house’s overall condition, it might not uncover hidden problems such as pests, mould or asbestos. It also won’t turn up flaws in areas that are below ground or otherwise inaccessible to the inspector, like wells and septic tanks. To identify those types of problems, you’re going to need additional inspections.

What Should You Do During the Inspection?

You should make every effort to be present when the inspection is taking place. You can follow the inspector around the house and ask questions so you can learn more about your potential new home. If you can’t make it for the inspection, you should meet with the inspector to go over the report in detail.

If you have questions about potential issues or how to take care of parts of the home, feel free to ask the evaluator. Take care, however, not to get in the inspector’s way. Don’t start inspecting the home yourself, either. If you test a sink while the inspector is testing a shower, for example, you might alter the results.

It’s also important to remember that “an inspection is only a snapshot in time on the day of the inspection,” said John Bodrozic, a co-founder of HomeZada. So if you’re buying a house in the middle of summer, try to consider how the home might perform in different conditions, like the winter or fall.

A Home’s Report Card

Once the inspector completes an evaluation, you will receive a report with the inspector’s findings. Don’t be alarmed if you see a lot of deficiencies noted. Home inspections are detailed, so reports often include between 50 and 100 issues, most of which are relatively small.

The report should include information about how severe each listed problem is, plus estimates on how much it would cost to fix each problem. Ask the inspector for clarifications on this if necessary.

If the inspection finds more problems than you’re comfortable dealing with, you can choose to back out of the sale or try to negotiate to have the seller make the repairs or lower the price. If you’re satisfied with the condition of the home or the shape it will be in after the seller meets the arrangements of your negotiations, you can move into your new home with more peace of mind.

CreditHarriet Lee-Merrion
By Megan Wild
March 23, 2018