Hey Jason. We're not that far from each other so my info should be fairly relevant. Aside from the homes that I've had "Home Inspections" on, I work for a Realtor and do work off of inspection reports all the time. It's pretty much my bread and butter.
One good thing is that because the market is a little depressed, you should be able to get a home inspection done for somewhere between $350 and $400. A year and a half ago you would have paid upwards of $500. The last one that I did work on cost the buyer $350.
As far as the detail, that's their job. That's why you're hiring them, to find the details, even the tiny, tiny ones. Most buyers use the Home Inspecters report to help negotiate the selling price. On a house that I just finished working on (Friday), there was everything from three rafters that had broken and partly fallen down to the back porch having a handrail on only one side of the steps. The steps and the railing were perfectly fine, just not up to code. (This would be something that would normally be very minor to the buyer.) Down in the basement, there were a couple of junction boxes that were perfectly fine, including the wiring, but they didn't have a cover. I"ve even seen a cracked (not broken) light switch cover listed on a HI report.
They won't report on the condition of the carpet but they will report on the condition of the floor, if you understand what I'm saying. If there is a hump or a dip (they are very good at seeing even slight things like this), it could be indicative of a possible problem or simply that some work/repair was done previously.
Some work really needs to be done i.e., structural, life safety, etc. Some work will be a nuisance i.e., the need for a door sweep or a sticky window or sliding door track or a missing cabinet handle. And some work is merely cosmetic i.e., peeling wallpaper (yuk) or bad carpet.
You will also have a termite/pest inspection done. While some or most of the Hi report will show work that MAY be done, the pest report will have work that SHOULD be done and work that NEEDS to be done. There are "Section 1" items and "Section 2" items. The Section 2 items should be done and the Section 1 items NEED to be done. Section 1 items will include any dryrot areas and any termite damage. Sometimes the section 2 work is negotiated in the price but even on homes sold "AS IS" the section 1 items get done.
Your Real Estate Agent should be familiar with the Home Inspection companies in your area. You can also look up the biggest Real Estate company in your area and get a recommendation from them.
Hope this helps. Let me know if you'd like to talk further.
EDIT: I'm going to have to respectfully disagree with Jesse about following the Hi around. While hanging out at the house while the inspection is being done MAY be okay, crawling around up in the attic space where you may accidentally put a foot through the ceiling is NOT a good idea. Also, if the family is still living in the house there is a privacy thing that should be respected IMO. If the house isn't occupied then, ask the inspector and follow his admonishments. Some are okay with it and some aren't. Like Jesse says, a person can start to get on their nerves with too much questioning. JMO
Last edited by Mark Rios; 10-01-2007 at 01:03 AM.
My diet is working good. I'm down to needing just one chair now.
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