Do I need a home inspection?

That depends. If you are a professional builder, civil engineer architect or building inspector, maybe not. If your home is under construction, being built by a good, reputable builder and being inspected by city or county code enforcement guys, again. Maybe not. But if none of these apply, you should consider having a good building pro have a look inside and out to see what we’re getting ourselves into.

What does a home inspection cost?

The cost breaks down like this: (UPDATE: I’m now using a fee schedule suggested by the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors. NACHI. This accounts for significant factors like age, area, distance, etc. So, use the figures below as a base and add a little bit for older homes, ones that are far from North Myrtle Beach, have crawlspaces, you know, the stuff that makes it harder for your inspector.)

(I had to look up the Approximately symbol. For Mac nerds, it’s option+X. )

  • Condos≈ $249
  • Townhouses≈ $299
  • Homes, Mobile Homes under 3000 SF≈ $349
  • Large or complex homes (complex or eccentric HVAC, for example)≈ $449
  • Miscellaneous Consultation Services≈ $75/hour 

The inspection fee is due on the day of the inspection. Making the fee a part of the closing is not recommended, a conflict of interest can result and nobody needs that.

Who arranges the appointment?

I do! Once we’ve been in touch and we’ve agreed to proceed, I’ll contact the listing agent and we’ll figure the rest out from there. Once an appointment is set, I’ll let you know in an email.

Can I, or should I, be present?

You certainly can be, if you like. Be advised, though, that if you do come along, you are very likely to be put to work, opening windows, using a plug tester, flushing and wiggling toilets. If you’d like to avoid this awful fate, give me an hour or two’s head start. By then, most of the heavy lifting, so to speak, will be done already. At that time, we can do a leisurely walk around to discuss things I ran into.

If you can’t be there, I’ll shoot you some video. I find that to be an effective way to communicate the details of the particular issues, the possible remedies and how important a given thing is in the grand scheme of things. I’ll also give you a quick tour of the place to give you a sense of where we stand as a whole.

WIll you check the irrigation?

Lawn sprinkler systems are not included in the Standard Home Inspection. That said, I do have a look at them and try to get them to run in manual mode. Once I see a zone start spitting water, I return the system to its original state and call it nominally operational. A full test would involve observing coverage, identifying each head and its effectiveness… Way more than we have time for. If you’re going to have a sprinkler system, chances are you need a sprinkler guy. Or woman. Or learn how to do it yourself.

WIll you check smoke detectors?

Smoke detectors are recommended on each level of single family dwellings, both inside and outside of all sleeping rooms. Consider installing smoke detectors in older homes for an inexpensive safely upgrade, if they are not present inside sleeping rooms and out. If there are any in the kitchen, consider removing them. False alarms are like the little boy who cried wolf. 

Will you check all the electrical plugs?

I’ll check a large number of plugs. I’ll try to check them all, but a few are bound to be overlooked, are out of reach, behind a sofa, etc. I use a plug tester that lets us know that the voltage is more or less right, the polarity is good and that there is grounding present. GFCI function will be checked too, where it is recommended.

Will you climb on the roof?

I’ll do that if it seems necessary. Or if it seems safe enough. Or if I’m pretty sure I won’t damage anything in walking on it. If it’s way up in the air, three stories or so, nope. If it’s raining, probably not. Generally speaking, the real condition of the roof can be ascertained from below. The first indication of a leak is discolored ceiling panels.

When wil I get my report?

You will often get an email from me, with links to the written and video reports within hours of the inspection. Morning inspection clients will get their reports by the close of business that very day. Afternoon clients might get their reports that day as well. Sometimes, the next morning. ALWAYS within 24 hours.

Links? Why not just attach the reports?

Most email clients just can’t handle attachments over a certain size and my files tend to be very large. I’ll send you a link to them. You can just click the link in the email and download them to your local drive. Or view them in your browser. This makes sharing the report with your agent and the listing agent a breeze. Lately, I’ve figured out that my software creates unnecessarily large PDF files. I reduce them using a utility before sending them out. These can be attached as well as linked.

Are you going to find every problem?

Nope. Nobody sees everything. See this article about the gorilla in the room. It explains things better than I can. I will be careful, diligent and curious. I promise to pay attention and to give your home or condo a very thorough going over, focusing on things defects that could be costly or dangerous. I’ll also try to give you some perspective on what matters most. Loose toilet? That can be a big deal. Loose toilet seat? Not so much.

© David Livingston 2017