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Home Inspections Importance with Joseph McCulley of A1-Inspections

By Joseph McNully

Please tell us a little bit about your business.

A-1 Inspections, LLC -offers comprehensive residential and commercial inspections primarily in the Oklahoma City metro area. Our slogan is "Providing peace of mind one inspection at a time". We want to provide an unbiased report of the entire home and all its systems to our clients so they have all the information they need to make good decisions and purchase the home. The majority of our inspections are for those who are looking at purchasing a home and want to know about the home they are considering. However, we also offer inspections for those who want to sell their homes and who need to see what kind of shape the home is in and find out what they can repair prior to the home going on the market.

Why do you believe it's important for homeowners to inspect their homes?

A home inspection is so important one should make the inspection of the home a condition of the purchase. If a home inspection comes back clean, then one can proceed with the sale with real confidence. However, if the report comes back less than clean, then one can reduce their offer, request the seller pay for necessary repairs, or even back out of the contract altogether.

As a seller, a pre sale home inspection is a wise way to head off potential problems and a way to evaluate their home. It can save the seller a lot of money in the long run by giving them an opportunity to find issues and make necessary repairs and improvements to as many things as possible. It will also give them a reference point by which to compare the results of the buyer's home inspection.

Unlike an appraiser, who typically works for the lender, the inspector will be working for you. The inspector will spend more time than an appraiser looking for deficiencies. A home appraisal is conducted to get an estimate of the property's value as it relates to the loan or mortgage insurance. It won't give you a detailed list of defects or explain hidden problems. The acceptance of an appraisal report by a lender is no guarantee that the dwelling is free from serious defects. A good inspection will tell you about every aspect of the home that is being inspected. It will include an evaluation of the condition of the home's heating, central air conditioning, plumbing, electrical systems, roof, attic, floors, foundation and structure. Mold, water damage, termite damage and safety related items are some of the problems inspectors typically check.

An inspection should be comprehensive and describe findings in detail in a written report. A comprehensive inspection will look at the entire house, top to bottom, inside and out. The inspection will include the following: Roof, Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning, Basements, Crawl Spaces Foundations, Attics, Interior, Exterior and Electrical Systems.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Federal Housing Administration (FHA) both agree that a home inspection is so important that they have a form titled "For Your Protection: Get a Home Inspection". The form states, "A home inspection gives the buyer more detailed information than an appraisal--information you need to make a wise decision. In a home inspection, a qualified inspector takes an in-depth, unbiased look at your potential new home to: · evaluate the physical condition: structure, construction, and mechanical systems · identify items that need to be repaired or replaced · estimate the remaining useful life of the major systems, equipment, structure, and finishes" (Form HUD-92564-CN).

Many real estate and financial professionals also agree on the importance of the home inspections. Below are a few examples:

"Home inspections are an indispensable part of the home-buying process. Buying without one is the same as buying a car without even kicking the tires. Any good real estate agent will recommend you include a home inspection clause when you make an offer on a house" Why Smart Homebuyers Hire Home Inspectors, Dave Ramsey.

"The house inspection is one of your most powerful buying tools." Before You Buy! Michael Corbet, Host of NBC's Extras -Mansions and Millionaires, p.209.

"A smart seller will arrange for an inspection prior to showing the house to identify any latent defects that might kill a deal with a buyer." How to Sell a House Fast in a Slow Real Estate Market, William Bronchick and Ray Cooper, p.14.

"...instead of waiting for a the buyer's home inspection to turn up problems, sellers should get one themselves before listing, says Tony Geraci, broker/owner of Century 21 Home Star." Don't Let Your House Sale Fall Through, Wall Street Journal by Amy Hook.

How often do you think homeowners should inspect their homes?

I suppose in one sense one should be constantly "inspecting" their home. For example, every time one opens a window, locks their doors at night, flips a light switch, or turns on a faucet they should make a note of whether it is safe, broken or working as intended. If it is unsafe then it should be taken care of immediately. However, if something is broken or not working as intended then one can take care of it at a later date. I try to keep my home and all its components in good working order and not let my list of items needing repairs to get long.

If you are speaking of more formal inspections, then I think that all depends. If you have experienced a significant storm with high winds and hail then it would be wise to take a look at the roof, siding, gutters, windows and A/C unit for damage. If you have recently had a new roof installed, then it would be good to look at the flues for a gas hot water heater flue and a gas furnace to ensure they are still connected properly. I would also recommend one walk around their home once a year and look at it carefully. They should note if the trees limbs are getting close contacting the roof and trim them back if they are. They should look to see if there has been any settling. Finally they could check the caulking around the doors and windows.

What are the 3 problems that usually go unnoticed, that are a quick fix for homeowners?

Perhaps the biggest one I see is that there is a lot of deteriorated caulk around windows and doors. People don't seem to notice it or think about it, but that is a quick and cheap fix that most anyone can do themselves and make a big difference in their utility bills and their comfort level.

Another one I see often is tree limbs contacting the roof. I love a good shade tree, but one needs to monitor the growth of the branches and limbs. They can do a lot of damage to a roof.

A third item that I see quite often issues at the A/C condenser. The fins should be clean but they are often dirty from dryer lint, cottonwood seeds and lawn mowing, etc. Obviously, dirty fins makes the unit work harder and less efficiently so it is important to keep them clean.

What is the best way for people to get in contact with you?

I can be reached by various methods: phone (405-626-0132), fax (888-506-0510), email (A1InspetionsOK@gmail.com), or through my website ( www.A1InspectionsOK.com).

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