The last time you had a home inspection; did you thank your home inspector? If not, you really should.
Buying a home is a stressful experience, we all know that. Driving around for hours upon hours looking at homes, dealing with unrealistic sellers who think their home is worth more than it really is. Stacks upon stacks of paperwork to sign, credit reports to be pulled, financial statements scrutinized etc. etc. etc. Yep we’ve all been there, done that and bought the t-shirt.
After your agonizing search, you finally find the home of your dreams. It has everything you are looking for. The land, the square footage, the bedrooms, the granite bench tops, fireplace etc. Now it’s time to call in the home inspector to make sure the home of your dreams is really the home you think it is.
You will typically get a list of 3 home inspectors from your real estate agent, although in reality, there are FAR more home inspectors to choose from. You are smart enough to know that you should never just accept your agents recommendations without fully investigating them first. You are also smart enough to know that you should never choose a home inspector based on price alone because you always get what you pay for. You know to practice your due diligence. You research them online, with the BBB and Angie’s List, you call around asking friends or family for a good recommendation until you finally find the home inspector you are comfortable with, and you make the call to schedule your home inspection.
Most people do not understand home inspections or how they work mainly because people feel that the only time they really need a home inspector is when they are buying a home. (which could not be further from the truth, but we’ll have to address that in another blog). There are some who believe that home inspectors are a joke or that they get paid too much money for what they do. Most of these ill feelings come from people who have been burned in the past because they did not practice their due diligence to begin with.
Home inspection is a very unique industry indeed, filled with mainly hard working owner operators of their own businesses. Home inspectors come in all shapes and sizes and have varying degrees of competency. Truth is, there is really only one thing that all home inspectors have in common and that is the danger we all face every day.
Danger? You say laughing to yourself. How in the world can a home inspection be dangerous? Well, let’s just take a look. I have outlined just a few of the everyday dangers home inspectors face below. Please keep in mind this is not a complete list, but should give you a general idea.
Asbestos – A known carcinogen that releases fibers into the air. When inhaled, the fibers embed into the lungs and can cause Mesothelioma (Cancer). Typically found in older homes 1800-1983. All home inspectors are exposed to Asbestos at varying times in their career. Adelaide has THOUSANDS of homes that still contain Asbestos.
Mold – Widely known for its adverse health effects when inhaled. Mold spores cause a wide array of health issues from upper respiratory illnesses to brain damage. Can be found in ANY home. Mold is VERY prevalent in Indiana. If the home has mold and there is a home inspector inspecting that home, he is exposed to it.
Lead Based Paint - According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are large numbers of households that contain Lead Based Paint. The dust created from peeling/flaking Lead Based Paint is particularly dangerous. 1 to 5 micrograms of dust is enough to poison someone and cause irreversible damage. The most common issue found in poisoned individuals is brain damage. Home inspectors are exposed to Lead Based Paint quite often and sometimes even bring the dust home with them on their shoes which can also harm their family. Typically found in homes built prior to 1978. Adelaide hundreds of homes that still contain Lead Based Paint.
Insulation – Fibers from insulation become airborne when disturbed such as when walking in attics, something home inspectors routinely do. Once airborne, the fibers can become lodged inside the lungs and cause a wide array of upper respiratory problems over time. Home inspectors are exposed to this risk every single day. Found in EVERY home.
Animals – This one should go without saying. Dogs, possums, mice, rats, bird lice, even snakes and the odd stray cats pose issues to home inspectors. Typically found in crawlspaces, animals can carry all kinds of diseases and rabies. Most animals do not like the thought of feeling cornered in a crawlspace and will become violent if they feel they are threatened. Can be found anywhere at any time. Found by home inspectors quite regularly.
Squatters – Typically found on the odd occasion when inspecting vacant, foreclosed homes for investors or those home buyers who think they are getting a deal by buying one of these properties. Squatters, like most , can and will become violent if they feel they are being threatened in any way. There have been many cases of violence against home inspectors by squatters throughout the country. What you don’t read the news? Can happen in ANY vacant or foreclosed home.
Fleas – Some people live very dirty and many have pets who are not exactly “well groomed”. Home inspectors have to inspect dirty homes too. A dirty home coupled with dirty pets is the perfect storm for fleas. Flea bites are not at all uncommon for a home inspector. Can be found in ANY home.
Venomous snakes and spiders - Again this should go without saying. There are many venomous insects and snakes in Adelaide homes. Insects are small and can be on a home inspector for several minutes before he even notices especially when in the ceiling/roof or under a raised home. Typically found in crawlspaces and can be found in ANY home.
Shards of rusted metal or broken glass – Typically found in crawlspaces under raised homes and around houses and sheds. These dangers are usually left behind by contractors who don’t like to pick up after themselves. It is not at all uncommon to find abandoned rusted out duct work, broken glass bottles, nails etc. laying around on the crawlspace ground. Makes crawling around them even more hazardous than they already are to begin with. Can be found in ANY home.
Carbon Monoxide – Colorless and odorless. Often called the silent killer. Carbon Monoxide is a very real threat to home inspectors as we are required to inspect ducts on gas heating, etc. and are usually inside a home for at least 1 hour. CO gas can come from the furnace in the form of a cracked heat exchanger or damaged/rusted flue but can also come from ANY gas fired appliance. Can be found in ANY home especially when inspecting the roof space.
Electrocution – In this day and age of the DIY handyman, home inspectors routinely run across electrical work that was performed by someone other than a licensed electrician. Uncapped live wires, frayed wiring, open junction boxes, improperly wired outlets etc. all can pose an immediate danger to the home inspector inspecting those items. Can be found in ANY home (and typically is).
Burns – Hot water heater flues, hot water pipe pose a danger to home inspectors, particularly when located in confined areas or by roof accesses. Can be found in ALL homes.
Waterborne diseases - Waterborne diseases are caused by pathogenic microorganisms in water. Contaminated well water is the most common culprit along with stagnated sump pit water or even standing water in basements or crawlspaces. All pose a significant risk to the home inspector as he goes about his daily job. Can be found in ANY home.
Hantavirus – Home inspectors can easily become infected with Hantaviruses through contact with rodent urine, saliva, or feces found in roof space and most commonly in crawlspaces. This is a very real danger to home inspectors and can be fatal. Can be found in ANY home.
Falling off ladders, roofs or though ceilings – As home inspectors, we climb ladders, we walk in ceiling/roof spaces and sometimes upon unstable decks. All of which pose a real danger and can put any home inspector into early retirement. Can happen in ANY home.
Driving – Yes, home inspectors have to drive to the home to inspect it. This also includes driving in undesirable conditions. We are like the post office. Rain, sleet or snow, you know the saying. We drive in heat, storms, and hail storms, severe thunderstorms. You name it, we have to drive through it EVERYDAY to get to your potential new home inspected.
As you can see from the list above, there really are many dangers that home inspectors face on a daily basis. Fact is, we never know what we are going to be in for until we get to the home. Some are nice and clean with little to no danger while others pose numerous and significant risks that put our lives in danger.
So the next time you have a home inspection, instead of doubting or scrutinizing the inspector, instead of thinking that the inspector is making too much money, instead of thinking you are completely wasting your money and your time, just stop for a moment and remember this blog. Take a second, reach out your hand to the inspector and thank him. Thank him for risking his life to inspect your potential new home and making sure that it is a good solid investment with no huge or unexpected repair cost and safe for both you and your family. When using Independent Property Inspections you will know exactly what requires repair or maintenance at the time of the building inspection.
For more information visit www.independentpropertyinspectionssa.com