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Five Things About Home Inspections Your Buyers Might Not Know

I was asked to write an article for a popular speaker/writer's website about home inspections.  They gave me the topic, "Five Things About Home Inspections Your Buyers Might Not Know."  It published yesterday, so I thought I would share it with you too.  You have seen all of this before, just not together!

You can read the original article here, as published:  http://www.dalesiegel.com/blog-posts/five-things-about-home-inspections-you-may-not-be-aware-of.html

The invitation to contribute to her site was very appreciated!



The home inspection business is like every other business – it changes all the time. And it is getting better! There are always new tools, new techniques, and new things to consider. And the best home inspectors are more informed through continuing education.


But there are things about home inspections that most people may not be aware of or consider when they look for a home inspector. Here are a few reasons for hiring a home inspector:

1. All home inspections are not the same! And, like plumbers, math teachers, secretaries and dentists, all home inspectors are not the same! Most home inspectors are licensed and certified, by their associations and in most cases their states. And inspection associations require many annual hours of continuing education. But don’t be fooled, experience is everything! I have people sometimes cancel a home inspection because a friend or associate, “who used to be in construction” has consented to walking around the house to give it a “good” look see. Again, don’t be fooled! A good home inspection is thorough, comprehensive and usually computerized! It is not a walk through. It is far more than a “look see”.

jays school 1.1

For example, look at the photo of the front of a townhouse on a recent inspection. From across the street, looking at this view, I was able to point out a serious problem and how it was contributing to another more serious problem inside – even before we entered the house. The predicted problem was not only there, but more serious than we initially thought. Do you see what the contributing problem is?

2. New construction inspections! It’s a new house, why would it need an inspection? It doesn’t need only one, but two! To my clients I recommend two new construction inspections – a pre-drywall, and a final. Pre-drywall is the only time the house can be seen in its skeletal condition. It’s the only time we can see how things were put together, and how well put it is. And the final inspection is just that – the finished work.

in and out kitchen ventPeople ask me all the time if this or that is a good builder. The answer is that it depends on the supervisor who is on site every day and the subcontractors. Are they professionals? If not, beware.

This photo was taken after I discovered that the kitchen exhaust vent was never connected. The buyers were assured it would be installed that afternoon. Returning the next morning this is what I found! How does that look? Professional? Wouldn’t you feel proud opening that cabinet every day and looking at that as your vent fan? It’s not only appealing, but vents inside the cabinet!

3. One-year inspections! After a new house is purchased the builder will give a period of time to do repairs from a final list of things that come up while one lives in the house. This is often one year. Some things will only be discovered while living in the house. In particular, those things that were not done professionally but looked good at the time of the final walk through.

bryant front doorFor example, the wood door in the photo is very high quality. The house is a very expensive house. For that door to retain its beauty over time, the finish work must, absolutely must, be done properly. If not the panels will split and separate, the wood will deteriorate and the door will warp such that it does not seal the opening. The finish on this door was obviously not meant for outdoors. And remember, wood has six sides. On this one year inspection I found that the top was never sealed! If the top wasn’t, what do you bet that the bottom (hidden by weather stripping) was not sealed either? This is a poor, unprofessional job by any measure.

4.  Thermal imaging! Not all home inspectors have thermal cameras. They are expensive and the training is time consuming. But thermal cameras are fantastic tools. They can see light waves not detected by the human eye, and can measure temperatures. And, they see these temperature variances to within 1/10th of a degree Fahrenheit. The camera sees thousands of points of temperature and can put them together into an image.

The biggest complaint I hear is that some rooms are hot and others are cold. Why? Insulation installation! Insulation must be stapled to the studs. It has flaps there for stapling! Some installers say that the drywall will hold the insulation in place. It does not. Gravity works, especially when combined with the weight of condensation. How can I tell if insulation has slipped? With a thermal camera!

slipped insulation

Look at the thermal image here. Warm areas are represented by orange and yellow. The cooler areas are represented by blue and purple. Clearly in this cathedral ceiling the insulation was not stapled. It has fallen down, and in only one year! Catching this on a one-year inspection proved very beneficial to this client! This room, one of a few, was very hot and very cold. Well no wonder! With so much area devoid of insulation the hot or cold attic space would influence the whole room! The orange area on the wall you are looking at is 138° F. That will influence a room! Imagine the winter!

5. Inspections following remodeling! Any time you remodel, be absolutely sure the contractor applies for and is issued a permit for the work you want done. Any professional will do that. If the contractor says this or that remodel does not need a permit, call your local jurisdiction! Make sure! If the work you want done needs to be permitted, get a different contractor!jain 1

Look at this beautiful patio. As soon as I saw it I knew no permit was pulled. How? It was built covering the siding and butts up against the underside of the doors. Is that a problem? Yes, it invites termites.

The patio rises higher than the wood framing inside the house. It provides a dark, moist, temperature-controlled environment for termites. They do what they do. And in this house they did it really well, for almost 10 years. The damage was a real mess!

There are many reasons to consider hiring a professional, certified, experienced home inspector. A good inspector is certainly worth his fee, if not many times more! And call the one the local Realtors think is a bull dog. It will be well worth your time and money.

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560


Comment balloon 23 commentsJay Markanich • August 05 2011 05:22AM


Super post, Jay.  I recognize many of the picts.  It's nice to have it all in one place.  Congrats on being featured in this blog.  way to go.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) over 9 years ago

Great post Jay.  You have addressed these issues elsewhere, but altogether, they make for a very powerful presentation. Suggested

Posted by Anne M. Costello (Weidel Realtors) over 9 years ago

Wow, Debbie, I didn't know it was featured until reading this.  Thanks.  Of the millions of pictures I have taken, okay, maybe thousands, the most recent seem to stick out!

Anne - thanks.  Putting them together makes for more of a medley!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

Congratulations on being published. Thank you for sharing the great tips. I will share it with others.

Posted by Gita Bantwal, REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel (RE/MAX Centre Realtors) over 9 years ago

Thanks Gita.  This site usually publishes realtors who do posts about their local areas.  I was the first home inspector they have used.  Who knows, maybe the last!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

Great post!  I appreciate your thoughts.  This would be very useful information for buyers.  Many people never consider your points.  I even had a fellow suggest to me that he was just going to use his friend that worked construction in the summers when he was in college to check out his new home!  Thank you for a great thought provoking post!

Posted by Jennifer Wyatt, "Don't make a move without me!" (Keller Williams) over 9 years ago

A friend in college Jennifer?  Wow, like that guy's qualified!  People don't realize what home inspectors go through to maintain their certs!  That is a comment born of ignorance.  They need to get ejukated.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

Thanks for the post.  Look forward to more.

Posted by Carol Barron Cross, Sunflower Homes & Equestrian LLC (SUNFLOWER HOMES & EQUESTRIAN LLC) over 9 years ago

Thanks Carol.  I will be here all week!  Actually I have been here for a few years, but still, I will be here all week!

And next...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

Great post Jay....and a reminder to other inspectors where they may be missing business opportunities !

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) over 9 years ago

Hi Jay,

As home inspectors we often find that the consumer is not aware that an inspection should be done.

They rely on their contractor to be fair and honest.

In most cases they did not do a good job for what they were paid.

Great post.

Clint mckie

Posted by Clint Mckie, Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586 (Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections) over 9 years ago

Jay - I have a short list of experienced, qualified inspectors that I use; it is like any other professional relationship; do you switch attorneys/doctors/accountants on a whim?

Posted by Carol Zingone, Global Realtor in Jax Beach, FL - ABR, CRS, CIPS (Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Florida Network Realty) over 9 years ago

The opportunities are out there S&D, for the hustlers!  That's "hustler" in a good way...

Clint - thanks.  I think remodels and renovations should be inspected too.

Carol - no, you go with what you trust.  But consumers don't know from the outset where the trust should be placed, and sometimes all inspectors are equal.  Not...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

Good morning, Jay. There are a lot of things that folks do to desecrate their homes. They often feel that cheaper is better. Yeah, right...

Posted by Michael Thornton, Nashville Area - Photography & Videography (RadnorLake Video) over 9 years ago

Jay, I have recommended my clients not foundation inspection, predry wall and final inspection on new construction..many consumers think the builders built so many homes and they have warranty why you need the inspection..All great points

Posted by Ritu Desai, Virginia Realtor-Fairfax/Loudoun/PW-703-625-4949 (Samson Properties) over 9 years ago

Jay, have been absent for a bit...good to see you are still giving great inspections and posts. Thanks so much for sharing your insights.

Posted by Bill Saunders, Realtor®, www.BillSellsHotSprings.com (Meyers Realty) over 9 years ago

Michael - well, it might be!  But don't count on it...

Ritu - thanks!  All those are good inspections to recommend.

Bill - welcome back!  Glad you're still out there and thanks!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

Jay - Great points for potential buyers, many of whom just don't have a clue of the importance of a thorough and professional inspection.  

Posted by John Mulkey, Housing Guru (TheHousingGuru.com) over 9 years ago


Great article. Now I have thermal image envy all over again. It is a tool I will one day employ but just can not justify the expense at this time.

Posted by Donald Hester, NCW Home Inspections, LLC (NCW Home Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

Jay -- Keep up the great work -- maybe we will be able to get a few buyers ejumakated about the importance of inspections.

Posted by Steven Cook (No Longer Processing Mortgages.) over 9 years ago

I suppose not John, which is why I included these five things in the article.

Justify the expense Don?  Is making more money on what was spent a justification?  I bought my camera 8 years ago when it was almost $15K and broke even in a few months.  And by doing that then, I became the first, and best know, in the area.  That has paid additional dividends.

Steven - maybe one day!  And go with that ejumakashun thing too.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

I am so happy that your worked has been recognized and published. You are very informative and I love to read your articles ~ Jennifer the IHI Home Inspections Girl

Posted by Atlanta's Home Inspector, David Lelak IHI Home Inspections, Experience the IHI Difference (IHI Home Inspections 404-788-2581) over 9 years ago

Thanks Jennifer.  I don't know how they found me, but they did.  It was there topic, and I hope it came out well.  It appears to be well received.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

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