Home Inspection
Information From
Alban Home
Inspection Service
January 2002
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From the desk of . . .
     Arthur S. Lazerow

Inspection Preparation

Occasionally I observe truly awful client representation
by a Realtor. For instance,
this past Fall a Buyer-
Broker flat out refused to negotiate an issue
on behalf of his client with the Seller. Mostly, however, I see effective and highly professional representation by the many Realtors with whom I work.
One exclusive buyer-broker has a terrific idea
relating to home inspections and I asked permission to pass it along. After several years as a Buyer-Broker, this Realtor realized Sellers had no idea how to prepare their home for the inspection. She wrote an advice page which is attached with every sales contract. The attachment offers these suggestions:
1. Have all utilities on and appliances operational.
2. Clear all areas around the furnace, boiler,
water heater, and electric panel box for easy access.
3. Make crawl space hatch or attic entrance
areas accessible.
4. Secure pets and turn off security systems.
5. Make all interior rooms accessible and unlock
any outside building, such as a garage or shed. At least leave keys.
6. If a radon test is scheduled, EPA protocol
requires all doors and window to be closed for the previous 12 hours, with doors used for ingress and egress only. 
Wouldn’t home inspections be easier if every house
was ready, as suggested.

Ten Most Common Observations Found During an Inspection
Every home inspection is a different experience and results in a different set of observations and recommendations. However many surveys have shown common problems and issues. Here is a quick review of the most common problems found by home inspectors.
Armed with this information, you can
now give constructive input to your client BEFORE the home is listed!
1. Improper Surface Grading/Drainage— this tops the list and is responsible for a diversity of other problems, including water in the basement.
2. Improper Electrical Wiring
—Shocked? This includes insufficient electrical service to the home, inadequate overload protection, and unprofessional wiring connections.
3. Roof Damage —
old shingles, improper flashing, too many layers.
4. Heating Systems —
broken or
malfunctioning operation controls, blocked chimneys or unsafe exhaust
disposals all cause a cold front in operations.

5. Poor Overall Maintenance — these are easy to detect, and include cracked, peeling or dirty paint, chipped masonry and broken appliances.
6. Structurally Related Problems
—these are important and often overlooked. Foundation walls, floor joists, rafters and headers should all be examined carefully.
7. Plumbing —
check for the existence of old or incompatible piping materials, faulty fixtures and waste lines.
8. Exteriors —
windows, doors and wall surfaces can allow in water and air, but rarely have structural significance.
9. Poor Ventilation —
older homes are often "over-sealed", causing excessive interior moisture, rotting and premature failure of structural and other elements.
10. Miscellaneous —
interior components, often cosmetic in nature.

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