Home Inspections For Selling Your Home 2019-03-05

Podcast Transcription

[light-hearted music]

Brian: Welcome to House Fluent Inspections Radio, where we help you enjoy stress-free home buying, home selling, and home ownership. I’m your host, Brian Botch, owner of House Fluent Inspections. I’m joined today by Bill Beck. We’re both licensed, professional inspectors here in the state of Texas, and we regularly inspect homes of all shapes and sizes. So, Bill, I was recently asked about pre-listing inspections and thought maybe we should do a show on that. But, before we start, I was reading some articles this weekend that made me think of you.

Bill: That’s… this should be interesting.

Brian: Yeah, it was an interesting article, for sure. So, up in Buffalo, New York, there was a man. And he’s, from all accounts, a stand-up citizen, but got into a little argument with his neighbor. And, as arguments want to do, it sort of escalated over time, to the point where he decided he needed to resolve the argument in a rather unique way.

Bill: And, why did this make you think of me?

Brian: Well…

Bill: I love my neighbors.

Brian: Yeah, so it made me think of you only due to the uniqueness of the situation. So, he decided to go ahead and open up the old garage there and rolled out the perfectly engineered civil war cannon.

Bill: Well, this is going to go well.

Brian: Yeah. So, for eight days, he sat there, pointed the cannon at his neighbor’s house, and just… Boom!

Bill: Wow.

Brian: Yeah. [laughs]

Bill: Wow.

Brian: It got somebody’s attention.

Bill: I would be it got a lot of people’s attention.

Brian: On the eighth day, the cops showed up and arrested him.

Bill: Eighth day?

Brian: Eighth day. Eight days of shooting blanks, essentially, at his neighbor.

Bill: How in the world did that take eight days? You would think… you can’t unload a .22 in the back of your yard to take out a squirrel without them coming to your house. How in the world are you going to shoot a cannon off?

Brian: Yeah…

Bill: Not that I’ve done that.

Brian: Eight days of cannon fodder.

Bill: Wow. Well, that would, um, why do I see a moving coming out about that? And somehow it’s going to involve Christmas decorating and too many lights.

Brian: Yeah. Yeah, it’s entirely possible. But, I thought that was pretty funny, it reminded me of you, you know, just…

Bill: Yes.

Brian: I know you like, sort of, these crazy stories like this. So, I thought it was pretty funny.

Bill: Yes, I do, I love… I have a Civil War cannon in my garage right now. So, I’m ready to go.

Brian: Well, you can tow it behind Porsche.

Bill: Your dog’s barking? I’m going to shoot my cannon off. [both laugh] Well, that’s fun. Well, good times, what are we going to talk about today.

Brian: Well, we’re going to talk about pre-listing inspections. Before we start, though, I found an article by HGTV, you know those guys?

Bill: Mm-hm.

Brian: And, they were talking about getting your home ready for spring. And I thought, hey, we’re right there on the cusp. Spring’s coming next week, pretty much. So I thought I would just run down this Top 10 list for you. And we could talk about it a little bit. So, number 10 on their list of things to do to get your house ready for spring, examine your shingles.

Bill: That’s a good idea.

Brian: Yeah, this is not the kind that come out after the chicken pox.

Bill: [laughs] Those would be easier to examine, but yes.

Brian: Yeah, so, examining shingles is, you know, that’s something you and I do pretty much every day. But, how would the average homeowner go about taking a look at their shingles, making sure they don’t have any roof leaks before the spring rains hit?

Bill: I mean, other than having us doing an annual inspection or something along those lines, well there’s a lot of ways you can do it. I mean, you can just get a ladder up to the drippage of you roof and look from there. You can use binoculars. You can use a drone, if your kids have one. There’s lots of ways to do it. But, most of it you can just stand back and kind of look, basically, at the roof and see if there’s any shingles missing or any of them that have come off. That would be the easiest thing to do.

Brian: What are some things besides missing shingles folks should look for, do you think?

Bill: Make sure your flashings are all intact, they haven’t come loose. Gutters, downspouts. Those are easy things to see if they’re working properly, if they’re attached.

Brian: The big one that I see a lot after the winter is the flashing around the chimney. That seems to take a real beating with snow and ice, if you’re in that climate, or a lot of the heavy rains we get here.

Bill: Yeah, also the siding, you see the siding coming loose a lot on chimneys or even up on the sides of the houses where the siding has broken loose and a good strong wind is going to take it right off the house. You see that a lot.

Brian: Yeah. Alright, the next one on their list is to probe your wood trim.

Bill: Probe your wood trim, um…

Brian: So, what they’re talking about here is taking a screwdriver or some other instrument, going around, checking the bottoms of your porch posts, looking at things like that. So, the way that works is, if you take something hard like a screwdriver and you kind of jab it into the wood, if it’s real soft, it will sink into the wood. That may indicate there’s some wood deterioration, wood rot, something like that that you may want to look at for replacement.

Bill: In most of those cases, I think you’d kind of see some evidence of it before you go just jabbing a screwdriver into everything on your house. You’ll see the paint flaking away. You’ll have an idea there might be an issue before you just start randomly stabbing your house.

Brian: Yeah, definitely don’t walk around your house with a screwdriver just putting random holes in it.

Bill: Try your neighbor’s house first, because his house is probably about the same age. Go for that first and then break out the cannon, but…

Brian: [laughs] I was gonna say, it might cause your neighbor to roll the cannon out.

Bill: Yeah, what are you doing to my house? I’m probing your wood.

Brian: Alright, the next one is checking the gutters, which might be where you find yourself after you probe your wood.


Bill: Yeah, gutters are pretty easy to look at. If your house hasn’t been reroofed lately with new gutters, if you still have the original ones, they tend to take a beating too. Sometimes they replace your roof without replacing your gutters, which, they take a beating while they replace your roof.

Brian: Yeah.

Bill: Especially the older ones. They’re filled with a lot of leaves and debris and mass, the…

Brian: Asphalt?

Bill: Asphalt. Yeah. You see a lot of that. They get heavy and they start coming loose and just the wind and the weather we have around here.

Brian: Yeah.

Bill: They take a beating. Even you just took a stick or something and kind of pushed on them to see if they’re coming loose without getting up there.

Brian: What are your thoughts on gutter caps and gutter shields and things like that?

Bill: [sighs] I have mixed emotions on those.

Brian: Yeah, I do too. We have them on our house. There are times when I love them and there times where I’m fighting getting twigs and sticks and things out of them.

Bill: The majority of the ones I see, especially if they’re close to a valley or something where there’s a lot of leaves, or if you have trees… I understand that’s the whole point of them, to keep the leaves out of your gutters, but unfortunately it just covers them over these grills instead.

Brian: Yeah, it tends to clog on top.

Bill: Yeah, and they get mildew and molded, and the wood is always wet.

Brian: Yeah.

Bill: Not really mildew and molded, but they keep the water from getting into the gutters.

Brian: Yeah.

Bill: And, I imagine, if you live in an area where there’s snow and stuff, now you’ve got a frozen problem with that.

Brian: The other thing with gutters that we see a lot, coming out of the winter, are joints that are rusting and beginning to leak a little bit. Where two pieces of guttering come together, especially where it makes a corner, we’ll start to see that seem, it’s typically welded, we’ll start to see that rusting and you’ll start getting water dripping through. That’s sort of the beginning of the end for that section of gutter a lot of times.

Bill: You see that a lot more on the older houses, because most of the newer houses have either aluminum or they don’t rust anymore. But, you see that on a lot of the older houses where they had the actual steel gutters that are rusted solid that are falling off the house.

Brian: So, the next one kind of goes along with that. The next one is to check for low areas around your foundation in your yard and to fill those with soil that you can compact so it doesn’t wash away. I guess I have couple things to say about that. Number one, when you see the low areas around your foundation, that normally has to do with your gutters in the first place. And where that water’s discharging, how fast it’s discharging. Things like that.

Bill: You see that a lot on houses that have a pretty good slope to the foundation, too, where they’ve done that for drainage, but there’s not a lot soil supporting the foundation. And on top of that, if they don’t have gutters, it washes it away even quicker. If you can see a lot of your foundation exposed, it needs more soil supporting it.

Brian: Kelly, you gotta turn your mic on.

KELLY: Let’s try again.

Brian: Hey, we can hear!

Bill: Hey! There’s Kelly.

Brian: Kelly’s back!

Bill: Kelly’s here.

KELLY: Wonderful.

Brian: Way to go, guy behind the glass.

Bill: He’s our amazing producer.

KELLY: Yeah, there’s a little bit of glass here. Um, splash blocks.

Brian: Yeah, what about them?

KELLY: What are your thoughts on splash blocks? Effective? Not effective?

Brian: Don’t put them in backwards.

KELLY: What is backwards?

Brian: Yes.

Bill: The way everybody puts them in.

Brian: The way everybody puts them in.

Bill: And I have reversed mine to the correct way, and I put them right back because they drove me crazy.

Brian: Yeah, it does drive you crazy.

Bill: It drove me nuts. And then, technically the lip side of it is supposed to be down so that the water’s more dispersed instead of flowing at a higher rate. Unfortunately, they retain water, and the water’s always sitting in them, which bugs me. And then they’re a nice mosquito paradise.

Brian: That’s right.

Bill: And so, I put mine back the other way and just dealt with the erosion instead. That’s not the proper way to do it, though, for all of you out there.

Brian: No, it’s definitely not. But that is how most people do it.

Bill: I’ve never seen a new house with them installed the correct way. They’re always installed…

Brian: Um, I have, but it’s rare.

Bill: Very rare.

Brian: You don’t see it that often.

Bill: I think the whole point of the splash block is that is exactly what they’re supposed to do is splashing.

Brian: Yeah, they are. Alright, kind of getting us back on track a bit, I had a little bit of a technical difficulty there. I guess, what I was starting to say about the going around and checking for low areas around your house is, if you’re having to put soil around your foundation every year before spring, there’s another problem. That’s usually the symptom, not necessarily the disease, right? And so, it almost always has to do, Bill, with what you said. Either there’s no gutters or the downspouts are discharging, it’s almost always at a corner, and they’re just dumping water all over the corner of the property and it’s just completely eroding underneath the corner.

Bill: And how long would that downspout be in those areas?

Brian: About three inches long.

Bill: And how long should it be?

Brian: And normally, not only are they three inches long, normally they’re about six inches off the ground.

Bill: Right.

Brian: So you’re just getting this big pile of water dumping right there.

Bill: And I get why nobody wants a five-foot extension on their downspout due to the fact that you’re going to step on it, trip over, mow over it. It doesn’t look good. But that is the reason that they’re supposed to be that long is to get the water away from your foundation.

Brian: Yeah. And people don’t know this, some people know it, obviously, but in general, people don’t realize you can actually buy these really cool downspout extensions that roll up. And you don’t have to go out there every time it rains and roll them and unroll them. They actually have a built-in mechanism to where, when the water comes down the downspout, they unroll. And then, when the water stops flowing, they roll back up. They’re out of the way.

Bill: Is that like the hose they sell in the infomercials?

Brian: Yeah, the FlexHose? The Pocket hose?

Bill: Those are awesome. They just coil right up!

Brian: Yeah, it’s like the pocket hose.

Bill: Those are amazing.

Brian: Yeah, they’re great.

Bill: I don’t have one, but they look amazing. But I do watch the informercial almost every time. Because it’s amazing

Brian: Maybe you can put it on the end of your Civil War cannon.

Bill: But wait, you can get three more for free.

Brian: But wait, there’s more.

KELLY: Order now and get a free slap job.

Bill: And a Ginsu knife.

Brian: Alright, getting us back on track. The next thing on the list is to examine your chimney. We talked about that a little bit already. Bill, you look at a lot more chimneys than I do. What are some of the typical things you see after a hard winter?

Bill: Rust. Leaves piled up. Actually, not a lot of leaves, those are usually from the year before. Siding deterioration. Siding that’s too close to the roof shingles that’s weeping in water. Paint’s coming off. Mostly they’re just not maintained. Most people don’t want to go up on their roof and risk their life and maintain their chimney. But, that is probably the number one area on the roof that takes the most abuse. Just with temperature changes and the fact that it’s sticking up in the air and it’s going to take the most wind and weather and hail and all the things that we get here.

Brian: Yeah, I’m always amazed, after the winter, how many loose spark arrestors and chimney caps and things we find.

Bill: Or gone, completely.

Brian: Yeah, completely gone.

Bill: It’s also how things get into your house. You see it, probably, more siding deterioration, mortar deterioration on chimneys than anywhere else on your house.

Brian: Yeah, one of my all-time favorites, I think I might have talked about this before, but I was up on a roof and somebody had taken one of those big, round, giant paving stones and set it on top of the spark arrestor to hold the chimney cap on.

Bill: There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s totally legal. But it worked.

Brian: But, I mean, it kept the wind from blowing it away.

Bill: Yeah, I had to do that to a friend’s house on his back porch the other day because the wind blew it off and his wife handed me up some flagstone from the ground so I could put it on his roof til he got back from his business trip.

Brian: Huh.

Bill: Worked great.

Brian: Yeah, as long as you’re not underneath it.

Bill: Right.

Brian: Alright, the next one on the list is to inspect your concrete. And they’re talking about your driveways and walkways and things like that. Looking for cracks that may have appeared over the winter. Nothing to say? No witty comment about driveway crack?

Bill: I don’t think I’ve ever seen a driveway that wasn’t cracked. I thought those were steps.

Brian: Oh, you thought those were steps. So, after the winter sometimes, the biggest enemy to concrete is water.

Bill: The biggest enemy to almost anything in your house is water.

Brian: Yeah, but the deadly combination for concrete is water and temperature. If you get water in a small crack in your concrete in either your driveway, foundation, wherever, and then it freezes, you don’t realize that water actually expands. And when it expands, it’s a pretty powerful force. It actually begins to chip at the concrete. Overtime, it can create deformations in the concrete. It can create cracks. It can create all kinds of things. It really does begin to deteriorate things, nature’s kind of unstoppable force when it comes to that sort of thing.

Bill: Yeah, just fill a glass bottle for a water and put it in the freezer.

Brian: To watch it explode?

Bill: It’s amazing. Yeah. I think I did that as a child. It worked great.

Brian: Alright, so the next thing on our list is to move your firewood from the winter. And, what they’re saying is, if you’ve had firewood stacked next to your house, which, in Texas, is always a bad idea. But, what they’re saying is, if you’ve done that, you should move it before spring comes when all the critters wake up.

Bill: That’s a good idea.

Brian: Yeah, it’s a good idea. But, really, around here, you really shouldn’t stack firewood next to your house.

Bill: What is the main reason for that?

Brian: Bugs.

Bill: Bugs.

Brian: Bugs.

Bill: You just don’t see a lot of firewood stacked around houses anymore. Mostly out in the country around here. But you just don’t see a lot in the city anymore.

Brian: Definitely, if you’re going to burn firewood, you should keep it away from the side of your house.

Bill: Would you say termites would enjoy this?

Brian: Termites would, for sure.

Bill: Like, Club Med for termites?

Brian: Yeah, any kind of wood-destroying insect.

Bill: Yeah, I don’t think I’ve ever picked up a log or a piece of wood off the ground that didn’t have something underneath it.

Brian: Yeah, full disclaimer, we’re not licensed pest-control guys.

Bill: We are not. We love bugs.

Brian: Yeah, nothing against them.

Bill: I have an agreement with all the bugs around my house. If you don’t bug me, I won’t bug you.

Brian: There you go. Outside faucets, so that’s the next thing on the list. We see a lot of these that are leaking from the vacuum breaks, if they have them. Or leaking from the bonnets.

Bill: Hose bibs.

Brian: Hose bibs. In fact, Bill, you had an experience not that long ago where one was frozen completely solid.

Bill: Yes, it’s very different to hit the water pressure at my house. So they had a completely frozen solid hose bib. But, that’s what happens when you try to inspect a house and it’s 20 degrees out.

Brian: Yeah, we had some pretty unseasonably cold weather.

Bill: Fortunately, people still want to buy houses, even when it’s cold.

Brian: Well, that’s good. That’s good.

Bill: They also didn’t have any protection on it either, to keep it from freezing, and that’s why it was frozen solid. And actually, I think that was a brand-new house.

Brian: Yeah, I think it was, now that you say that.

Bill: The second house we went to that day, the water was turned off completely because they were afraid it was going to freeze.

Brian: That’s right. Yeah, you’re absolutely right about that. So, the next one on our list. Service your air conditioning unit.

Bill: That’s a good idea.

Brian: It is a good idea around here. Especially, we’re coming up on the season where — you know, winter in Texas can be either feast or famine it seems. You can have days that are 80 degrees and days that are 20, like we just talked about. Coming into the spring, you get that, but you get it almost more to the extreme. You get days that can be pushing 85, 90 and you’re going to be kicking your air on.

Bill: You mean our two weeks of a year we can open our windows?

Brian: Yeah, that’s right.

Bill: That two-week period?

Brian: That two-week period. So this is a good time to get your air conditioning system serviced and looked at, make sure it’s going to function for you. Make sure that first 100-degree day, you’re not going to go to turn your air conditioning on and be surprised.

Bill: Yeah, even if you have a heat pump which is running in the winter also, I think people probably don’t think about it as much in the winter as they do in the summer, about changing your air filters and that type of stuff, that’s easy to do. If you have a heat pump it’s running all the time, so it’s using that even in the winter. But, if you don’t have a heat pump, just make sure your air filters have been replaced. Especially if you live in an area with a lot of construction where they really get full of dirt quick.

Brian: Yeah, they sure do. Alright, the last one on our list, Bill. Last one says that you should walk out of your house, go out to your shed in the backyard, open it up, move the Civil War cannon out of the way, dust it off, make sure it’s good and shiny. And then roll that old lawn mower out from behind it and go ahead and give it a good servicing, make sure she’s ready to go for the spring.

Bill: Yes, ‘cause I know everybody does that. My little old lawn mower, she comes back every year. After you clean the plug and knock the 15 pounds of dust out of the air filter, she runs like a champ. And, make sure she has oil… if she’s a she.

[Brian laughs]

Brian: Alright, let’s go ahead and get a break in, and when we come back, we’ll talk a little bit more about pre-listing inspections. So, remember, you can always tweet at us, @HouseFluent. Use the hashtag #MyHomeQuestion. We always try to get to those on the show. You can find us on Facebook or Instagram or at HouseFluent.com.

Bill: Even if you have suggestions on anything that we just talked about that you do that we didn’t talk about, that’d be great too.

[jazz music]

Brian: I’m Brian Botch with House Fluent Inspections and this if your smart home update. Let’s talk water sensors. That’s right, water sensors. Even your pipes aren’t safe from the smart home revolution. Water sensors come in two variations, those that work with smart home hubs and those that run over Wi-Fi. The Wi-Fi ones offer more versatility and independence from any specific platform, and these devices seem to range in price from about $30 to just under $100. And with the average cost to repair water damage in the US at just over $2000, that might just save you and your pocket book some serious coin. The primary job of these sensors is to alert you via text or app on your phone when the device comes in contact with water. However, just like most smart devices, that’s just the beginning. Many of these devices support integrations, allowing you to automatically kick on cameras in the room or set off an audible alarm when a leak is detected. In addition, you can get as creative as you want with IFTTT integrations also being supported by most manufacturers. I can’t wait to see the Rube Goldberg Machine-esque things that get kicked up next. I’m Brian Botch with House Fluent Inspections and this has been your smart home update.

[jazz music]

Brian: Alright Bill, so, last Thursday, I actually met with somebody who was asking me a lot about pre-listing inspections. They’re thinking about selling their home. One of the things that I always get asked about these is, “What’s the advantage of getting this?” Right? “Why would I get a pre-listing inspection as a seller when the buyer’s going to get an inspection anyway?” I guess I see the world in a little bit different light, especially being in the industry that we’re in. I really see the process as kind of backward. If I’m selling my house, I want to have every advantage, especially when it comes to me maximizing the value in my home, right? So I want to know everything up front. For me, as somebody selling their home, my process, personally, would be, before I even talk to a real estate agent, I want to get a home inspection. I want to get a very thorough home inspection. I want to know everything that’s wrong with my house. Because from there, I now have power. I have power to act. I can choose to fix things.

Bill: You have knowledge.

Brian: I have knowledge, right? Knowledge is power, right?

Bill: Knowledge is everything.

Brian: And so, I can choose to fix things. I can choose not to fix certain things and just disclose everything on the report. I have the ability to make decisions at that point.

Bill: I think just having the information and a good thorough inspection at this point is very wise, just because you have a good starting point. You know where you’re at and where your house is at. Nothing’s going to come as a huge shock to you when the buyers get their report. It may be shocking to you to find some of these things out, but at least you know. There’s probably a lot of things that you just don’t know are wrong with your house that have been that way for years. Whether it’s leaks or whatever. I think it’s a great idea.

Brian: The biggest barrier to entry for people getting a pre-listing inspection is really pride, right? This is my home, I’ve lived in it, I’m proud in it. I don’t want somebody poking around.

Bill: And this isn’t saying we’re going to find a ton of things wrong with your house

Brian: Oh no.

Bill: Some people take great care of their house.

Brian: Yeah, absolutely.

Bill: You might come to surprise you there’s not that many things wrong with your house. But more than likely, you’re going to find things wrong that you don’t know about. Just ‘cause you haven’t crawled through your house and been up on top of your house and in all the areas that we go.

Brian: And there’s that one, I don’t want to say always, many times there is that one thing that you’re not thinking about. And it’s that one thing that’s going to be a problem for you.

Bill: I think the biggest thing here is it should give you some peace of mind before you go into the process of selling your home.

Brian: Yeah, I think so too. It gives you a lot of things. It gives you peace of mind. It gives you the ability to, like we said, make decisions about what to do with the things that are on it. It gives you the ability to disclose everything that you know to somebody that may be buying your house. It gives your realtor an advantage, because they now know everything going on in the home and they can help you make sure that it’s priced appropriately. There’s just so many reasons to do it.

Bill: Yes, I would say this would be the one time too that you really want to get a good, thorough inspection, so there are no surprises when the buyers do their inspection.

Brian: Yeah. I get asked a lot, too, on these, what the difference between this and an inspection would get is, and really, my answer is, the only difference is when it gets done. That’s kind of it.

Bill: Yeah, and we’re working directly for the homeowner, we’re not having to schedule with a central service and that type of stuff.

Brian: The other question, I guess, that I get asked a lot, is hey, if I get this done, is the buyer still going to get an inspection.

Bill: Absolutely.

Brian: Yeah. And always answer that by saying yes, they probably will, and you would too.

Bill: This inspection is for the seller, it is not for the buyer. It is strictly for the seller.

Brian: Now, can the seller turnaround and hand that over to the buyer?

Bill: Absolutely.

Brian: Yeah, and I encourage it.

Bill: But, almost all buyers… I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t get your own inspection, just for your own personal reasons.

Brian: One of the questions that I get asked sometimes, Bill, is, if we do the pre-listing inspection, and let’s say the buyer sees it and they’d like another inspection. Can we go back out and do an inspection for the buyer?

Bill: I would advise them not to do that. I would advise them to hire their own inspector.

Brian: Yeah, I would agree. As a rule, we don’t do that. There’s just too many conflicts of interest there.

Bill: And it’s never going to hurt to have more eyes on something and have more people looking at it.

Brian: Oh yeah, no, not at all. Not at all. So with the inspection itself, what are some of the things people should expect? Let’s start with the roof. What should somebody expect from a roofing perspective that we’re going to do on a pre-listing inspection.

Bill: We would do the exact same thing we would do on a buyer’s inspection. It depends. If they just had the reroofed or whatever, obviously it should be looking good.

Brian: But what are we gonna do? So, are we gonna get up on the roof?

Bill: Oh, yeah, we’re going to get up on the roof, walk the roof, look at as much of the roof as we can and get a good basepoint for them on where the roof’s at.

Brian: Mm-hm. What else do you look at while you’re on the roof?

Bill: I look at the walls, I look at windows, I look at the chimney, I look at the vents.

Brian: Flashings.

Bill: Flashings. Basically everything that’s on the roof.

Brian: Mm-hm. We’ll also take a look at the foundation. So, we’ll walk all the way around the house. Or, if it’s a crawlspace, we’ll actually get under the house. We’re looking for signs of movement. We’re looking for corner pops, cable ends that are exposed. All the things that you would see with normal wear and tear. We also look at walls, looking again for signs of movement, cracking, things of that nature.

Bill: We’re looking at drainage and slope. The water, the gutters, the downspouts. The yard. Is it draining properly? We check the sprinkler systems, the irrigation.

Brian: Check the water pressure.

Bill: Water pressure, water temperature.

Brian: All those things. Moving inside the house, we’re going to look at floors, ceilings, stairs if you’ve got them. We’ll check all the appliances, make sure those are all operating the way they’re supposed to. We look at all of your bathroom vents. Look at your dryer vent. All those things, everything you’d expect to sort of see. We run all the plumbing fixtures, check the HVAC unit. Everything you’d expect a full home inspection to include.

Bill: Check all the outlets. Check your GFCIs, if they’re working, if you have them. We pull the electrical panel in the garage, if it’s in the garage. We check your breakers. What type of wiring do you have? Is it copper, is it aluminum? Are your breakers working? Are there any that are already popped? That kind of stuff. Basically, wire inspection is visual and also functional. We’re looking to see if things are functioning as they’re supposed to.

Brian: Do you also check the cannon in the garage?

Bill: If there’s a cannon in the garage, is it fire-rated properly? [laughs]

Brian: Come on now, admit this. If you walked into the garage and saw the cannon, you’d want to set it off.

Bill: I’d take a picture for sure. It’s just like inspecting your roof, it’s a great way to see what kind of pools your neighbors have. That’s a nice pool.

Brian: Alright, well what else do we have to talk about with pre-listing inspections?

Bill: Basically, the reasons for one, it’s definitely an advantage to the seller.

Brian: Agreed.

Bill: It definitely would give you more peace of mind, going into the process, which is a stressful process in the first place. But, um, our job is to help you understand your home and give you knowledge, which is everything.

Brian: Alright, well, let’s go ahead and get a break in. Remember, you can always tweet at us @HouseFluent, use the hashtag #MyHomeQuestion. You can also find us on Facebook or Instagram or at HouseFluent.com.

[banjo music]

Richard: Here in Texas, they say everything is bigger and better. And buying a new home is no exception to that. Here’s the deal. Congratulations, you’ve just come to terms on a new home contract. But now, you have to get the property professionally inspected. What if the inspection uncovers things that will require repairs, and what if those negotiations for the repairs do not work out as planned? Well, we have a tool called the option period, and it’s a very cool tool for buyers. Your agents can lockdown the contract, implement an option period, usually it’s 7-10 days and it costs the buyer as little as $100. What this does, it allows the home buyer to do all of the due diligence such as inspection, send out a plumber if necessarily, further evaluate for termites, if appropriate, you can have a roofer come check the lid on your home or asses any other structural or operational systems on the property. You can then decide, for any reason or no reason at all, that if you wish not to proceed, your agent can successfully terminate the contract. Any and all earnest fees will be returned to you. This represents a cool, low-cost way to lock down a home for purchase. But, if after the inspection, you feel the risks for this property outweigh the rewards, you can legally exit the contract, get your escrow money returned, and move on to the next great opportunity. Reducing your worry and risk is the key to maximizing your next home investment. I hope you found this content useful. This has been, What’s Better for You in Real Estate, and my name is Richard Gaspar at Ebbi Halliday Realtors. If I can answer any of your questions, you can reach me at 214-704-4896, voice or text.

[banjo music]

Brian: Alright, we’re back. And Bill, we’re down to my favorite part of the show. This is where we get to answer questions from my favorite people the world. That’s our listeners and our customers. First question comes to us, it says, how do you check for good drainage on my lot and how do you define that?

Bill: Wow.

Brian: So, the first thing that I do…

Bill: Is this age related?

Brian: [laughs] It could be age related. The first thing I do, though, is… it kind of depends on the day. If it’s raining, it’s pretty easy to check for good drainage.

Bill: Those are the best days for this.

Brian: Yes, they are. Those are the days when you go to take a step and your shoe stays behind you.

Bill: Those are no-doubter days. I know there’s a problem.

Brian: The hardest ones, actually, for me here, are the lots that it’s either not raining or they don’t have a sprinkler system. Because, if they have a sprinkler system, often times, what I can do is simulate a pretty good rainfall and get a good idea of what that drainage looks like. The ones that are tough, you’ve got to kind of go visually by what you’re seeing. You always look for signs of deterioration, trenching, erosion, things like that. The ones that are tough are the ones where you have no way to really put water on the ground.

Bill: Just not having gutters on the house gives you an idea which way the water’s flowing, ‘cause you can usually see the trenches around the house where the water’s been dumping.

Brian: Sure, yeah.

BILL: And sometimes you can tell just by, you know, is the lot got negative slope towards the house? You know right away that the lot’s sloping towards the house, there’s probably a problem. At least, pooling water around the foundation.

Brian: Yeah, you can almost always, too, if you look, most of the houses around here have what’s called a swale, where they’ll essentially make a sort of V looking divot which causes the water to drain in a specific direction. And, a lot of times, you can look and kind of see where those things are holding water a little bit. Not always, but a lot of times you can see that.

Bill: You shouldn’t have any standing water on the ground 24 hours after the rain has stopped.

Brian: Yeah.

Bill: If you’ve still got water on the ground, then your drainage is not working properly.

Brian: Right, and at that point you probably should call a landscape professional or something like that.

Bill: Or get into mosquito harvesting.

Brian: [laughs] Yeah, get into mosquito harvesting.

Bill: It’s up to you.

Brian: Alright, so, Bill, this is, I guess, a little bit of a loaded question, but what is the worst house you’ve ever seen? I would actually say this one we’ve seen pretty recently.

Bill: Well, there was the house we got kicked out of because we were taking too long.

Brian: Yeah, that one was bad. So that house, we had dogs, we had foundation problems, we had structural problems, we had…

Bill: Plumbing.

Brian: …plumbing that has not been used in years and years and years. Showers that were…

Bill: Kitty Litter.

Brian: …disabled. Kitty litter in the shower. Yeah, that was a pretty tough looking house.

Bill: It had a particular aroma too that house too.

Brian: It did, yes.

Bill: That was bad. But we’ve had some other ones since then, I think.

Brian: Yeah, we have. Several. Which is… I don’t want to imply that we only look at bad houses, we certainly don’t.

Bill: No, but, when the guy is Roto Rooting the bathtub when you come in to do the inspection.

Brian: [laughs] That’s usually a bad sign, when he’s got a snake in the tub.

Bill: Could be a sign there might be a plumbing problem.

Brian: That one. We had the owner of the house that basically stood over your shoulder and told you how perfect everything was and how the 19-gallon water heater was going to support the needs of the home.

Bill: Family of six.

Brian: Family of six.

Bill: It fills really fast.

Brian: Yeah.

Bill: I’ll bet it drains fast too.

Brian: Yeah, the air conditioner from 1960 that he had in the back yard that he swore worked.

Bill: That was a classic, man. The funny thing was, had it not been leaking freon regularly.

Brian: Yeah, I think it probably would have worked.

Bill: It would have worked.

Brian: Yeah, I think so too.

Bill: They don’t build them like that one anymore. That one, it was green and everything.

Brian: Yeah, it was a tank.

Bill: It was, like, Army Surplus. It was awesome.

Brian: We’ve certainly seen our share of bad houses. But we’ve seen our share of good houses too. It wasn’t too long ago we looked at one not very far from here that, I mean, gosh, there was virtually nothing wrong with that house. It was immaculate.

Bill: There’s nothing nicer than people that maintain their house.

Brian: Oh yeah.

Bill: Keep records. Receipts. Some of the houses are like people that own their car that write down every time they fill their tank. Some of them, you’re amazed. You don’t see as many of those as you do the other, but it is a privilege to inspect those houses.

Brian: Oh, absolutely.

Bill: They also get a little upset sometimes when you do find something wrong, because they can’t believe it. But…

Brian: Yeah, that’s true. Alright the next question, Bill. I read somewhere that you should inspect your roof twice a year. We kind of answered this already. So, the first part of that is, is that true? And then, why? And then, don’t roofs last 10-20 years anyway?

Bill: In theory, a 30-year roof should last 30 years.

Brian: Yeah, it should, in theory.

Bill: But in the State of Texas.

Brian: Yeah, we get a little thing called hail. Wind.

Bill: We commonly write up issues with roofs that more than likely will never be a problem because you’re probably going to replace it every so often around here anyway. But, I don’t know if you need to inspect it twice a year. But, it’s definitely going to get inspected after a big storm.

Brian: Sure.

Bill: Once a year, I usually inspect mine when I’m putting Christmas lights up.

Brian: Yeah, I do the same thing.

BILL: I’m already up there, mine as well take a look at it.

Brian: I do the same thing.

Bill: And then I look and I go, “Wow, I really should fix all these things.” And then the next year I say the exact same thing. But, I really should fix it. It’s kind of like the car that says “Mechanic-owned” and you’re like, that just means you’re going to fix it when it breaks. That doesn’t mean you took care of it.

Brian: Yeah, no, you’re right about that.

Bill: Actually, I usually try to take a pretty good look at it, because the quickest way to have water issues in your house is a leaky roof.

Brian: Yeah, absolutely. The biggest area, and we’ve talked about this a couple of times already on the show, but the biggest area of vulnerability that we see around roofs is always around the chimney. It seems like that’s just a tough thing for people to get right. And even when they get it right, just the sheer force of nature when it comes to wind and rain and everything else. It’s just a tough area to really flash.

Bill: It takes a lot of abuse, between the heat, the sun, the wind, the hail, the rain, the warmth going through it and the cold on the outside, the brick swells and contracts. And sealants, and caulking. Typically the flashing has got a lot of sealant on it, and that tends to crack and age from the sun. And then it pulls away and the flashing comes loose. Sometimes when they reroof your house, they do not replace all that. They just slip the shingles underneath it.

Brian: Yeah.

Bill: And re-caulk it. So, having a good roofer replace all that is a great thing to have too.

Brian: That kind of brings up a point. This isn’t a question we were asked, but it’s a question I get asked a lot, which is, should I get my remodel inspected or my roofing job inspected or something along those lines? What are your thoughts on that, Bill?

Bill: I think it’s a good idea. Especially if you had a contractor do it all. You don’t know for sure what was done.

Brian: Yeah.

Bill: And, typically, you’re going to find out the hard way. Your ceiling’s flooded, you’ve got water running down your walls. Your roof’s leaking. It’s not a hard inspection. For the most part, that’s a pretty quick inspection. But I think it’s a great idea.

Brian: Yeah, I think so too. We’ve done a few of those. We haven’t done a tremendous amount. But it’s always a good idea to get more eyeballs on it. Not that your contractor’s necessarily going to do something wrong, but anytime you have an opportunity to get another set of eyes on something, especially something like a roof. That’s not a bad idea at all.

Bill: Having a good contractor, he’s going to do that anyway.

Brian: Sure.

BILL: He’s going to make sure it’s done correctly. But, things happen. Mistakes happen.

Brian: Oh, of course.

Bill: It definitely can’t hurt.

Brian: Let’s go ahead and get a break in. Remember, you can always tweet at us @HouseFluent, use the hashtag #MyHomeQuestion. You can also find us on Facebook or Instagram or at HouseFluent.com.

[calm music]

Announcer: At House Fluent Inspections, we make it our mission to take the stress out of owning a home. Our annual property reviews provide you with a modern, interactive report that includes video, arming you with the information you need to make smart decision about your home. House Fluent Inspections’ annual property review can help you discover small problems before they lead to thousands in repairs. Along with your inspection, you’ll also receive a lifetime subscription to HomeBinder. HomeBinder can help you maintain maintenance and repair records for your home, making it more attractive when it’s time to sell. Your house is your largest asset, and at House Fluent Inspections, keeping it a safe, comfortable home is just as important to us as it is too. Call today and ask about our annual property reviews. Our number, 817-601-5257. Or go to HouseFluent.com and let us help make homeownership as stress-free as possible for you.

Brian: And we’re back. Okay, well, if you want to catch up with us and you’re in the DFW area, we’re going to be at a new homebuyer’s seminar on March 23. Should be a pretty great event. It’s going to be put on by Amy McCarty from Fairway Mortgage, and hopefully we’re going to have her calling in here in just a bit to talk about it. But, really, new homebuyer seminar, if you’ve never been it one, it puts a group of experts on the homebuying process all in one room together.

Bill: It’s just a great way for us to meet you and kind of explain, from our side, the inspection process and how it works and how to view the reports and how to use it. And also how to meet all the other experts in their fields.

Brian: Yeah, and we’ll be happy to talk to you about any questions you may have regarding a home.

KELLY: Hey Brian?

Brian: Yeah?

KELLY: Got Amy on the phone right now.

Brian: Oh great, let’s go to Amy. Okay, well joining us now is Amy McCarty from Fairway Mortgage in Keller. Amy, how are you?

AMY: Doing well, Brian, how about yourself?

Brian: Doing good. Doing good.

AMY: Good.

Brian: We’re going to be doing a new homebuyer seminar together March 23, why don’t you tell us a little bit about that.

Amy: Sure thing. So, we are really focusing on buyers that are currently renting. They don’t necessarily have to be a first-time home buyer, they can currently have bought before. Maybe it’s been a few years and they’re looking to purchase again. Really focusing on the benefits of buying a home versus renting, how to go through the pre-approval process and getting pre-approved or pre-qualified to purchase. We’ll spend some time and go over the things to avoid before purchasing a home and what they need to do once they’re in the process of getting pre-approved and fully approved. And we’ll go through the things not to do during the process all the way up til closing. And then we’ll spend some time on going over the benefits of why they need a realtor to represent them.

Brian: Very good. And this is going to be at Axiom Coffee Shop, correct.

Amy: It is. It’s a new coffee shop. I’m all about supporting our small business owners that are members of the community. So, it’s going to be Saturday, March 23, and we’ll be starting at 10 a.m. sharp. The seminar will go for two hours, and that’s with a little bit of mingling time, coffee, breakfast will be provided by some of the folks that will be sponsoring, like yourselves.

Brian: Very good, and this is open to anybody, right? The general public can come by if they have any interest in purchasing a home and get their questions in to you.

Amy: That is correct. Mm-hm, yep. We’re located, it’s kind of on the verge of Keller, Texas and Fort Worth. We’re opening up to anyone in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex or surrounding cities or counties that want to come and just kind of learn a little bit more about the process. Completely free. Kids are welcomed, but if there is a way to get childcare, definitely would like to do that. But, we understand that sometimes that can’t happen. It will be on a Saturday morning. Sometimes a weekend day away from the work week makes it more beneficial for folks to come and learn.

Brian: So, Amy, before you get out of there, why don’t you tell us a little bit more about yourself and Fairway Mortgage and what you guys are all about.

Amy: Okay. My name is Amy McCarty. I’ve been with Fairway Mortgage since January of 2013. Was on two different teams and went independent as a loan officer September 1st of last year. I love it, I have a true passion in serving our heroes. So, whether you’re a teacher, firefighter, military vet, I love to give back to those folks that serve our community and our country. I have a huge passion for serving and also for taking a hand guiding a first-time home buyer through the process of getting their first home. So, anything that I can do to answer questions or start the process with any buyers out there that are looking to start the process, I would love the opportunity to work with you.

Brian: That’s great, how can people get a hold of you?

Amy: You can call my cell phone number directly, and that number is 817-287-9790, or you can email me directly at amccarty@fairwaymc.com.

Brian: Alright, that’s great. I really appreciate your time, Amy, and we’ll let everybody know about the new homebuyer seminar and about you.

AMY: Perfect, I appreciate it, Brian. Thank you so much.

Bill: Thank you Amy.

Brian: Have a great day!

AMY: Thank you, you too, thanks.

Brian: Bye. Hey Bill, I’ve got a big announcement to make.

Bill: I can’t wait.

Brian: [laughs] Try and say that with some enthusiasm, would you?

Bill: Are you pregnant?

[both laugh]

Brian: No. We have four. Four is enough.

Bill: They’re going to have twins.

Brian: Yeah, twins! No. So, Bill, I have a big announcement to make.

Bill: Please tell me.

Brian: Alright, we are now on iTunes! Our show is now on Spreaker, Spotify, iTunes, Google Play Podcasts, and one other. One other, one other. I can’t remember what it is.

Bill: We must have a million listeners!

Brian: A billion! A bazillion listeners.

Bill: That’s awesome.

Brian: But, the show’s been growing. It’s been fantastic. I’m really excited about it.

Bill: We’re going big time.

Brian: We are. And we’re also adding a channel to our lineup.

Bill: What channel?

Brian: It’s called What’s Best for You in Real Estate. They’re just little short segments. They’re going to be done by Richard Gaspar. He’s one of our friends of the program. He’s a realtor out here in McKinney. And they’re just going to be little short, minute to two-minute segments. You can find them by just going and searching on Spreaker.com for either House Fluent Inspections or What’s Best for You in Real Estate or Richard Gaspar, and any of those should pull it up.

Bill: That’s awesome.

Brian: Yeah, pretty excited about it.

Bill: So, Brian, what’s coming up on our next show?

Brian: I have no idea.

[both laugh]

Bill: You always get me with that one.

Brian: Yeah.

Bill: I’m going to say, we’re going to go with a house relocation. What’s the best way to move your house to a different location?

Brian: I like that. Yeah.

Bill: Which is a tough with a slab, but you can try.

Brian: Alright, let’s wrap this thing up. Thank you for listening to House Fluent Inspections. We hope you enjoyed the podcast today. Remember, you can all tweet at us @HouseFluent, or go to HouseFluent.com to book a home inspection, read articles about stress-free home buying, home selling, or home ownership, or just generally get to know us. So, Bill, what’s Richard got coming up on his next segment?

Bill: I don’t know.

Brian: That’s a total fail.

Bill: You just broke the surprise to me. How am I supposed to know this?

Brian: Alright, thank you today to Bill Beck, our producer Kelly Lamont, and music today and everyday was provided by PurplePlanet Music. Remember, go out and make sure you maintain your home well.

Bill: [laughs] Well that went well. Be nice to your neighbors.

Brian: Be nice to your neighbors.

Bill: Please do not shoot your neighbors.

Brian: Remember to go out and be kind to your neighbors and don’t shoot them with a Civil War cannon.

Bill: Live long and prosper and maintain your siding.

[light-hearted music]

Brian Botch

Brian Botch

Brian is the owner of House Fluent Inspections and is licensed by the Texas Real Estate Commission as a professional real estate inspector (TX License # 22824 ). In addition, he is certified by the National Swimming Pool Foundation as a Certified Pool Inspector.

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