(Source: AZCentral): Catherine Reagor – I was a certified home inspector, but I wouldn’t have recommended hiring me.
The Arizona Republic sent me to a week-long class in Scottsdale for a reporting project on homebuilding. The home inspector instructor was very experienced.
He quizzed us on electrical, plumbing and building basics from our textbook and took us out on home inspections to show us good and bad work.
I passed and got my certificate, but you wouldn’t want to trust me to find a leaking sewer pipe or faulty wiring in a house you were planning to buy or sell.
Those expensive problems and others aren’t easy to detect, and if not fixed or found can lead to bigger problems for homebuyers and sellers.
But there are very experienced Valley home inspectors who can find those problems.
Pricey home problems
A record number of metro Phoenix homes have been renovated and flipped over the past few years.
Katie Lebowitz and David Dronning bought a newly renovated north Phoenix house that came with a collapsed sewer, hidden mold and asbestos as well as electrical problems.
Valley real-estate attorney Patrick MacQueen, who is handling their case, said he has never seen this many lawsuits over homes fixed up and flipped.
After reading my story this week about their bad flip problems, other metro Phoenix homebuyers contacted me about problems they are having with recently redone Valley homes.
“We can’t run the water in the bathroom and kitchen at the same time or turn on the TV while the dishwasher is running,” said Misha, who recently bought a home that had been fixed up and flipped in central Phoenix. “We didn’t think about those problems when we walked through an empty home that looked great.”
She asked that I not use her last name because she’s negotiating with her builder’s insurance company now.
I was taught as a home inspector to run the faucets in the bathroom at the same time to check water pressure and drainage. But I wouldn’t have thought to check the water in the kitchen at the same time.
Running the faucets
Many qualified home inspectors in the Valley know that trick for testing a home’s water pressures and pipes, and many others.
Other tips for buyers from the expert inspectors:
- Check the attic. Is there insulation? “Sometimes flippers get in a hurry, take out old insulation to do other work in an attic and then forget to put new insulation in,” said metro Phoenix home inspector Tim O’Neall, who teaches classes to the real-estate industry about disclosing home problems to buyers.
- Look for cracks in foundations. Some aren’t a problem, but others are.
- Turn on the garbage disposal and several other outlets in kitchen. If that throws a breaker, then there could be a problem.
- Find listing photos before the home was renovated. Was there a pool that has been filled in? New addition?
- Ask to see construction work permits for major remodel projects. Cities send their own inspectors out for many permitted projects.
- And “when an inspector finds something wrong, and sellers agree to fix it, ask for a receipt for the work,” said Christa Lawcock of Realty Executives. “And if you are concerned, call the contractor who did the work.”
Most of these tips were new to me, as well — another reason you wouldn’t have wanted to hire me to inspect your home. Thankfully, I have another career.