From Advantage Inspection in Greensboro, NC, here's a cautionary tale from the trenches for all you price shoppers out there.
AN AGENT'S TALE OF WOE
My fellow inspector, Brian Haire, at Advantage Inspection Clearview, relayed a story from an agent in Burlington, NC. who told him that she had to change inspectors because as Brian relayed:
' the last one (an inspector she had used exclusively and swore by) ended up costing her $30,000.00 in repairs for having missed a rotted girder. In talking to her it was not conceivable that the inspector actually accessed the whole crawl space from her description of the damage. The only response she got was "we sometimes miss some things".'
I have to chuckle because at the most recent continuing education session in Feb. 2008 Charlotte NC, where about 700 inspectors were in attendance, both Brian and I saw a large number of overweight and some elderly gents who were 'active' inspectors. Sure, they probably have a storehouse of knowledge, but we honestly could not imagine most of those inspectors actually crawling 40-60 yards on their stomachs on hard dirt and mud crawlspaces.
And the crawlspace almost always yeilds some interesting and often very costly finds. Even on new construction. A short list of the most common and often costly problems:
- Rotten woodand floor rot under tubs, sinks and toilets
- joists sawn through for plumbing
- unconnected plumbing or hvac ducts
- excessive moisture content and the presence of wood destroying organisms
Rotted Girder Cut floor Joist Disconnected HVAC Flooded crawlspace
RULE OF THUMB
A rule of thumb for average time required for a thorough inspection on a house in good condition, with crawlspace and accessable attic is about 1.25 to 1.5 hrs per 1000 sqft of heated space.
The more that needs documenting ( the worse the gen. condition of the house) the longer it takes.
At Advantge Inspection Clear View, we actually access and observe the whole crawl space (unless ductwork or other obstacles prevent acess) , the whole attic and if possible the whole roof by walking it.
We also do not settle for inspecting the "representative number" of outlets, windows, and doors as required by the minimum standards in the Standards of Practice by the State of North Carolina, but observe and inspect all accessable outlets, windows and doors.
Red Flag !
The costly lesson here is obvious. When an inspector gives you the lowest cost inspection it is a red flag.
You need to know what he will actually be doing. Sometimes crawlspaces are not accessable, but if the cheap inspector you use almost always claims the crawlspace was inaccessable, then that should be a serious red flag, and a warning that you too may be stuck with a $30,000 bill.
This is what price shopping can get you !
Philip LaMachio Advantage Inspection Clear View
Greensboro, NC ( Servicing clients from Chapel Hill to Salisbury)