Archive for September, 2012

Home Inspections

Monday, September 10th, 2012


With interest rates hovering around 4% for 30 years, it’s almost like free money!   Which means it’s a great time to buy a home.   The market is becoming tighter every day with multiple offers on those properties truly worth their asking price.  It’s not at all unusual to see offers more than 110% of their asking price.  

However, you need to be careful.  Once your offer is accepted, you normally have 17 days for property inspections, and you must do your due diligence.    The ‘Big Ticket’ items – those costing the most to repair or replace are:

Roof: Have a roofing contractor inspect the roof for any damage, any leaks or potential leaks.  Ask him (or her) to estimate the life left in the roof.   Re-roofing a 2,000 square foot home can cost anywhere between $6 and $8 thousand dollars.

Plumbing:  Has the plumbing been upgraded to copper, both horizontals and verticals?  If not, count on spending $3,500 for doing so.  Have the drains inspected by a company that specializes in this – replacing the main drain line can run anywhere from $3,500 to $10,000 depending on the difficulty and length of the line.

Electrical: Has the electrical been upgraded to breakers from fuses?   Is there still knob and tube wiring in the attic?   Are the wires covered in cloth?   The price of repairing and upgrading the electrical system is between $3,000 and $5,500 depending upon the severity of the discrepancies.

Foundation: Here is a very critical issue as foundation repairs START at $10,000 and run upwards to $50,000.  Are there cracks in the foundation?  Is it crumbling?  Are there proper supports for the main joists?  Has the house been bolted (the framing bolted to the foundation)?

Chimney: After the 1994 earthquake, cities became extremely careful in approving plans for new chimneys and upgrades on older ones.   Rightly so, as over 15,000 fell from the trembler.   Have the chimney inspected by a qualified chimney inspection company and make sure it is safe, both from a structural point and from a potential of fumes venting back into your living room due to cracks.  Chimney replacement costs start at $8,500.

Spend some money on the inspections, for even if you spend $2,500 on doing so and still walk away from the deal due to deficiencies,  you will have saved thousands of dollars and hundreds of headaches.