If you are buying an older home, don’t rely on just the home inspection report.
There are things you can do yourself to make sure your dream home doesn’t become a nightmare.
This is the standard report when buying a house.
You hire a professional home inspector to
- check if home is subsiding (level? or sinking?)
- rotting wood
- roof (estimated age and remaining use)
- inspect the attic
- underneath the house if raised
A basic home inspection report is limited and you shouldn’t rely only on this report.
The home inspection report will not reveal what’s going on inside your walls or under your slab.
You need to take it a step further when you are probably buying the most expensive thing in your life
your dream home.
What more can you do?
GET A TERMITE INSPECTION
Guess what damage is not covered by homeowners insurance?
Termite damage is not sudden and accidental so it falls outside the definition of a covered claim.
What if you suddenly and accidentally discover you have termite damage after you buy the house?
A large out of pocket expense.
A home inspector will not investigate inside your walls.
You need to contact a licensed pest control company or a company that specializes in termites.
They will look for termite trails and can detect old termite damage.
Termites live inside your walls and are often not visible.
VIDEO PIPE INSPECTION
This may be the most important inspection you should get.
We have had high claim activity recently for damaged pipes under the slab.
What happens is either the pipe breaks underground or tree or plant roots began to get into the pipe due to corrosion
and cause dirt and mud get inside the pipe.
This leads to water backing up into your house.
Guess what is not covered by homeowners insurance?
The damaged pipe itself under the slab.
But the damage caused by the busted pipe is covered
but only if you have a water backup endorsement on your policy
and most homeowners insurance companies limit this damage to
5,000 to 25,000
Contact a licensed plumber to do a video inspection of the sewer pipes under the slab.
The plumber inserts a video camera and looks for cracks, dirt or mud intrusion.
Find out what the pipes are made of.
Cast Iron and Galvanized plumbing are bad.
Subject to erosion over time which leads to cracks.
PVC is what is used today.
If you don’t get the inspection, move in and later have a water back up claim.
Just to have the plumber dig under your slab and replace the damaged pipe
could cost $5,000 to $20,000 depending the amount of pipe that needs to be replaced
and once again only the resulting damaged inside your house is covered.
Not the replacement of the damaged pipe.
That’s on you.
Determine the type of plumbing inside the house too.
Galvanized or cast iron plumbing needs to be replaced due to corrosion.
Look under the kitchen and bathroom sinks.
PVC under there is the best.
Tip: Not sure if the seller ever had a water claim?
We can quote your new house for homeowners insurance and run a claim report on the address.
Most insurance companies report claims to a centralized database CLUE report.
If there was a water claim, we should be able to see it.
If you find a previous water claim on the report, you can ask the seller more detailed questions.
Did you replace/repair the damage?
Look for rotting wood around window sills.
Look for condensation inside panes of glass.
Condensation is usually because you may have aluminum windows.
You should get vinyl windows.
Vinyl windows are better insulated and will keep your energy costs down.
I recently had to replace my windows in my house.
I called Robert Jaques at America’s Best Choice Windows.
Quick estimate and in a week, I lowered my energy bill.
Windows that are not energy efficient are a major expense to you.
Americas Best Choice windows
Robert Jaques 504.858.6979
SINKING SLAB (subsidence)
In our area, land sinking or shifting is a major issue.
In Lakeview, you have to drive pilings before you pour a concrete slab.
Ask the seller if pilings were required when the house was built.
A home inspector, contractor or leveling or shoring company can
come out to the property and look for cracks
around doors, walls and windows.
If doors or windows no longer open,
might be a sign of settling.
Homeowners insurance does not cover land movement or subsidence
because the damage is not sudden and accidental.
Land moves or sinks over time and is usually a slow process.
The expense of raising or leveling your house would be out of your pocket
if you buy a house and discover your house is sinking.
HEATING A/C (HVAC)
Take a look at the unit.
How old is it?
More than 15 years old?
Is it the right size unit for the property?
Often you will find an undersized system trying to cool a dwelling that is too big.
This results in the unit never shutting off and a high utility bill delivered to you in the mail.
There are a few good local trusted HVAC companies that will inspect the a/c and heating if you need to get a professional opinion.
Adams A/C and Heating
Keith Adams 504.430.6109
Many older homes don’t have insulation or not enough.
Getting a professional to take a look in your attic is a smart decision.
Most A/C guys will take a look because they often determine the size
of the a/c unit based amount or type of insulation in the house.
If insulation needs to added or replaced you may want to reach
out to an insulation company.
Homes with gas should obtain a carbon monoxide detector.
You can buy a plug in detector off of Amazon for less than $20.
CONTRACTOR or DIY (do it yourself)?
DIY can save you money if you are self-proclaimed handyperson,
but if you have to hire a contractor
A contractor should be registered with the state for jobs $7500-$75,000.
A licensed contractor is required for jobs costing more than $75,000.
If the job is under $7500, make sure the contractor has a general liability policy.
A general liability policy would have a limit from 100,000 to 1,000,000
that covers property damage or bodily injury that the contractor is legally liable for.
Get a copy of the contractor certificate of liability and keep it on file.
If you want, call the insurance agent who issued the certificate and just ask
“Does ABC Contractor have an active policy?
And if so, are they covered for (type of work to be performed).
A general liability policy does not cover all work.
Only the classifications listed on the policy.
So if you hire a painting contractor to fix your roof, more than likely there is no coverage.
Want to do a quick check on a Louisiana contractor?
What’s this all about?
Don’t rely on only a home inspection report before you buy house.
Don’t trust the seller.
Take a few extra steps.
Spend a little more time and money and get additional professionals to take a look at the property.
Consult an insured contractor.
Good luck with your new home purchase and if you need us,
we’re here to help.