VanPort Property Inspection
6400 NE Hwy 99 Suite G #234 Vancouver, WA 98665
Hello! And thank you for scheduling your home inspection with VanPort Property Inspection!
I suspect that by now the last thing you want is something more to read, but it’s really important that you know exactly what to expect from the inspection. Most all inspections are done for people buying homes and also involve a Realtor, so this introduction is written with that bias. If the inspection is being performed for other reasons or there is no Realtor involved, just ignore those portions.
If you are like most people, you have been referred by a Realtor who will be working with you during the transaction. If so, I certainly appreciate such referrals and they mean a lot to me, but let us be very clear at the onset: I am working for you. I will call it as I see it, good, bad, or indifferent, to the very best of my knowledge and ability, period. The last thing I want to do is identify conditions which make your Realtor’s job difficult or cause you to terminate the transaction, but if that is what happens, then that is what happens; the final decision is yours.
I will observe and report on the three things that are (or should be) the most important issues to you as well as the home owner/realtor: 1- Life/Safety issues (fire hazards, gas leaks, electrical and heating issues); 2- big ticket item repairs (foundation issues, trip hazards, drainage issues, extensive repair issues); 3- water penetration issues (wall, roof, foundation and crawl areas).
By definition, a home inspection is a limited visual examination which looks at all the major installed systems and components: i.e. Exterior; Roofing; Heating; Plumbing; Electrical; Bathrooms; Kitchens; Utility Areas; Garages; Sub Structure; and Attic. Non built in things such as clothes washers, clothes dryers and refrigerators are excluded. Sprinkler systems, septic systems and water-well related equipment are also excluded. However, septic systems and wells are generally addressed through a separate inspection company which your Realtor can tell you more about. Outbuildings and sheds are also generally excluded unless specifically agreed upon to be included in the inspection, generally for an additional fee. Be sure to review the contract as it also lists other items which may be excluded from the home inspection.
The inspection is limited because there are limitations and barriers that keep me from seeing some things and I can’t see inside the walls or underneath floor coverings any more than anybody else. These limitations and barriers may conceal hidden conditions that I might not be able to identify, especially with older homes. Further, conditions change, so in essence, an inspection is really a snapshot in time of what is visible on the day it is performed. To put it into simpler words, I will try to see everything I can see without damaging things, moving things around or getting hurt.
When it comes to inspecting used homes, there will always be cosmetic “bumps and blemishes” just like a used car will have wear and tear issues observable to potential buyers. I generally don’t spend time documenting such things, partly because they are to be expected and partly because it just isn’t reasonable during the time allowed for documenting everything during the inspection. If there is something cosmetic or otherwise unusual that you want to have documented on the home inspection report, be sure to let me know so that we can address it.
If the house is new, the time to identify cosmetic issues will be during the builder’s walk through at which time the builder typically marks defects with a piece of blue tape so that the crew can identify the area in need of repairs. New home inspections though not common are a good idea; especially for the new home owner. This way items will be documented for repair; I will try and discover maintenance issues that may be overlooked in the excitement of buying a home. I will bring to the experience a more impartial observation.
It is also important to recognize that a home inspection is not a code inspection. I must assume older houses were built to the code of the time and I understand they will not meet today’s code. Unless there is a health or safety issue, then, “it is what it is”. There is no mandate or law requiring anything be brought up to code as part of the home inspection. The only requirement, which is new effective April 2012, is that sellers or buyers must install carbon monoxide detectors. With older homes, code issues may exist which I put into two other categories: Disclosure is when I see something and simply point it out, explaining how things would be done differently now. Improvement is when I point out things in the home that you may wish to upgrade or improve, perhaps for enhanced safety or function.
Again, there is no requirement to correct any code related conditions. In fact, there is no requirement to correct or repair anything on the home. Certainly code issues identified on new construction will fall under a different light, but that aside, the report findings are simply informational for you. I should mention that if this property will be used in a commercial or rental capacity, you should review any code disclosure or improvement issues with a lawyer, as they could represent a liability for you as a landlord.
I will be examining the home for conducive conditions. Things which would attack the structure generally require some degree of moisture. Conducive conditions are usually things which promote moisture or infestation such a plumbing leaks, foliage against the house, downspouts that don’t drain away, wood debris in the crawl space and so on. In fact, moisture issues are critical and I spend a lot of time looking for water related conditions. I will also use a moisture meter as explained in the contract.
Depending on the size of the home, allow 2 to 2.5 hours for a typical inspection. Obviously the time needed to inspect a commercial structure may vary considerably.
Inspection Process: Assuming the layout is also typical, I generally do the exterior first, garage, interior, attic then the roof, and finally the sub structure. If you are present at the inspection, you are welcome to follow me around, but I am fairly task oriented and you will likely find your time better spent doing a more detailed personal walk through, measuring rooms and so on. We can then gather at intervals to review and look at all the conditions I have identified and I will do my best to make sure you don’t miss anything. Be aware that if the seller is present, I would rather not discuss findings in front of them and we may need to find a more private way to review the findings. The same holds true if there are renters on the premises. If your Realtor is present, they can help should this become an issue.
The full report is fairly lengthy as it contains a lot of descriptive information and an appendix with additional information for your future reference. From the full report I will distill a summary as this will be the “meat” of what you will need for negotiating. I will then e-mail this summary report to you and your Realtor that same day. If the inspection is being done as a pre-listing evaluation, then be sure to review the summary with your Realtor prior to making any repairs or corrections as they are most qualified to advise you about what, if any, conditions should be addressed. Be advised that I do not share the report with the seller, your lender, or your insurance agency. You own the report and it is confidential; you decide who gets a copy and what portion…talk with your Realtor about what and whom to share it with. The full report is in PDF format which we typically send via e-mail the same day.
If need be, we can print the report and send it via mail, just let us know.
Like most home inspectors I prefer not to do re-inspections on work performed as it places me in the high liability position of being a code enforcement inspector, which is something I am not, and something which my insurance company does not cover. It also makes no sense for me as a home inspector and a generalist, to come back to re-inspect the work of the expert you hired to perform the work. The best way to ensure conditions are corrected properly is to have a licensed professional perform any work or repairs. Certainly there are exceptions and I know there may be occasions where one of my clients simply needs me to look to see if work has been performed. So if this should come up as an issue, please don’t hesitate to call.
Please be sure to take the time to read and complete the contract. If you can print the contract, please do so and bring it with you to the inspection so I can scan it and have a copy for my records. If you can’t print it out just let me know and I’ll be sure to have a copy for you. If you cannot attend the inspection, you can either mail or scan and email the signed contract to me. Either way, don’t forget to review the contract prior to the inspection.
Payment is due upon completion of the inspection unless otherwise arranged in advance. We accept cash or check. Just call the office and Paula can assist you with additional information. Thank-you for doing business with VanPort Property Inspection.
Be sure to call me if you have any questions. My cell phone is 360.597.8364. If you need to send me a document, please send it as a PDF to my email: VanportPI@gmail.com, and as a text message to my cell phone.
Finally– after the property inspection, if you should have any questions or concerns, be sure to call me – no matter how long after the inspection it may be.
My thanks in advance and I’ll look forward to meeting you!
Russ Winters VAN-PORT Property Inspection