Should an Outbuilding Be Inspected?

You likely know how important it is to have a home inspected before buying or selling. It provides details of potential problems and helps with accurately pricing a home. However, an area you likely don’t consider for an inspection is outbuildings. They are part of your property and can be part of an insurance policy. But do you need an inspection done? Here is what to know about an outbuilding.

What is an Outbuilding?

An outbuilding is an extension of your home designed in multiple ways. Many homeowners use these buildings as a way to have extra space for storing lawn tools or sports equipment. Others elect to use them as an external room. An outbuilding comes prefabricated or as metal structures. Whether it’s a shed, greenhouse, or another type of building, the design varies based on the need.

How Outbuilding Inspections Work

The process of doing inspections of outbuildings is relatively similar to those done for traditional homes. An inspector looks at elements such as the roof, structure, foundation, and the building’s exterior. If the outbuilding includes electrical and plumbing systems, inspectors review these as well. Inspectors also look at attics should the building have them included.

Deciding on an Inspection

Knowing what goes into an inspection of an outbuilding, do you need one if it’s on your property? Some inspectors include a review of the building as an ancillary service. Others perform inspections in addition to a regular home inspection, even if it isn’t required. Depending on where you live, local requirements require that every building on your property is inspected. Another factor to consider is how detailed the outbuilding is. If it’s relatively basic, the need for inspection is minimal. However, the more finished the building is, the higher the chances of needing an inspection.

An outbuilding is a great way to have additional space for your home. While an inspection isn’t normally thought of, scheduling one for a building ensures that it is safe for any purpose.

Read more

How Robots Are Used In Home Inspections

In recent years the evolution of technology has been expansive. Tasks that have been done in traditional methods are now being completed in unique ways. This is especially true in the home inspection industry. Now, inspectors use items such as drones and infrared devices to complete their inspections. Another device that is gaining popularity among home inspectors is robots. Also known as crawl bots, they provide multiple benefits for inspectors. Here is how they work and why inspectors use them.

What is Crawlspace Robots?

Also known as crawl bots or crawlers, crawlspace robots are mechanical devices that can inspect smaller spaces. They are specifically designed for crawlspaces, which are usually tight and stuffy. Inspectors may find items like exposed wiring, mold, and even animals in these spaces, giving them a reason to avoid doing so themselves if they can. This is where a robot is beneficial. It is a remote-controlled device that closely resembles an RC car. This allows inspectors to examine crawlspaces while being a safe distance from the space itself.

Benefits of Use

Using crawlspace robots offers home inspectors a number of advantages. For example, they look in every direction and send detailed videos back to the inspector. From there, they share these images with the homeowner or buyer. These robots also provide enhanced comfort for inspectors, who don’t have to move on their hands and knees in tight spaces and potentially extreme temperatures.

Features of Crawlspace Robots

A home inspection robot can vary in price and features, depending on your needs. One of the available features is the ability to control and record video directly to a smartphone. Others use a remote control and record video on the robot itself. Some robots have the option of a tether, giving inspectors the opportunity for analog video recording.


There are reasons that inspectors don’t elect to use these robots, however. The biggest of these is price. Higher-end models can be expensive to purchase as well as replace. But, it is possible to build a version for inspectors with the capability to do so. Another pitfall is that robots can get stuck while moving. Whether it’s on a pipe, ledge, or other kinds of debris, any obstruction leads to problems.

A robot serves as a great tool for home inspectors to examine spaces they may have difficulty reaching. While they are an investment for the inspection company, they provide beneficial insights to give a complete picture of a home.

Read more

Proactive Mold Prevention Tips

Homeowners know the importance of protecting it from the elements. This includes taking steps to prevent things like mold. There are multiple reasons to do everything possible to keep mold out of your home. In addition to an unsightly appearance, mold can lead to many health problems. Plus, it may result in damage to your home. Fortunately, there are steps to take to prevent it from developing and save you the trouble of needing remediation. Here are some mold prevention techniques to consider.

Keep Everything Dry

Mold loves to grow in moist environments. This makes it important to keep your home as dry as possible. Mold can flourish in any material, including furniture, clothes, and paper objects. As mold thrives at 65% humidity, it’s recommended to keep your home at 30-50%. Dehumidifiers and fans also serve as a way to keep air dry and circulated.

Cleaning Helps Mold Prevention

One of the easiest ways to prevent mold in your home is through cleaning. It’s not just about open areas, either. Regularly cleaning cabinets and closed spaces can help prevent excessive mold spread. In addition, focus on areas such as bathroom and kitchen sinks, which can be more prone to mold. Many stores carry mold and mildew cleaners if you have to clear a patch, but there are ways to make it yourself.

Consider Replacement Materials

Depending on the age of your home, elements of it may be more susceptible to mold. Should mold get in and the damage is significant, these parts will need to be replaced. There are mold-resistant materials designed to be added to your home and prevent future mold outbreaks. These include wood, insulation, caulk, sealant, and paint. While these materials help with mold prevention, they still require thorough cleaning both before and after installation.

Other Mold Prevention Options

There are other ideas you can do to ensure a mold-free environment in your home. For example, check your home HVAC system to ensure there is no mold present, including replacing air filters as needed. Also, dust and vacuum regularly. Monitoring for leaks and cracks in your home help indicate signs of potential water damage. Plus, keep excess water away from your property by keeping your gutters clean or sloping the foundation.

Mold is a problem for homeowners, especially if it is allowed to grow. By knowing ways to prevent it’s buildup, you keep your home from experiencing damage.

Read more

Do You Need a Chimney Inspection?

When scheduling a home inspection, an inspector will look at multiple elements of your home to determine if they are structurally sound. One of these you may not consider is a chimney inspection. It’s not surprising that it can be overlooked; while many home inspectors will look for signs it is falling apart or a potential leak, they don’t go much deeper. This is where a specialized chimney inspector comes in. But is one needed for your home? Here is the key information to consider.

Why You Need a Chimney Inspection

When you have a chimney in your home, you may not think about getting it inspected. However, there are multiple reasons that getting an inspection done can be beneficial. For starters, getting it cleaned and inspected prevents fires that can damage your home. Not cleaning the equipment in the fireplace is the leading cause of home heating fires. In addition, using your chimney results in the buildup of creosote. This residue is the collection of smoke, particles, and gases from fires burning in the chimney. The more the creosote builds up, the harder it is to remove. Finally, a chimney obstructed by materials such as sticks, leaves, or nests, prevents gas from escaping. This leads to fine particles that may enter your home and cause burning eyes, runny nose, and amplifies asthma and bronchitis.

What Is In an Inspection

Once you select a certified technician to inspect your chimney, they will first check its interior to look for potential damage. Using a camera, they examine the inside and take photos and videos to look for issues with the flue and gas lines. They also check the entire system, as smoke from your chimney can find its way to attics or basements. In addition, as the roof is connected to the flue and exterior brickwork, it is reviewed as well.

A quality chimney technician will also to determine if a structure fire occurred, which can impact the contract during the home buying and selling process. They also look for structural damage caused by previous fires. This may indicate the chimney is in need of repair or replacement. Other items an inspector review is if items are obstructing the chimney and if there is any water damage.

Proactive Maintenance Options

There are things you can do on a proactive level to keep your chimney or fireplace safe. First, make sure you read and understand instructions on your fireplace as well as specific elements. Also, use only well-seasoned, dry wood in a fireplace, and learn the best places to store wood when not used.

A chimney can be a major addition to your home, and attractive to potential buyers. By understanding how to have it inspected, you are able to keep it well-maintained and at its best performance during the colder months.

Read more

Lead-Based Paint and Home Inspections

There are lots of things to consider when purchasing a home. One thing you may not think of is how the age of your home can impact its overall safety. If you have a home that was built before 1978, there is a chance it contains lead-based paint, which can lead to health concerns. While it stopped being sold to consumers that year, there could be traces of the paint still in your home. The good news is that while not all inspectors can check for this paint, there are some that can check to see if there is some left. Here is what to know about lead-based paint.

What Makes Lead-Based Paint Dangerous?

Even in lower amounts, lead can be the cause of multiple health problems. This is especially true of younger children. Symptoms of lead poisoning for younger people can include irritability, abdominal pain, and developmental difficulty. Other symptoms can appear in older adults as well. While lead paint was banned for use in 1978, it doesn’t mean that older homes don’t have it. An EPA study showed that 24% of homes built from 1960 to 1978 have lead paint in them.

How It’s Tested For

Lead-based paint can’t be identified purely by sight. However, there is a sign that can indicate that it exists. As lead paint deteriorates, it develops a pattern known as alligatoring, or looking like scales. This can be looked at on both the inside and outside of the home. This can give you an idea that lead paint is in your home, but an inspector can provide a true test. In instances where lead is suspected, an inspector uses an X-ray to go inside the paint layers through to the base wood of the wall.

Why You Should Test

If you think there is lead paint in your home, having a test done offers peace of mind. There are numerous reasons to have your home tested. The biggest is if you have family members that are most likely to be affected, such as young children. By having a test complete, you can schedule an abatement if enough of the paint is prevalent. In addition, if you plan on making renovations to your home, an inspection is helpful. Construction and repairs can disturb lead paint and cause dust that could include lead elements.

Testing your home for lead-based paint offers a number of advantages. While the number of homes that have it continues to drop, it is still beneficial for people looking to purchase an older home.

Read more

Weatherstripping Your Windows and Doors

Homeowners know the importance of ensuring that weatherstripping is installed correctly in their homes. Doing so ensures that your home is warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Many home inspectors make checking a home’s weatherstripping a key part of the inspection process. However, it should be proactively checked by homeowners whether it was added recently or during the initial construction. Here is how it’s done and what to look for.

What Forms Are Available?

Weatherstripping comes in multiple forms for both windows and doors. One of the most popular options is in tape form. As a self-adhesive, it can be cut to various sizes and installed easily. Also available are door sweeps. These keep air from leaking out from the bottom of doors. Made from either vinyl or rubber, they are attached with either screws or adhesive tape. Finally, v-seals, which are for both doors and windows, compress to fill in gaps of air entry points.

Checking For Air Leaks

You likely are aware of the core areas where air leaks can occur. However, there are additional areas that aren’t usually thought of. It’s easy to check these areas yourself. One method is by feeling around your windows and doors for any drafts. This also gives you a sense of places in your home where you may need additional insulation. An energy auditor or home technician also performs these types of inspections.

Applying Weatherstripping

While it can be done by professionals, installing weatherstripping is a relatively straightforward process. Once you decide on the material you want to use, determine how much you need. This includes measuring the perimeters of all areas where the material will be installed. You also want to install it when the temperature is over 20 degrees Fahrenheit, and on a dry, clean surface.

Other Factors To Consider

There are other things to know before you decide on installing weatherstripping. First, the best time to replace any existing weatherstripping is when you hear, see, or feel any changes to airflow around doors and windows. Experts suggest checking it every year. Also, for doors, it should be installed on the inside or around frame grooves for best results. With windows, depending on the style, place around the window jamb or between the sash and jamb for double hung versions.

Call Us To Check Your Weatherstripping

Having your weatherstripping checked is a key part of owning a home. Whether it’s done yourself or by a professional, it provides huge benefits in terms of energy efficiency. When installed correctly, it allows you to save money and keep your home comfortable all year long.

Read more

Proactive Home Inspection Preparation

Once you’ve decided to sell your home, there are numerous elements to consider for the buying process. This includes finding an agent, determining a listing price, and making sure it’s ready for presentation. An important part of this process is home inspection preparation. A solid home inspection report is key to ensuring the sale goes through. The good news is that there are steps you can take to make the inspection process goes as smoothly as possible.

Clear All Access Points

When setting up an inspection, the last thing you want is for it to be impossible for the inspector to get where they need to be. Ensure that inspectors have a clear path to necessary areas, including attics, basements, and under sinks. Experts suggest leaving 4 to 6 inches of space clean around the perimeter of your home’s exterior for access. This means removing unnecessary plants and items like trash cans.

Look at Functionality

If you know there are specific items that an inspector will review in your home, you can check their functionality before the inspection happens. This includes everything from opening windows and doors to testing all your light switches. In addition, make sure your home’s weatherstripping is intact, run fans that are in your home (both ceiling and bathroom), and check the manual and automatic garage doors.

Check for Water Damage

A home inspector will look for leaks or water damage during an inspection. Getting in front of them helps you repair them before the inspection occurs. Look for leaks in key areas, such as around faucets, toilets, and bathtubs. Also, check appliances like dishwashers and refrigerators that are prone to leaks. In terms of water damage, you want to review areas like walls, floors, or ceilings. This is to look for damage signs such as buckling, warping, or sagging.

Make Repairs Before Home Inspection

If there are issues that you can fix before the inspection, do so. From broken light bulbs to clearing clogged drains, any proactive fixes you make help the inspection process go smoothly. Other repairs you can make include fixing insulation in attics and crawl spaces, replacing cracked windows, and updating missing pieces of a roof.

Call Us For a Home Inspection

A home inspection is an important part of the home buying process. By doing proactive home inspection preparation and maintaining a checklist of tasks to do before the it occurs, you make it easy for an inspector to complete.

Read more

What is a Wind Mitigation Inspection?

For residents that live in Florida, scheduling a wind mitigation inspection offers many benefits. They help give potential homeowners an idea of how well their property withstands strong winds and water intrusion. Additionally, a completed inspection provides homeowners an opportunity to have their overall home insurance premiums reduced. Here is what to know about wind mitigations inspections.

How a Wind Mitigation Inspection Works

Typically, a wind mitigation inspection covers specific areas of your home. The report you receive after the inspection highlights everything that was looked at. In addition, you get recommendations for repairs or improvements. The areas covered include:

  • Roof Covering. Verifying the roof is up to building codes and checking its age.
  • Roof Decking Attachment. An inspector looks at the type of decking used. This includes decks with nails or staples.
  • Roof to Wall Attachment. This reviews how the trusses are attached plus the strength of the attachment.
  • Roof Geometry. This determines the roof’s sustainability during strong winds.
  • Gable End Bracing. Inspectors check homes with a gable-style roof. For these, they check to see if the ends meet building standards for proper reinforcement.
  • Wall Construction. The reviews the supplies used for reinforcements, framing, and other materials. This checks for sustainability and strength.
  • Secondary Water Barrier. Tailored more towards newer homes and roofs built after 2008, the inspector reviews this barrier for proper installation.
  • Opening Protection. Inspectors check any openings in your home, like shutters, doors, and windows to ensure they are hurricane-proof.

What Are the Benefits?

A mitigation inspection provides homeowners and buyers with multiple benefits. One of the most important advantages is savings on insurance premiums. According to the Florida Division of Emergency Management, 15-70% of premiums are the result of risks due to wind damage. There is an upfront cost to add features for wind mitigation to your home. However, doing so offers larger savings in the long term. On top of the financial benefits, mitigation adds safety to your home, especially during major storms. Just adding hurricane shutters and straps reduces the risk of damage due to flying debris.

Inspector Details

On average, a wind mitigation inspection is a relatively quick process. In many cases, inspectors can complete the process in 30-60 minutes, with a detailed report available the same day. The specific amount of time depends on multiple factors. For example, documentation of windows and shutters adds extra time. In terms of cost, an inspection can be around $100, though this will vary based on the company. In addition, inspectors can combine wind mitigation with other types of inspections they offer.

Schedule a Wind Mitigation Inspection With Us

A wind mitigation inspection is an essential item for Florida homeowners or home purchasers. For owners, it ensures their property is protected during a major storm. Plus, there are opportunities for substantial insurance savings down the road.

Read more

Home Inspectors and Realtors: How They Work Together

You may not consider a potential link between home inspectors and realtors. Ideally, they would team up to provide home buyers with necessary assistance and help them make proper decisions on their property. This isn’t always the case, however. The fact is that when both groups trust and understand each other, they can best serve the client. Here is how a relationship between home inspectors and realtors is beneficial for all parties.

The Role of Agents

Typically, a home buyer or seller will ask their agents for recommendations on a home inspector. A buyer or seller will typically ask their agent for recommendations on a home inspector. Most agents have a list of inspection companies depending on a number of factors. These include licensing, certifications, and accuracy of work. In addition, they want an inspector that will provide necessary context on the level of damage found. Agents also look for services that have written reports consistent with items noted in person.

Do Agents Attend?

Every real estate agent has their own view of whether they should attend an inspection. While they aren’t required to attend, it can be beneficial for them to be there. It gives them a chance to see an inspector’s work first-hand and allows them to know what happened should a client have questions about what was found. It also allows for agents to evaluate the inspector for future work. Agents will attend a few inspections to understand how they work and why specific items were noted.

Business Boost for Home Inspectors

One of the main benefits of the link between inspectors and realtors is that it can lead to increased business for inspection companies. As inspectors don’t work directly for agents, it’s important for them to build relationships with realtors so they can serve as a recommendation. The top real estate agents want to work with inspectors that do a quality job, including following all details and completing an inspection in a timely manner. Inspectors have the opportunity to be selected in the future by providing the best information on a property,

Call Our Home Inspectors

Real estate agents and home inspectors have an important relationship. They both work together for the benefit of a home buyer or seller. Also, there is the potential for professional benefits from the partnership as well.

Read more

Mold Testing and How Home Inspectors Do It

You may not think of mild testing as a key step in the home buying process. However, it is an important step to consider no matter if you are a buyer or seller. It gives you an idea of if there are serious problems that need to be addressed before purchasing. Not every home inspection company provides an investigation into mold. That said, those that do can look at multiple aspects of your home and find potential problems, saving you time and money down the road. Here is how home inspectors perform mold testing.

Is Mold Testing Needed?

There are a number of benefits of doing a mold test before you decide to buy a home. It provides a sense of the quality of the are in the house. This is important especially if you are unsure how well the home has been maintained. In addition, the smell of mold indicates a significant issue in most cases. By having a mold test done, potential homeowners are performing due diligence to ensure the quality of the home is sound.

How Mold Tests Are Done

The process of mold testing is relatively straightforward. It starts by visually inspecting potential mold sources. Inspectors may ask during a consultation if you have a suspicion where mold could be located. From there, a sample of the surface is collected. This can be done in multiple ways. An inspector may want to take a bulk sample of the possible area for review. In addition, a cotton swab can be used to swipe a smaller section of the surface in question. If an inspector wants to take samples from the air, they will use a trap to capture spores. Once the test is complete, inspectors suggest remediation if mold is found.

Areas That Are Checked

The majority of mold inspections involve looking at specific locations throughout the home. This includes examining the HVAC system the house has. Many times, mold can be found in the indoor air handler or furnace and even on vent covers. This can be problematic, as spores located in an HVAC unit can circulate throughout the home. Another location checked is the attic. It’s not difficult to detect mold growing on wood, and checking for it early prevents the possibility of wood rot and structural damage.

How Long Does It Take?

On average, a basic inspection for mold takes 2 hours to complete. For more detailed inspections on an entire house, it can take up to 6 hours. Following an inspection, an inspector will have an idea of the amount of mold the home has. However, they will wait until the full results of the inspection arrive before fully indicating the presence of mold. Typically, the results take 24-48 hours to appear. The report will indicate the count of specific spores in a room, as well as visual findings.

Call Us for Mold Testing

Inspecting for mold is an essential part of buying a home. It provides the information needed for homebuyers to determine if a house needs remediation. Schedule a mold test with our team of inspectors today.

Read more