Did you get a Home Inspection?

Yaaaay! Another question! This one comes from an anonymous reader:

I’m not sure if this question has been answered, but looking through your blog, I cant help but wonder: Did you get a home inspection before buying your house??!

Good Question! The answer is YES, we did! Because I’m pretty sure it’s required by law. But it was probably just about the most generic inspection you could get. It’s the only home inspection report I’ve ever seen, so I guess I’m not really sure how it compares to other inspections, but to my unprofessional eye, it looked about as unprofessional and generic as a home inspection could get. We just hired whoever our realtor recommended. I’m googling the name of the company that did the inspection, and nothing comes up. They have very little web presence.  Don’t know if that’s good or bad.

But I’m guessing you’re asking this because you’re looking at all of the home improvement posts and thinking, “OMG, why did you buy that house???  Did you know it was falling apart before you bought it???

So, as I think back on all the projects we’ve done since we bought the place back in 2006,  I don’t think we’ve encountered anything we didn’t know about the house before we bought it that a better inspection would have told us.  Sure there have been surprises:

  • It would have been nice to know that the framing in the bathroom had significant water damage, but a better inspection wouldn’t have been able to tell us the extent of the water damage – I don’t think.
  • It would have been nice to know that the chimney was totally messed up, but the attic space was sealed off when we bought the place, so no inspector would have been able to tell us that.
  • A better inspection probably would have tipped us off to some of the code violations in our circuit breaker box, but we were certainly prepared for there to be some strange things going on with the wiring before we bought it.
  • It would have been nice to know that the flared eave feature results in ice dam city, but I’m not sure that’s the sort of thing inspectors even report on.
  • etc.
That being said, I’m sure there are plenty of things wrong with the house that a better inspection would have tipped us off on that we haven’t yet figured out on our own.  I also doubt that a better inspection would have changed our mind about buying the place – we loved it that much! I am a strong believer that a good home inspection can be invaluable – and the next time we buy a house we will definitely have a high-quality inspection done.
My first call will probably be to old Inspector Reuben – partly because he’s the only home inspector I know, partly because he comments here on the blog and that makes me feel good, but also because he’s laying out some pretty serious karma with the way he’s using the interwebs to teach people about home issues.  Did y’all know he has a seriously useful blog called Minneapolis Home Inspections?  Yea, I didn’t either, until I googled him about two minutes ago.  But I did know about this blog, which has a lot of the same useful content.  Also,  he’s got this thing on Facebook called the Photo of the Day that is a lot of fun – I check it daily.  It’s a lot like There, I Fixed it, except that Reuben takes the time to teach you about why something is wrong, and how it should have been done differently.  Also, I’m hoping that if I link to him enough times, we’ll get to have the following phone conversation someday:
Reuben: What up, Reuben.
Inspector Reuben: What up, Reuben.
Reuben: I like your blog.
Inspector Reuben: Cool, I like your blog, too.
Reuben: So I’m thinking about buying a new house.  Do you want to come inspect it for me?
Inspector Reuben: Mos Def.
Reuben: Great. What’s the going rate these days?
Inspector Reuben: For you? You get the blogger discount because you linked to me all the time (wink).
Reuben: Really? That’s gr-
Inspector Reuben: You didn’t see it since we’re just talking on the phone, but I just winked at you.
Reuben: Huh?

10 comments to Did you get a Home Inspection?

  • Mos def. Thanks for the love.

    My thoughts on a home inspection company with no web presence: they're not professional, they're probably not full time, they're probably new to the business, they'll probably be gone soon, and they depend on real estate agents for referrals.

    If you received a bad referral from your real estate agent, you should let them know. If a real estate agent can't recommend an excellent home inspector, they shouldn't recommend one at all. A crappy home inspection is a waste of money, at best.

    Next time, right?

  • I want to add that we knew for our price range and our desired location, we'd be looking at a fixer-upper and we were excited to try it out. It sure has been an adventure, but even with all the work Reuben has done, I think he still is interested in getting another house that is in bad shape and gutting it and rebuilding it again someday…
    Anyway- you don't have to feel too bad for us when we complain about having to work on house projects since we knew what we were getting into.

  • @Inspector Reuben – All I know is that we paid the guy $350 and it got us a 5 or 6 page worksheet with a bunch of checkmarks, and a handful of hand-written 3-word explanations for a few things (like "shower hits window"). I guess I don't really have a sense for what $350 will get you in the home inspection biz these days. I do know that the guy didn't write a single complete sentence anywhere on the worksheet, and I'd be surprised to hear that he spent more than one hour at the house…

  • @Melanie – WORD – so you're up for replacing the floors upstairs this winter, then? You know that as long as we've got the floors open, we may as well pull up the floor boards and replace all the old wiring in the 1st floor ceiling. And as long as we're doing that, we may as will snake some new networking, coax, and phone cables to the 2nd floor. And as long as we're doing it for one bedroom, we may as well do the other one, too, right? Whole thing should go quick. 14-18 months.

  • For comparison, I charge $375 for homes under 3,000 finished square feet, and this is the report I give InspectorReuben's Home Inspection Report .

  • @InspectorReuben – oh jeez. we got ripped off. I should send you a copy of what I got for $350 just so you can laugh at it.

  • Nathan

    We used Reuben on our house when we were selling. He did a great job, was totally professional, and helped step us through some of the repairs so that we could get the house sold. Thanks Reuben!

  • @Reuben – heck, why not post it here? I'm only half kidding.

    @Nathan – thanks!

  • Keith D

    You should always do your due diligence when selecting a home inpsector. You wouldn't hire a roofer that wasn't licensed,insured, and had good references. Home inspectors come with all different levels of experience, so be sure to check out their background and that they are current on their insurance before hiring
    them.