The Valley Roots Team is very busy with the Spring market, but we are committed to providing our clients with pertinent real estate information! In our market, it is very common to include a home inspection contingency with an offer because Virginia is known as a “Caveat Emptor” or “buyer beware” state. This means that the responsibility of discovering the condition of the property lies soles on the buyer. And since the average buyer is not able to identify visible defects while touring a home, we recommend hiring a professional to inspect and report on the condition of the property.
To provide a more thorough understanding, we invited Benjamin Meredith, a certified VA Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR) home inspector in the Shenandoah Valley region, to the office for an interview!
Q: Hello Benjamin! What do you do?
Benjamin: It is best described on the DPOR website, but a home inspection is a non-invasive, visual evaluation of the property’s basic structure, the structure’s foundation or basement, interior, exterior, roof, electrical, plumbing and heating and cooling systems. The purpose of an inspection is to detect major visible problems or defects and unsafe conditions.
Q: How long have you been a home inspector?
Benjamin: I have 17 years of experience running my own business: Building Knowledge; I built my own house; I worked with family business in construction for 10 years; there was a training course in Maryland… does that cover the question? Also, I am certified voluntarily through DPOR, which is the only option right now, but DPOR will require licenses in July 2017. I am well on my way to getting that license.
Q: What is the strangest thing you have seen in a home inspection?
Benjamin: I once found marijuana in an attic above a teenagers bedroom. The plot twist is that the homeowner was there. Another time I found 30 mountains of raccoon poop in an attic, which is the worst find for the homeowner because racoon poop requires specific remediation as it can carry diseases and roundworm eggs.
Q: What are the most commons problems that you see?
Benjamin: Moisture damage around windows and doors, leaking wax seals at toilets, improper non-functioning electrical, plumbing leaks.
Q: Do you offer a critique on price based on condition?
Benjamin: Oh no, never.
Q: What other services do you offer?
Benjamin: Radon testing, energy audits (Home Energy Rating System index), but no lead-based paint testing, and no mold testing.
Q: What maintenance items are people missing?
Benjamin: Heating and Air; if you have one or more of those systems, service it annually!
Q: Do you find one season to have the worst inspections?
Benjamin: Not really, as each season presents its own challenges and stress on a house.
Q: Are newer homes easier to inspect?
Benjamin: Typically, but not always. New houses can be challenging because the issue might just be occurring at the given time of inspection. On top of that, I have to determine when the work is poor workmanship vs. when it is something done simply wrong. There are many ways to build a home (building science is a hotly contested issue), so my opinion on those matters is often highly contested and often not welcome to a builder.
Q: Is there anything you hate doing as part of your job?
Benjamin: Yes, going back to the home to re-inspect after repairs have been made. Again, there are 5 different ways to repair one thing, and it is usually done in the cheapest way possible. But, is it the way I would want it? Or is it repaired? These are the kind of things I have to weigh when responding to the buyer and the seller.
Q: What’s a good tip for any current homeowner?
Benjamin: Put more insulation in your attic. And if you have duct work in a crawl space or in an attic, have those joints sealed with HVAC duct tape.
Q: What is the best investment when buying a house?
Benjamin: A Home inspection! And an energy audit!
Thanks, Benjamin, for your work! An inspection is a scary part of selling or buying a home, but hopefully, with a qualified home inspector, you can sell and buy with confidence!
*Interview is a sketch of what was said- the author took some liberties with the quotations which were approved by the interviewee. Buildknow.com for more about Benjamin!