Friday, April 27, 2018

Reason #8,627 to have a house inspected

During a Complete Home Inspection recently, I could tell that there was something drastically wrong with a basement wall. It was out-of-plumb. Not having X-ray vision, I couldn't see exactly what was happening behind the drywall. But I told my clients and their realtor what I suspected was going on. And, I explained to them that this was a major problem.

At my suggestion, they brought in a structural engineer and a contractor to take a look. They were allowed to cut open the drywall, something I can't do during an inspection. Here's what the realtor passed along - "The structural engineer and my contractor agreed that the single beam that is 'spliced' should have been a double beam and not spliced in that location. They are going to work together--(the engineer) will work up specs and (my contractor) will do the job--build a support column and push the wall back to plumb. (My contractor) can do the work for $2500-3500. (The engineer) said that the home is structurally sound other than that framing defect. Thank you for making a big deal--because it is a structural problem, and the structural engineer did confirm that. Would be awful if you didn't call it out and these buyers had to pay for the repair when it was discovered later. That is what happened to the current sellers and I can tell you they are very angry right now, for good reason. I appreciate your attention to detail and integrity!"

I don't usually refer clients to specialists like structural engineers. I can make repair determinations on most issues. But, in this case, a referral was what was needed. And my clients are satisfied with the outcome. That's what's most important. When they were looking at the house, they had too many other things on their minds to notice an out-of-plumb basement wall. That's what they hired me for. And that's why you should have any house inspected BEFORE you buy. You just never know what might be hidden from plain view.

Whole house inspections, condo inspections, radon testing, mold testing, and more, we do it all for you. Call or E-mail today to schedule your Complete Home Inspection, 913-268-0222, www.completehomeinspectionkc.com.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

"New" Ain't Necessarily So

An interesting day today inspecting furnaces. First, a vacant house had a new-ish furnace that was installed in 2016. It had stickers all over it from the local heating, cooling, and plumbing company that had installed it. They're going to have to come back and fix it. The inside temperature of the house was 42 degrees, though the thermostat was set on 70 degrees. There was power to the furnace, but nothing was working at all. Later in the day, a second house included a brand-new gas furnace in the basement. Sadly, it's an all-electric house.

The description of the house you're looking to buy may say that a furnace, or air conditioner, or other major appliance, is "new". But that doesn't necessarily mean that it has been installed correctly and is working as intended. Yet another reason that it is critically important for you to have a house inspected before you buy it.

You're not looking at the furnace when you're touring the house. You shouldn't have to look at the furnace to determine if it's functioning or if it's even the correct type of furnace. You have other things on your mind. So, let a trained professional with more than 25 years as a certified home inspector take care of that for you.

Whole house inspections, condo inspections, radon testing, mold testing, and more, we do it all for you. Call or E-mail today to schedule your Complete Home Inspection, 913-268-0222, www.completehomeinspectionkc.com.

Friday, December 29, 2017

January is Radon Action Month


January 2018 is Kansas Radon Action Month, designed to educate you about the dangers of radon exposure and encourage you to identify and address radon problems in your home. Radon is a tasteless, odorless, colorless, naturally occurring radioactive gas found in nearly all soils, resulting from the breakdown of uranium. Outdoors, radon is diluted to low concentrations. But once inside an enclosed space, radon can accumulate to significant levels.

About one out of every three radon measurements performed in Kansas are elevated, being above 4 pCi/l (picoCuries per liter). This is true for Johnson, Wyandotte and Leavenworth counties in Kansas, too.

The best way to find out if your house, or the house you're looking to buy, has a radon problem is to have a certified radon professional, such as Miki Mertz of Complete Home Inspection, do a test for you. Complete Home Inspection uses a continuous radon monitor that takes samples over a period of two full days, with the test unit placed in the lowest livable level of the house. Windows are kept closed throughout the time of the test. The test results are then averaged into an overall number for your final report. As mentioned earlier, if the radon level is higher than 4.0piC/l, then it should be fixed, or "mitigated". In Kansas, all residential real estate contracts include a recommendation that home buyers include a radon test on homes purchased. All radon tests performed during real estate transactions in Kansas must be conducted by a state-certified radon tester, such as Miki Mertz of Complete Home Inspection. 

Additional information about radon can be found on the Complete Home Inspection web site at http://www.completehomeinspectionkc.com/radon, at www.kansasradonprogram.org, and at www.epa.gov/radon.
Whole house inspections, condo inspections, radon testing, mold testing, and more, we do it all for you. Call or E-mail today to schedule your Complete Home Inspection, 913-268-0222, www.completehomeinspectionkc.com.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

“Most Wonderful” may be in the eye of the beholder, but, it IS time to talk about important steps to take this time of year.

It's very important to keep the rain gutters on your house free of debris, now that Kansas City has finally gotten some rain and before this winter’s snowfall. Letting fallen leaves clog things up will cause a lot of problems for your house's foundation. Clogged gutters and downspouts lead to overflows and back ups that can put water in your basement. The clogs keep rain water from flowing away from your house's foundation. It, instead, seeks out the cracks in your basement walls. And, when the cold weather gets here to stay, clogged gutters can lead to ice dams, causing all kinds of problems for your roof and walls.

It’s also time to have your fireplace and flue inspected and cleaned. Whether it's the house you're living in now or the house you want to buy, creosote build up in a chimney's flue is very dangerous. Since it is out of sight, it's very easily out of mind, as well. When you have Complete Home Inspection do your Kansas City home inspection, I look at the fireplace, the chimney and the liner, and look up into the flue. If I see signs of trouble, that's when you need to call an expert to do a thorough fireplace inspection for you. Cracks, blockages, and creosote build-up are all going to cause you problems. So, for your safety and your family's safety, have your wood-burning fireplace checked and cleaned yearly.


Happy Holidays from Complete Home Inspection. And use the holidays as a reminder that it’s time to some maintenance on your home.

Whole house inspections, condo inspections, radon testing, mold testing, and more, we do it all for you. Call or E-mail today to schedule your Complete Home Inspection, 913-268-0222, www.completehomeinspectionkc.com.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

"Do I Need to Be There?"

Sometimes, clients ask if they need to attend the Complete Home Inspection being done on the house they’re buying. No, it’s not necessary for you to be there with me during your inspection. But, I prefer having you follow me around in the house while I’m inspecting it. So, if it fits your schedule, please make time to join me.

This month, a client responded to receiving his written report with, “Thank you Miki for taking the time yesterday to inspect our home. I appreciate you explaining everything to me! I will let you know if we have any questions about the report.” And that’s the key. When you follow me through the house during the inspection, I can explain the features of the house to you as we find them – e. g. the main water shut-off, the electrical panel, the furnace filter and how to change it. I can also answer all of your questions as they arise.

It’s your chance to see things first-hand, to see what’s unique about the house you’re buying, and to ask about anything that confuses you or that you want to learn more about. So, please, join me for your Complete Home Inspection.

Whole house inspections, condo inspections, radon testing, mold testing, and more, we do it all for you. Call or E-mail today to schedule your Complete Home Inspection, 913-268-0222, www.completehomeinspectionkc.com.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Defect of the Week

In the last week or so, two different houses were found to have roofs with asphalt shingles covering wood shingles. Sadly, I have to tell my clients that they probably won't be able to get homeowners insurance on such a house until the roof is stripped and replaced. And for the seller, that means that no one will be able to buy their house until something is done about the roof.

For decades, it has been a common practice to cover existing wood shingle roofs with asphalt (or "composition") shingles when the house needed a new roof. It wasn't perfect, but it worked. A few years ago, after many storm related insurance claims, the major insurance companies made a business decision not to write new policies for houses that had asphalt shingles over wood shingles. It doesn't matter what kind of shape the roof is in.

Two, and sometimes three, layers of asphalt shingles are fine.  But, not asphalt over wood. Why? For the insurance company it just costs so much more in labor and materials to replace such a roof system if you were to make a claim in the future. A wood roof has gaps underneath the shingles to allow the roof to "breathe". Asphalt roofs instead need solid decking to go under the felt and shingles. So the asphalt-over-wood roof needs to be stripped to the bare rafters and started from scratch. That's where the expense comes in.
From the outside, the roof may look normal. But once I lift of the edge of the asphalt shingles, and also look in the attic during your Complete Home Inspection, then I know there are two layers, with the asphalt composition shingles over the wood shingles. And that means that the house may be uninsurable.
That's just another reason to have your prospective house inspected by Complete Home Inspection BEFORE you buy it. And for sellers, it's another reason to have your house inspected BEFORE you put it on the market. It's a great way to avoid last-minute surprises for either party, and get some peace of mind at a very hectic time for you.
Whole house inspections, condo inspections, radon testing, mold testing, we do it all for you. Call or E-mail today to schedule your Complete Home Inspection, 913-268-02222, www.completehomeinspectionkc.com.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Not So Fast

You have to move quickly to buy a house in Kansas City as the inventory of existing homes is tight. Your offer on a house will have competition and you may begin to feel that you don't have time to really mull things over, revisit a house, or check things out thoroughly because you might lose the house to someone else. In this case, haste truly does make waste. Just this week, a couple was hustling through the process of making an offer on a house. They hired me to do a Complete Home Inspection for them and we discovered that the two layers of roofing (composite over wood) would keep them obtaining homeowners insurance. They walked away from the deal, avoiding a HUGE problem had they bought the house "as is".

It's even more important for you build a home inspection clause into your offer now so that you'll be able to slow down and find out the condition of the house. Let me thoroughly inspect the property for you, from top to bottom, and give you a written report, complete with photos, detailing my findings. Buying a house is too important to just rush through the process trying to beat everyone else. Do what you have to do to get your offer in before others. But then treat yourself to a Complete Home Inspection before everything's finalized. Too many houses are currently being bought "as is". With your Complete Home Inspection, you'll get some peace of mind knowing that your haste didn't stick you with a problem house.

Whole house inspections, condo inspections, radon testing, mold testing, and more, we do it all for you. Call or E-mail today to schedule your Complete Home Inspection, 913-268-0222, www.completehomeinspectionkc.com.