Home Inspections | Tips for Redondo Beach Buyers

What issues will your Home Inspection come up with?

Your offer has been accepted, escrow is open and EMD is in, your lender has "locked" your rate, you've received the real estate disclosures from the seller and now it is time to do your home inspection which most likely will lead to a new round of negotiating repairs or credits and even could potentially kill your deal. And make no mistake, some deals are canceled due to inspections and issues that can't be resolved between buyers and sellers.

Let's start with the fact that your potential new home have issues and the home inspector will likely come up with a seemingly endless list of problems after the walk-through. Don’t panic. Every home (including mine) has problems, issues, deferred maintenance and other issues you've probably never even heard of. At least not yet.

There are times when you should worry and I'll get to those. But not every issue is mission-critical, and your inspector will know which problems you should tackle first.

Almost anything can be fixed There are a few starkly frightening home inspection terms that seem to be in everyone’s vocabulary: mold, radon, and asbestos. And yes, they’re scary—but no scarier than a roof that needs replacing, home inspectors say. People who write articles tend to scare homeowners about mold or radon (and they can be scary issues). But there are even worse issues (sorry) so don’t worry so much about mold and radon because (almost) “everything is upgradable, fixable, or replaceable.

It is very common to find that water heaters are not properly installed, electric panels or sub panels need upgrading, some furnaces from the 1980s while still functional are now dangerous, garage doors may not properly reverse which can be a safety issue, roofs may be near the end of life and it is very common to find wood damage (termites).

Unless a home is built on a hill real structural problems are not that common. Many Redondo Beach buildings are on "slab" meaning there is no raised foundation. Even the older tract homes with raised foundations rarely have structural issues and many of those can be fixed for a lot less than you might think.

Having said that, one thing you should worry about is water.  No, it’s not always a deal breaker, but it’s important to address any water-related issues before the deal closes—or at least immediately afterward. Make a note of issues such as puddles and leaky ceilings. And give special attention to anything below grade.

When a home inspector finds water related problems whether they be leaks or intrusion, what I want to understand is what is the cause.

I'm a lot less worried about a broken pipe no matter how nasty a leak it caused or an old roof than I am about chronic problems that are either expensive or impractical to fix.

Here's an example.

I was representing a buyer of a home built on a lot with a downgrade to the street meaning that whatever water was on the property flowed downhill towards the house. There was also a retaining wall on the front lawn with no drainage so that any water would have no way to escape.

The house had a number of rooms "downstairs" and (no surprise here) also had mold problems.

So, while the mold could have been fixed, there was no way to reasonably avoid it returning and needless to say that escrow was canceled.

Another issue that comes up is the sewer line which can be more costly than all the other problems. General home inspectors do not usually do sewer line videos. For that you need a plumber.

Lastly, if the house you are buying has an old fireplace, best to get that checked out as well because many need repairs.

As you are going through the process, remember that home inspectors can’t predict the future. You might want to know how many more years the roof will hold up—and while your inspector might be able to give you a rough estimate, he can’t give you a precise timeline.  Sorry, folks: They don’t, and they can’t.

Inspectors can’t tell you how long things will last but they can tell you if it’s in good shape.

Find the balance between your heart and brain It’s easy to forget your love for the home when you’re counting the dollar signs and hours you might have to spend on repairs. But just remember to take a deep breath, think rationally, and consider whether it’s a smart investment in your future.

Barring any major renovations needed—such as a new roof or mold removal—your inspector’s visit will simply provide a to-do list. But not everything needs fixing immediately, so don’t let a long list dampen your love for the home. Just take things one at a time.