Poll Reveals That Home Inspection Oversights Lead to Major Expenses for Homeowners; Angie’s List Offers Tips to Help Consumers

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Angie's List reveals the results for its recent home inspection poll. Drawing on the real-life experiences and feedback from many of its members across the U.S., Angie's List has put together a list of tips to help consumers.

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Ask questions. Do your homework. And, take your time to make sure you find the right person for the job. You want to make sure your dream house doesn't turn out to be a nightmare in disguise.

A home inspection is an important step for in the property buying process, says Angie's List founder Angie Hicks. According to a recent nationwide poll* of Angie's List members, 30 percent said their home inspector's oversights ended up becoming a major expense down the road. Some of the costly mistakes included mold, asbestos, termites, leaking roofs, even rats on one member's property!

"These scenarios are all too familiar," says Hicks. "Each day, thousands of home inspections are done across the country, with potentially costly ramifications for homeowners if they aren't done thoroughly and properly."

Angie's List talked to home inspectors as well. They shared their stories about the unusual situations they've come across. In Denver, an inspector found a section of a house being held up by a car jack. A Charlotte inspector discovered sewage backing up into the air conditioning vents of one house and in Portland an inspector found a skeleton from a house built on an Indian burial ground.

Hicks says home inspections are typically the "last look" a buyer will get before making what will be their largest single investment. "That's why it's important to take the time to find a qualified, experienced professional who is going to do a comprehensive home inspection that you can rely on."

Other findings of the Angie's List poll:

  •     62 % homeowners say they have been involved in a home inspection within the last two years
  •     68 % found their home inspector through their real estate agent
  •     36 % spent between $300 and $400 on a home inspection (The cost of an inspection depends on a number of factors including the size of the house, its age, and other services such as septic and radon testing).
  •     14 % were not satisfied with the inspection

Drawing on the real-life experiences and feedback from its more than 500,000 members in 124 cities across the U.S., Angie's List has put together its own list to help consumers:

  •     Always do your homework: Angie's List can provide you with experiences other members have had with local inspectors. Check your home inspector's credentials. Ask to see proof of state certification or proof of membership in either the National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI) or the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). Keep in mind that the home inspector industry is not regulated in some states, so proof of professional membership may be your best indication of an inspector's qualifications.
  •     Check their experience: Both NAHI and ASHI require a minimum of 250 inspections, however most experienced professionals will say it's better to find someone who's performed at least 1,000 inspections and has at least three-to-five years of full-time experience.
  •     Are they insured? Do they have general liability and errors and omission (E&O) insurance? Ask to see physical proof of coverage before you commit.
  •     Get involved: While it's not required that you attend the inspection, it's a good idea that you're there to ask the inspector any questions about areas that need repair. Typically, a home inspection takes about two to four hours.
  •     Know what an inspector should be looking for. This includes structural problems; roof damage; fire hazards, such as improperly vented chimney flues; electrical safety issues, including old wiring; and problems with plumbing and major appliances, like the HVAC system and hot water heater.
  •     Ask to see the inspection report: Many inspectors provide the report the same day as the home inspection. The report should be thorough and easy to understand. If the inspector notices problems with the house, it doesn't mean you shouldn't buy it - you'll know in advance what to expect and the seller may agree to fix those repairs.
  •     Home inspections aren't just necessary for old houses: Newer houses can have just as many problems as an older house. And, if you are building a house, inspections at key points during construction should be a part of the process.

"Remember that a home inspection is supposed to warn you about any problems with the property before you buy it," Hicks adds. "Ask questions. Do your homework. And, take your time to make sure you find the right person for the job. You want to make sure your dream house doesn't turn out to be a nightmare in disguise."

*1,428 Angie's List members took the poll. Responses are representative of Angie's List members, but not the general public.

Angie's List is where consumers turn to get the real scoop on local contractors and companies in more than 280 different categories. Currently, more than 500,000 consumers across the U.S. rely on Angie's List to help them find the right contractor or company for the job they need done. Members have unlimited access to the list via Internet or phone; receive the Angie's List magazine, which includes articles on home improvement and maintenance, consumer trends and scam alerts; a monthly newsletter with even more information and coupons; and they can utilize the Angie's List complaint resolution service. Get more information and consumer tips at http://www.angieslist.com.

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Cheryl Reed
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