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Buyers of Vacant Homes Need Independent House Inspectors

June 24th, 2009

Existing defects in homes become worse if the homes have been unoccupied for a long time so allocate time and money to hire independent house inspectors to ensure that what you are buying is worth your investment.

According to Bill Richardson, who heads the 6,000-member American Society of Home Inspectors, the most common cause of defects that house inspectors discover as they conduct home inspection is neglect or lack of maintenance.

House inspectors have found that owners do not change furnace and air conditioning filters, do not repair windows and doors and do not fix leaking plumbing fixtures.

Problems are also magnified in houses that have been foreclosed and abandoned. Some frustrated homeowners destroy parts of the house before they are evicted. Other vacant foreclosed homes are damaged by thieves, vandals, squatters, drug addicts and young people just looking for some place to move around.

Mold can also grow in a house that has been unoccupied for a long time, especially in a unit where water is leaking from pipes or dripping from faucets. Thin mold can quickly turn into black mold after only a few weeks if parts of the house are wet.

Kathleen Kuhn, head of inspection service HouseMaster, advises prospective home buyers to hire independent house inspectors to do home inspections on houses they are planning to buy. Independent home inspectors are not biased towards the seller, builder or realtor in the home purchasing process. They see to it that the buyer knows what he is paying for with his or her money and they help the buyer decides whether to walk away from the purchase or negotiate with the seller for a discount or for repair.

But HouseMaster has offered tips to prospective homebuyers for detecting defects on their own before they hire independent house inspectors for the final home inspection.

Check the electrical system. See to it that there are no electric wires hanging or hiding under carpets. Excessive use of extension cords indicates that the electric system of the house was not well planned or outdated.

Next to check is the plumbing system. When you turn faucets, the water pressure should be enough to serve your needs. Low water pressure could mean problems with the piping systems or connections to the community water system.

Check horizontal cracks in the foundation of the house because these indicate major problems that need excavation and major repairs.

Ceiling or wall stains also indicate problems in insulation or moisture control systems.

To ensure that you are buying a house worth your investment, choose from among independent house inspectors who are members of reputable home inspection associations.

Home Inspectors

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