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Old 02-07-2007, 12:26 PM
 
Location: in my mind
2,746 posts, read 9,857,599 times
Reputation: 1496

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Any recommendations for a home inspection person or company that has SPECIFIC expertise in older homes?

And is very reasonably priced?

I already paid $220 for the first one and then I backed out of the contract because the home just had too much wrong with it, it wouldn't have been something the lender would not have approved. No heat is a big deal with lenders, apparently (even here!).... and the front upstairs balcony needed to be taken down and put up correctly, possible big plumbing problems, roof needed complete replacement, all stuff that would have had to be done before closing and the seller was selling as-is, no repairs.

I am making an offer on a second place and it's bank owned so I REALLY need to know everything about it. I am going to run out of money for this though if I don't purchase this one! It's also being sold "as is". The roof looks new (to me), the countertops in the kitchen are new, and there appears to be central heat, possibly an attic unit. The plumbing was winterized and there is no water service right now to the house, no lights either, because it's bank owned and has been vacant since August.

I know some people have this "old home bias", or they just don't know what to look for. The first guy I used was fine, but what I really wish is that I could find someone to do a "walk through" cheap to eliminate anything OBVIOUS, then from there I could go forward and pay for the full inspection with the other guy. Know what I mean? I wish I knew enough to eliminate a house on my own from eyeballing it but I don't. I could mistake a minor issue for a huge one and vice versa. I could see water damage on a ceiling and freak out, when it could be old and long-since repaired. Or I could see new paint and counters and think "great!" when it's actually covering something up.

I'm not afraid of repairs, but within reason. I cannot get into a situation where there are major issues with plumbing, mold, termite damage, etc.

Any knowledgable old house fanatics in the area who want to take a look with me? I just don't feel like spending another $200 only to find out it's a no-go again... but of course I will do it anyway. *sigh*

It's like shopping for a used car and having to take every single one to a mechanic and pay for them to check it out for you....

Any advice?
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Old 02-07-2007, 04:36 PM
 
530 posts, read 1,498,412 times
Reputation: 233
Default Call this #

210-349-9229 had great experience. will not mention name due to Moderator cut: personal insult moderators!

Last edited by AustinTraveler; 02-07-2007 at 05:09 PM.. Reason: Gee thanks.
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Old 02-07-2007, 10:15 PM
 
12 posts, read 32,303 times
Reputation: 12
You may want to take a building contractor who has been at it a while. I work with a real estate company and that is what a lot of my agents do.
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Old 02-09-2007, 02:08 PM
 
25 posts, read 137,799 times
Reputation: 17
You can also call the building department in the city where the house is located. Many will offer home inspections for under $100 which is much cheaper than a guy who inspects for a living.
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Old 02-09-2007, 02:30 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
8,774 posts, read 18,239,659 times
Reputation: 3634
From personal experience, I don't recommend going with the cheapest person, whatever you do. Your best bet is someone who was formerly a builder/contractor and is now retired and earning some extra income. I highly recommend a little reverse age discrimination.

Now, not that there aren't lots of good home inspectors, but I know that inspectors get huge amounts of work via referrals from realtors. If they regularly find too many 'things' or accidentally 'scare' the buyer, the agent will probably start using other inspectors. I have seen many inspectors go through a house and tell you exactly what does or does not meet code, what must be fixed prior to sale, and what can stay like it is. This is great info, but I want some opinions on some of the items in 'gray' areas, and this usually comes at somewhat of a premium.
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Old 01-25-2008, 12:44 AM
 
115 posts, read 166,851 times
Reputation: 73
I was very happy with Mark Eberwine. Not cheap, but very thorough. It was worth the money just to learn as much as I did during the inspection about codes, standards, things to watch for, etc.Five Star Home Inspections - Home
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Old 01-25-2008, 08:39 AM
 
Location: San Antonio
72 posts, read 210,345 times
Reputation: 25
Amerispec is as rigid as they come- but that is a good thing
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Old 01-25-2008, 11:11 AM
 
454 posts, read 56,813 times
Reputation: 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by fierce_flawless View Post
Any recommendations for a home inspection person or company that has SPECIFIC expertise in older homes?

And is very reasonably priced?

I already paid $220 for the first one and then I backed out of the contract because the home just had too much wrong with it, it wouldn't have been something the lender would not have approved. No heat is a big deal with lenders, apparently (even here!).... and the front upstairs balcony needed to be taken down and put up correctly, possible big plumbing problems, roof needed complete replacement, all stuff that would have had to be done before closing and the seller was selling as-is, no repairs.
I can't help you on a recommendation. We purchased our old house 'as is' and didn't bother with an inspection - it was pretty clear what was wrong. We did have a friend who's a contractor look it over to clarify some issues, but not a big deal. The problems were obvious.

I am surprised you had a problem with the lenders though. Is that only because you would require these things to be fixed first? We had zero problems finding a lender - our loan included the mortgage itself and a bit more for renovations. It had no central air/heat, ancient plumbing which needed to be totally removed and redone, ditto for wiring, roof could do with replacement but patching works for now, needed new pier/beam foundation, the wrap-around porch needed to be totally re-done...all the floors needed to be stripped... I can go on.

The lender was quite happy to lend to us. The lender was ok with no inspection as long as we signed to that effect. We did have some issues finding an insurance company though, and we pay too much for insurance, IMO, but hopefully that'll go down soon now we've painted and fixed the exterior. Unfortunately we haven't yet fixed the porch which is still a safety hazard so they won't knock the cost down yet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fierce_flawless View Post
Any knowledgable old house fanatics in the area who want to take a look with me? I just don't feel like spending another $200 only to find out it's a no-go again... but of course I will do it anyway. *sigh*

Any advice?
I don't think I'm knowledgable enough to help, though I have seen my fair share of old homes/fixer uppers. (if we'd seen this house first we likely would not have bought it, but after seeing 20 houses, we had a better idea of what we could handle) However if you can't find an inspector, how about a decent contractor? I don't know what one would charge.

There's a company called Solis that does a lot of work in our historic district. Not sure of his # but he's google-able.
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Old 01-25-2008, 01:19 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC & San Antonio, TX
794 posts, read 2,918,984 times
Reputation: 500
Thumbs up Great inspector for older homes!

I just purchased a 1920's-era home and had Dean Abel with Professional Inspectors Group do the inspection. I am one of those folks that always buys old houses with lots of renovation work needed... and I know many inspectors who only do newer houses sometimes freak out a bit at the "problems" they find in older homes. However, I would highly recommend Dean as he did an extremely thorough inspection and rooted out issues even I didn't expect to see (which helped me negotiate the sales price down). He then was able to tell me which problems were ones I should really be concerned about and which were simply technicalities. This way I was able to get a much better sense of how much I really needed to invest in renovations, without the bank screaming Chicken Little that "the roof is falling, the roof is falling".

You can reach Dean Abel at Professional Inspectors Group at 210-380-7023 or 210-824-7790 (office). My inspection was $300 for a very thorough 4-hour job (he crawled COMPLETELY under the house - yuck), plus $50 for optional termite report. Not the cheapest but definitely high-quality and very reassuring! The cost of the inpection paid for itself 30x over in the savings I negotiated.
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