Home Inspections are being waived by some first-time, less-experienced, or new-to-Maine home buyers. They don't realize the potential for future issues in the home. These three examples are from inspections from this week. That's right. This week alone.
Second Floor Plumbing Leak:
From the naked eye, nothing is going on. No stains, no recent painting, no indication of any issues, and no water visible in the second floor bathroom. Using thermal imaging, I can tell you there's a leak on the top side of the drywall ceiling (beneath the tub) after I ran the water for about 10 minutes. How is that possible? The current owners use this as a guest bathroom. If you choose to use this bathroom regularly, you're in for a surprise shortly after you take ownership. Water will damage the celling and could lead to rot/mold and significantly increase the repair costs. Quite simply, you wouldn't see this without thermal imaging, regardless of home buying experience.
Beautiful Ceiling...Nothing Wrong Here
Same View/Same Time: Water Leak Directly Below 2nd Floor Tub Drain
Not all insulation is safe. At the time of installation, Vermiculite insulation was all the rage. It was efficient, light, and easy to install. Fast forward 70-80 years, we now realize that vermiculite often contains asbestos and breathing asbestos can be very hazardous. Also this week, I found homes with asbestos pipe wrap installed in the 1940s to improve efficiency of steam or hydronic heating systems. The wrap had surface damage from the current or past owners living there, making the asbestos friable and airborne (breathable.) Asbestos should always be removed by a hazardous materials specialist.
Vermiculite Insulation (May Contain Asbestos)
Vermiculite Insulation (Boatloads of it)
Friable Asbestos Pipe Wrap
Concealed Roof Damage
Even when close, roof damage can be hard to identify unless you are right on top of it. In this case, the ridge looked fine even when standing (or from a drone) on the edge. Upon closer review, tape was placed over the damaged ridge. The is absolutely not a solution and it will leak...soon. Roof issues are slow and progressive. A little water over a long time will cause mold, rot, and property damage. Damage often occurs well before the occupant is aware of the leak.
Roof Looks Fine
Yeah, that's tape...(Zip Tape to be precise)
We're not looking to scare or intimidate, but to educate. We've inspected thousands of Maine homes and know what works and what doesn't. More importantly, we know where to look and what to look for. It's not worth the risk. Whether you inspect your home before you buy or after, it needs to be done.
Consider these three costs:
Home Inspection: $450-$500 for an average sized single family home
Identified Issue Repair (prior to further damage): $5,000
Issue Repair After Further Damage: $10,000+
Inspecting before is preferred, but inspecting after the sale is still a good investment.
Thanks for reading,
Matt and Matt