Archive for 3. Home Inspector Patrick
We’re used to seeing electrical receptacles (outlets) installed in a certain way…the ‘smiley face’ (see illustration 1). You may have noticed that some of the outlets in your house (usually one in each room – bedrooms, living room, etc.) are installed ‘upside down’ (see illustration 2). Why? Well, if properly wired, the top half of the outlet will be controlled by a switch (the bottom half should always be non-switched or ‘hot’). This is so you can plug a lamp into the outlet (again, top half) and turn it on/off with a switch (usually near the entry to the room). Why am I spending time writing about this you may ask? Well, it is quite often I go into a house and find switches taped in the down/off position and/or see notes on switches saying “Don’t turn off”. The reason? The home owner has plugged a computer or alarm clock or television into the top half of the upside down outlet and when the switch is turned off that item loses power. Frustrating! Well, little do they know that all they have to do is plug the item into the bottom half of the outlet, or another outlet, and they won’t have to worry about inadvertently turning it off. So why do they install the outlets upside down? That is so you can tell which outlet is controlled by a switch by looking at it. Also, just because you don’t have outlets that are turned upside down (older homes) doesn’t mean you don’t have switched outlets. Do a little detective work with a lamp. Go from outlet to outlet in a bedroom with all the switches ‘off’. You may find the top half (or in some cases the bottom half) of one outlet doesn’t have power. Now go turn the switch(es) on (one by one if multiple) and I’ll bet one of the switches controls that outlet. And so I don’t get emails from any ‘electrical purists’ out there, I know that technically the ‘smiley face’ outlet is installed upside down, but that is a topic for another day.
In a word, YES! If you are buying a home, a home inspection is the best money you can spend regardless of what you’re buying. Brand new home being sold by a builder – get an inspection! Used home being sold by someone who will make repairs – get an inspection! Used home being sold ‘As Is’ – get an inspection! A home that is being sold ‘As Is’ has the same possibility of having major issues as a home being sold by someone who is willing to make repairs. Bottom line – you need to know what you’re buying. The other thing a home inspection provides you is a report with a list of items needing repair that you can work through once you move in or prior to renting/flipping the house. Are you going to inspect the attic? Are you going to inspect the roof? Are you going to make sure the electrical, plumbing and heating/cooling systems are in proper working order? A home inspector will. While the cost of a home inspection is minimal (most fall in the $250 to $400 range) the benefits are immeasurable….especially if you are made aware of an issue (or issues) that could cost thousands of dollars to fix. Not getting a home inspection on a used home is akin to not having a mechanic look at a used car before buying it. So unless you plan on performing an inspection of the home you’re buying yourself, get a home inspection. It will be well worth the cost and, in the end, you’ll be glad you did. One last note – don’t let anyone talk you out of getting a home inspection because “it’s a waste of money….the bank won’t agree to fix anything anyway”. That’s bad advice! Find out more at my website. Or, if you are home shopping try www.myazfamilyhome.com or www.azfamilyrealty.com or www.azfamilyrealty.com.
Home Inspector Pat will educate us on the latest and greatest with Home Inspections. He will provide us with expert advice, and answer any questions with regards to home inspection that your might have!