Inspections for Investment Property: Mold
LESLIE: David in California picked the right place to ask this question. He needs help with a home inspector. I think Tom knows the answer.
DAVID: Great show. I live in California. I’ve always lived in Los Angeles. I have a couple investment properties that had inspections [on all warm climate area] (ph). I’m looking to buy my first investment property in Indianapolis …
DAVID: … where, of course, it snows. So what, as someone not knowing anything about what to look for in a cold climate where it snows, humidity, what should I have an inspector really look for? And even if there’s mold possibly in a basement – I hear it’s kind of common – what should I look for?
TOM: Well, you don’t have to tell the inspector what to look for. That’s what they do. Home inspectors know their neighborhoods very, very well so they know the defects that happen in the neighborhoods. You know, in the 20 years I spent as a home inspector working in the New York/New Jersey area I got pretty good at being able to drive through a development and, literally, on a – from the time I parked the car I could look at a house and say, “Hmm, 1965 house. I bet we’re going to find aluminum wiring here” and be right every time. Because the homes get fairly in the way they’re built.
So, what you want to concentrate on here is finding a good home inspector. You should understand that the standards of practice for home inspectors was established many, many years ago by the American Society of Home Inspectors. And they continue to have a membership process that puts inspectors through their paces to get them to qualify as home inspectors. So I would tell you to go to the website for ASHI – the American Society of Home Inspectors at ASHI.org – A-S-H-I.org. Put in the zip code in the Find an Inspector section for the area in Indiana where you’re buying your home. And then that will deliver to you a list of ASHI-certified inspectors and from that list I would call around and find someone you’re comfortable with. This way you’ll get a good home inspection done and you won’t have to worry about what goes wrong in an area because that’s what those guys do.
DAVID: Right. Is mold kind of common in a basement where there’s a lot of humidity?
TOM: Well, mold is common all over the country. You know, certainly in a warm climate or a damp climate. But having mentioned mold specifically, I should tell you that a home inspector is not – that’s not something that a home inspector necessarily checks for. That would be a mold inspection and that’s slightly different than a home inspection.
Go to the website for ASHI.com. Click on the Standards of Practice and review what’s covered by the home inspection. And even if that inspector that you ultimately choose does not check for mold, I bet you he or she can find – can recommend you to a good guy in the area or a good woman in the area that could do that part of the inspection for you.
DAVID: Well, purr (ph). I greatly appreciate it. Because this is a HUD home so I know there’s going to be a little bit of defect so I want to make sure I cover all the bases so I know what I’m getting into.
TOM: Absolutely a wise thing you’re doing.
David, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
DAVID: Thank you.