Buyer is advised not to undergo a full inspection


Q: We recently had a home inspection on the house we are buying. Unfortunately the area under the building was flooded on the day of the inspection and the sump pump was broken, so our inspector was unable to inspect the crawl space. After the sump pump is fixed we would like our inspector to go back but our agent says it is not necessary as the house is in good shape. We want the termite inspector to go back, and we want our home inspector to do the same. Should we request further inspections or take the advice of our agent?

A: Any agent who would advise against a full home inspection, especially regarding the sub-area, needs to learn a lot about disclosure requirements, not to mention professional ethics and common sense. Some of the most serious flaws discovered by home inspectors are found under buildings. To forego an assessment of this critical area is as foolish as it is risky.

Conditions that home inspectors routinely assess among homes include foundations, frames, property drainage, ventilation, electrical wiring, gas and water pipes, hot air heating ducts, and more. Excluding such considerations undermines the value and purpose of the entire examination.

Additionally, the soil drainage problem under the house requires further evaluation by a geotechnician to determine the cause and the best means to remedy it. The sub-area should also be carefully examined for moisture-related damage due to the flood history.

Reliable agents who genuinely represent their customers’ interests actively promote processes that result in full disclosure. Anyone who wants to discourage carrying out an inspection, especially in the start-up area of ​​a home, exposes their customers and themselves to unnecessary financial liability. Your agent needs to understand this for self-protection and in the interest of future customers.

Q: My house has old plywood paneling and I am interested in upgrading to a stucco facade. I’ve been told this will provide fire safety and improved soundproofing, but I have a few questions. Does the wood paneling need to be removed before the stucco is put in place and is any paint required to make the stucco surface waterproof?

A: Putting stucco in a wooden house is an excellent way to improve energy efficiency, reduce the transmission of outside noise, improve the rigidity of the structure, and minimize future maintenance. Essentially, you are wrapping your home in a solid sheath of wire and cement.

Fortunately, there is no need to remove the existing plywood siding before applying stucco. The wire mesh and waterproof membrane can be installed directly over the siding, as long as the nailing of the fabric matches the arrangement of the wall studs under the siding.

It is not necessary to paint the stucco for the waterproofing, as the waterproofing membrane provides the necessary moisture barrier. Elastomer paint can be applied for additional moisture protection, but this is not required if the stucco is properly applied.

• To write to Barry Stone, visit him online at www.housedetective.com or write to AMG, 1776 Jami Lee Court, Suite 218, San Luis Obispo, CA 94301.

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