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Market Conditions, Current Issues, and Exciting Events in Real Estate for Huntsville Alabama and Surrounding Areas

Who wants an attic full of dead squirrels???

Posted by huntsvillerealestateinfo on May 31, 2007

The Importance of a Home Inspection 
Submitted by: Kimberly Grant,
Huntsville Real Estate Agent

Home InspectionI got a call from a good friend and she told me a nightmare of a story she is having with her brand new home.  She is in a new subdivision and is only the third completed home on the block. She has been in the new house for about three months and recently she says she has been hearing noises and scratching sounds that appear to be coming from the attic.  This went on for a while and they eventually called a pest control company to come out.   As it turns out, they have an attic full of flying squirrels.   The company told them to call a wildlife company, but of course, still charged them for a service call.  They contacted the wildlife company who came out and gave them an estimate for $2000 to trap the squirrels and remove them.  They also told them that the squirrels got in through a hole where the roof was not completed and recommended they contact the builder.  It seems as trees and lots were being cleared in the new subdivision the squirrels made their way into the house.  My friend contacted the builder who tells them that they will not pay $2000 for wildlife company to remove the squirrels but they will come and patch the hole and put down poison in the attic.  So of course my question was, “Who wants an attic full of dead squirrels?”  The couple demanded the builder come up with a better solution since it was the incomplete roof that was the source of this problem.  Try to guess the builder’s response…. YOU SHOULD HAVE GOTTEN A HOME INSPECTION.  The builder’s position was that they were willing correct the situation but it their decision in HOW to correct it.  When my friend told me that I said, “But you did get a home inspection, right?”  She said no because her real estate agent and mortgage company told her it wasn’t required and really wasn’t needed since it was new construction.  She said she figured why spend $300 if it wasn’t necessary.  This was one of those time when I really wished I lived in her area so I could have represented her.  I was appalled!! 

Home inspections are not required by law, so it can be tempting to skip them. Inspections cost money and when you’re buying a house the expenses can add up quickly. Youmay feel that adding inspection fees on top of everything else is just too much. On the other hand, a thorough home inspection before you buy can end up saving you money in the long run. An inspection may uncover problems within the property that might give you leverage to negotiate a better price, or may discover problems so severe that you decide against buying the house at all. A home inspection will cost between $200 and $500. All things considered, it’s a small price to pay for peace of mind.  Remember Inspectors are professionally trained to notice all the little details that are easy to miss to the untrained eye.

I guess a few squirrels are not as bad as having faulty wiring causing a fire, structural mistakes, or leaky plumbing causing flooding.  But then again with no home inspection how will you know you don’t have those problems as well.  I think $300 would be well worth just having a little more peace of mind.  And now just a few months later and my friend has paid more than that in service calls for different companies to come find out what was going on.  Additionally, this incident has cost her time and energy which cannot be measured.  Needless to say they are still in debate with the builder over how this situation is to be corrected.  All because they did not get a home inspection.  It really is in a buyer’s best interest to have a home inspection completed prior to purchase so you will not run into unexpected problems.   Anything man made can have flaws and new construction is no difference.  I really hope that real estate agents that represent buyers would not tell their client not to get an inspection but obviously it does happen.  Alabama is a “Caveat Emptor” state.  That means BUYER BEWARE!!  It does not matter if the house is 5 days old or 50 years old, you still need to get an inspection completed before a real estate purchase.  Whether you are in located in a buyer beware state or not, please GET A HOME INSPECTION prior to closing.  Would you purchase a stock without checking its past performance? Would you purchase a car without test driving it? Then make sure you don’t make a major purchase of a home without getting professional insight on the investment.

Kimberly Grant
Realtor, Exit Leon Crawford Realty


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