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Quick Tips

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After writing up my question about the water meter tip I was taught a few years back, I thought I would ask folks what are some of your golden tips.

When you arrive at an inspection, we all take a moment and just generally look at the property. Before you get into the meat of the inspection, what quick keys, or tips do you look for that may tell you, OK I need to make sure of this or that or similar.

Another tip I was taught, by the same guy who showed me the water meter tip, was to look at the other homes on the block as well. If there are similar home designs, as in they were built at the same time, how do they compare. Is there an addition on the property your inspecting that's not on the other homes, that otherwise would be the same? If there is, then I know there are a few more things to look for.

What are some of your tips?

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I drive around the neighborhood.

Where does the neighborhood "runoff"water go?

What is "down the street"--found an undisclosed ? airport once

Train tracks? Major highway? Active quarry?

What has been done to the neighbor's houses?

Street signs? Odors? More stuff? Unusual noises?

All this before I get out of my inspectormobile.

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This is so basic that you probably already know it, but just in case...

Look for an overuse of air fresheners. Around here where we have a lot of homes on raised foundations with crawlspaces (and a high water table), moisture problems are common. Invariably, a boatload of air fresheners -- plug in or otherwise -- indicates an attempt to cover up that telltale musty odor indicating something rotten in the land down under.

There's one other thing I'd watch out for, especially in an otherwise sparsely furnished home. If there's a large amount of stuff piled ANYWHERE, look carefully around/behind it. It's not unusual for Joe Homeowner to attempt to camouflage a problem with piles 'o stuff hoping you will be too lazy to move it. In my experience, this is especially true in garages.

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1. Always keep a "Sweet Roll" (roll of toilet paper) in your vehicle

2. If you are testing the oven, place your keys on top so that you can't leave without making sure it is off.

3. Use hot water to check for leaks in the sinks. Hot water will make leaks that are clogged with soap or grease show up better.

4. Look at the soft metal (vents, flashing, gutters, window, etc.) for hail dents and dings. This is a Red flag to look at the shingles very carefully.

5. Always have something to clean your hands with. Alcohol gel works good.

I'm sure I can think of more things that I have discovered over the years.

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