Are You Getting Your New Home Inspected?

Are You Getting Your New Home Inspected?

A home inspection is a crucial step in the home buying. After an offer is accepted in the home buying process, the contract usually details how much time a new homeowner has to get an inspection and negotiate repairs.

What to do before an inspection?

It is important for new homeowners to inspect inside and outside parts of the house for damage before the professional inspection.  The landscape, drains, grading and possible retaining walls should also be examined.  This will prepare a new homeowner to ask the inspector questions while attending the inspection. Inspections can last a few hours so do not feel bad about asking too many questions.

What should a new homeowner expect to learn in an inspection?

An inspection can inform new homeowners of electrical malfunctions, appliance life expectancy, plumbing issues, future repairs, and structural problems with the walls, roof, basement, ceilings, and the foundation. Inspectors can also offer advise on how to maintain a home and its unique features and machinery.

How to choose a home inspector?

Homeowners want inspectors that are experienced and detailed oriented. It is also important to ensure they have a bond or professional errors and omissions insurance. A Real estate agent can suggest an inspector, but homeowners should still do their own research. Ohio does not have a law that requires home inspectors to have a license. There are however certified programs and classes inspectors may take. Asking relatives and friends who own homes for recommendations, checking websites, and reading reviews can help make a homeowner feel confident about choosing an inspector. Researching early on in the home buying process can help a homeowner secure a preferred inspector.

How much does an inspection cost?

An inspection may cost anywhere from a few hundred to a thousand dollars. It is important to verify with the inspector everything that is included in an inspection package and ask for a sample report. The more detailed the report the higher the cost. The larger landscape, drains, grading and retaining walls could raise the cost of the inspection. Home inspectors are usually not licensed to give advice regarding pest control, chemicals or gases, so hiring a professional in a more specific area may be needed.

The lawyers at Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. can help homeowners in a consumer litigation lawsuit if a home inspector failed to provide promised information. Contact us at (614)944-5219 today or send us a message on our website by clicking here.


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How to Avoid and Fix Contract Disputes With a General Contractor

How to Avoid and Fix Contract Disputes With a General Contractor

Many homeowners need a checklist on hiring a contractor to ensure the work gets done correctly. At some point, most homeowners will need to hire a general contractor for a home improvement project or addition to the property, but many do not know where to begin when searching, or what to look out for in order to avoid a contract dispute. The homeowner is the first and last line of defense when it comes to choosing the right general contractor, and deciding on the right one starts with proper research.

The internet offers myriad resources for reviewing and researching general contractors. Sites such as Google and Angie’s List offer ratings and reviews that can be helpful in deciding on which general contractors are trustworthy and capable. Additionally, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and Better Business Bureau register complaints made against businesses and general contractors. Homeowners can check to see if potential general contractors have any formal complaints, and avoid any potential contract disputes.

The State of Ohio does not require general contractors to be licensed, but most cities in the state do, such as Columbus. Homeowners can check with city websites to see if a potential general contractor is licensed and bonded. A bonded general contractor has some sort of financial policy in place to pay damages against them in the event of a lawsuit or contract dispute. While a general contractor does not need to be bonded to work, it is typically a sign that the general contractor is responsible, diligent, and most importantly, doing what they can to avoid a contract dispute. You should only hire a contractor who has an insurance policy in place, and any such contractor should be happy to provide you a copy.

Homeowners would be wise to have an idea of what permits or licenses will be required for their specific job. A good general contractor will know and include such expenses in a written estimate, but homeowners would be wise to take the time to research costs. An attorney can offer advice on which permits and licenses would be required for a specific job and how to avoid illegal behavior in completing a project.

General contractors will be able to offer items that help potential clients decide for themselves whether or not they are capable of handling a job. Many keep portfolios of projects they are proud of and regularly share with potential clients. A good general contractor will be proud of their work and will make available several satisfied past clients as references. Portfolios and references are excellent resources to help determine how general contractors interact with their clients, and whether or not they can complete the job in a way that is satisfying to the client.

Cost is always at the front of everyone’s mind in a home improvement project, and general contractors are aware of this. They will be able to provide written estimates of the job, including itemized lists of materials, labor estimates, and any miscellaneous costs that may incur, such as permits. Homeowners will want to get at least three estimates from three separate general contractors to get an idea of how much the job will cost.

After settling on a general contractor, homeowners can ensure the contract they sign is fair for all parties. A general contractor should not get more than 20% of the total cost of the job up front, and will should earn a ask for a 10-20% profit over the costs. All guarantees, warranties, and promises should be written in the contract. It is perfectly normal for general contractors to be paid in stages of completion with final payment contingent upon inspection from a third party. Homeowners can also prearrange to pay for materials with an agreed upon supplier and have them delivered to the site, removing the general contractor from the process entirely.

No advice can hold true for every situation, and homeowners should always consult with a professional if they are concerned that a general contractor may be taking advantage of them. Call Doucet & Associates at (614) 944-5219 if you are concerned that a contract may be unfair, or if you need assistance unraveling a bad transaction or settling a contract dispute.


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