Home buyers, sellers, and realty agents who need to understand what is involved in a professional home inspection have, at last, a simple, easy-to-understand guidebook in “The Pocket Idiot’s Guide to Home Inspections” by Bobbi Dempsey and Mike Kuhn.
When I picked up this handy-size book, I thought it would be superficial “fluff” about professional home inspections. I was wrong. Instead, this little book is filled with important, profitable and authoritative information about professional home inspections.
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One of the co-authors, Mike Kuhn, is a professional inspector with 17 years of experience thoroughly inspecting homes. He even owns a HouseMaster home inspection franchise. The other co-author, Bobbi Dempsey, is a professional writer who makes the details easy to understand.
Without getting boring, this innovative book clarifies the home inspection details that buyers, sellers and realty agents need to know.
For example, the electrical chapter is especially detailed, telling novices like me what to look for to spot good and bad home electrical situations. To illustrate, I thought all aluminum wiring was bad and very dangerous. Not so. Although copper wiring is much safer, aluminum wiring was installed in many homes during the 1960s. The authors say it is safe, and won’t overheat, if it is one size larger than copper to carry the same load.
Although I’ve been buying and selling homes for more than 35 years, I wish I had learned earlier many of the simple home inspection details explained in this simple but very valuable new book.
Especially profitable reading is the “Finding a Home Inspector” chapter. Amazingly, the book reports 69 percent of home buyers found their inspectors through recommendations from a local real estate agent. Instead, the authors suggest locating a local qualified, experienced inspector through the American Society of Home Inspectors or the National Institute of Building Inspectors.
But the authors alert readers that NIBI requires its members to carry errors and omissions insurance although ASHI does not. State licensing is an extra safeguard, the authors explain.
The book’s most humorous section is “Sure Signs of a Bad Inspector.” The authors list includes “the inspector completes the entire inspection in less than 10 minutes; the inspector offers to give you a ‘good deal’ on home repairs; or tells you his cousin can fix that crack in your driveway; the inspector writes the inspection report in crayon on the back of a pizza box; and the inspector doesn’t see the need for insurance, since he thinks that he does a ‘pretty good job.'” Watch out, David Letterman.
Chapter topics include “Home Inspections 101”; “Starting at the Top: The Roof”; “Plumbing: Will Your Money Go Down the Drain?” “Electricity”; “Heating and Air Conditioning”; “Doors and Windows”; “Walls, Floors, Ceilings, and Stairs”; “Basements, Foundations, Land, and Property”; “Bathrooms and Kitchens”; “Fireplaces and Chimneys”; and “Structural Framing System.”
Having read many home inspection books, I especially recommend this concise little tome, which explains the essentials without boring the reader. The authors explain only the important details, skipping the non-essentials, while concentrating on what to expect in a thorough home inspection. On my scale of one to 10, this superb new book rates a solid 10.
“The Pocket Idiot’s Guide To Home Inspections,” by Bobbi Dempsey and Mike Kuhn (Alpha-Penguin Group, Indianapolis, Ind.), 2004, $9.95, 173 pages; Available in stock or by special order at local bookstores, public libraries and www.amazon.com.
(For more information on Bob Bruss publications, visit his
Real Estate Center).
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