These home-inspection tips can save buyers several thousand dollars
There’s more than meets the eye in the never-more-important real estate home inspection industry.
No one knows this more than the husband-and-wife team of Adam and Angie Cane, who in 2018 smoothly transitioned from the restaurant/hospitality management field to owning a Livonia-based HomeTeam Inspection Service franchise.
The Canes, whose home-inspection territory includes Livonia, Canton, Northville, Novi, Plymouth, Westland and South Lyon, among other neighboring communities, caution home buyers to pay special attention to some difficult-to-see items before they complete the home-purchasing process – or they may needlessly be paying big bucks for future avoidable fixes.
“When we’re doing a walk-through of a property, a lot of home buyers will ask us, for example, ‘What do you think of the roof?’,” said Adam Cane, who is a hands-on inspector while Angie handles the business and scheduling side of the franchise. “While the roof is obviously important, one thing that is often overlooked is the sewer line that runs from the home to the city or township’s sewer system. It’s completely underground, so there’s no way to see the condition it’s in without a special camera.”
Cane said if the sewer line is in poor condition and ultimately needs to be replaced, the home owner can be out as much as $30,000 for the non-insured replacement procedure. He said the lines need to be scoped even for newer homes as new-builds are often connected to decades-old lines.
“We have a special camera that scopes the sewer line to check on the condition,” Cane said. “It works a lot like a colonoscopy, letting us see things you can’t see without it. It’s an extra (cost) for the home buyer, but it could save thousands of dollars down the road. More and more real-estate professionals are making sure this line scope is done.”
Once a sewer line problem is identified during an inspection, Cane said the sellers and buyers often negotiate the price of the property and reach a harmonious selling point.
A for-sale home’s levels of radon – an invisible and odorless naturally occurring gas that can cause lung cancer – should also be on home buyers’ radar.
Cane said HomeTeam has radon testing units that allow it to detect unhealthy radon levels. The tests can also be purchased at big-box stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot.
“Southeast Michigan has infamously high levels of radon in the soil,” Cane noted. “It’s especially important to catch high radon levels in a home where there is below-ground living quarters.”
Cane said once an issue is detected, radon mitigation devices are available that can be installed into the home’s sump pump or tiles in the foundation.
While home inspectors often are required to reveal bad news to buyers and sellers alike, Cane views his profession as one that plays a key role in avoiding future financial calamities.
“As an inspector, I’m being paid for my opinion and my knowledge of homes,” he said. “I’ll find at least one issue with every home I inspect and during the walk-through I’ll provide the buyer with a detailed report of what I find. I make it a point, though, to not let my opinion be the thing that makes a sale fall through; rather, I serve as someone who can shed light on the home’s problems and help the buyer and seller come to an agreement.”
Cane said he and Angie’s experience in the hospitality industry has been invaluable in the home-inspection field and they’ve developed a keen knowledge of how to work with people and build relationships.
HomeTeam is unique compared to several home-inspection companies in that it sends two employees to each inspection, with each inspector possessing an expertise in certain areas.
“With two inspectors we can complete the inspection in half the time it would normally take,” Cane said. “This was huge during the COVID pandemic when the real estate market was robust. With our team concept we can complete three inspections per day.”
To connect with the Canes, visit their website or give them a call at 734-355-4084.
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