Underground Issues: Is Your Dream Home a Dream…or A Nightmare?

Thanks to the composition of our soil, our close proximity to the water table, and frequent rain, Florida homeowners are wary of sinkholes and the risk they pose to our property. A sinkhole is just what it sounds like…a hole that develops under the ground and over time gets larger until the “crust” of soil and earth on top collapse in on themselves, taking anything sitting on top along with them. While not a huge ordeal when out in the woods or in a “natural” area, they are devastating when they develop under a major roadway, a large-scale building, and people’s homes. The worse part? While they are a sort of “natural disaster,” many homeowners are left holding the bill to replace their entire lives with no financial assistance, since many insurance policies don’t cover sinkhole damage and loss outright.
While you can’t 100% predict a sinkhole, there are warning signs that can hint at something unfortunately going on below the ground on your property around your home. What are they?
  • Trees, fence posts, or yard decor (lamp posts or flag poles) slanting or falling over with no outside force causing the problem. Obviously, severe and/or frequent wind can lead to these issues occasionally, as can very wet weather that softens the ground, but if all other conditions are staying steady and you still notice trees tilting significantly, you might have a sinkhole issue.
  • Cracks in your foundation. Almost all foundations develop small, hairline cracks over time as the ground settles and the landscape changes subtly. However, if you notice significant and sudden cracking of your walls, patios, etc. and if you notice that doors are having trouble closing in your home, this can be a sign of a major shift in your foundation and that could be a telltale sign of a sinkhole under your home.
  • Dents, cracks, or holes developing in your yard. This seems obvious, but if you notice changes in the layout of your yard, like a pond draining suddenly, dips or holes showing up in your lawn, or major puddles developing in new places following storms, you could have a sinkhole problem looming on the horizon.
If you are looking to purchase a home in Florida, knowing what to look for regarding the risk of a sinkhole is paramount in making a good decision. Purchasing a home that has known sinkhole and/or foundational issues could turn into a HUGE money pit over time, and leave you with not only countless financial investments in repairs and replacements, but could leave you with no equity in a home if it is deemed no longer inhabitable because of the risk. Having a qualified, experienced inspector is a major part of purchasing a home in Florida. We are trained to look for small issues that indicate a much bugger problem. That crack in the back patio? It could indicate something big…or it could be a simple hairline crack from settling. The same goes for changes in yard landscape, discrepancies in the doors and/or windows, etc. Knowing whether these problems stem from construction mistakes or simple foundational settling, or from a sinkhole developing beneath the surface is part of our job, and we are proud to provide the greater Lakeland area with only the best in home inspection services. When you’re ready to buy a home, call on Residential Inspection Consultants so you can feel confident and secure in your purchase decision! We want to make sure your dream home doesn’t turn into a nightmare.

Pro-Tips for A Successful (And Efficient) Home Inspection

Leaving lights on makes your inspection easier and faster as we move through your home.

Are you preparing to sell your current home, or are you investing in a home inspection for insurance, appraisal, or other personal reasons? We know that the process can be intimidating, and feel somewhat invasive, especially for those who are in the process of selling a home and are likely not the ones who chose the inspector. Getting the inspection done quickly is preferred by many homeowners, yet it’s our job to make sure each point is checked thoroughly and that our report is comprehensive and detailed for the potential buyer and/or the appraiser. Who said that you can’t have an efficient and complete inspection that’s also fast? We have some tips from the pros that will make your inspection process go smoothly, move more quickly, and get the needed results for all parties involved. For your inspection, remember…

  • Be sure all utilities are turned on (power and water) and that all appliances are hooked up to said utilities to be easily tested. This shaves a lot of time off of the inspection process since we can quickly and easily move through your home testing the oven/stove, water heater, HVAC system, irrigation system, etc.
  • Check all light bulbs, and turn on key lights in the home. Having functional light bulbs in all light fixtures of the home lets us clearly see that they are in good shape and functional. Having lights on throughout the home also lets us see other parts of the room with a glance over without having to take extra steps (and time) to get our own task lighting.
  • Clear out clutter! The more clutter in your home, the more we have to move around to get to the areas we are required to inspect for our report. Make it a goal to remove as much clutter from your home as possible, and if you do have boxes, furniture, etc. stacked up excessively, at least try to move it away from the walls and key points of the home (like windows, vents, etc.) so we can access them more easily.
  • Have pets restrained appropriately (or have them off-site during the inspection). Most pets stay out of the way and are not a bother. However, if you have a dog (or cat) that is very aggressive, difficult to manage, etc. it will make the inspection process go much more slowly if we are continually having to work around the animal. If efficiency and speed is what you want, your pup might be better off staying with a friend for a couple of hours, or taking a walk with a neighbor.
We hope these pro-tips will make you feel more prepared for your next home inspection, and give you a better idea of what to expect. Our goal is to make the inspection process a positive experience all the way around, and because we are local to Polk County, we take our jobs seriously (and personally) since we are providing service for our friends and neighbors. Give us a call and put your home in good hands.

Diving into the Details: Your Pool Is Part of Your Home Inspection

swim-ring-84625_640.jpgNothing makes you long for a good swim more than a hot summer day here in Florida. For that reason, many homes have pools as part of their backyard landscape, and once installed, that pool is considered part of their home and property, and therefore must be included in the property value, real estate listings, and, when you’re preparing to buy or sell, in your home inspection. Because of this, you need to make sure your inspector of choice is capable of, and experienced with, inspecting pools and pool areas of homes for sale.

Residential Inspection Consultants is one of the most trusted inspection providers in the Polk County area, and we are skilled in inspecting pools along with the rest of a home to make sure buyers or sellers can have peace of mind moving forward. Points checked during your home pool inspection can include (but are not limited to)…

  • Checking mechanical parts (including pumps) to ensure all are functioning properly
  • Inspecting tile/pavers in and around the pool
  • Inspecting pool screens for holes, broken pieces, etc.
  • Inspecting doors leading to and from the pool for security and safety purposes
  • If the pool has a pool gate, we will inspect this as well to make sure all parts are functional and secure

A pool is an important part of your home, and in many cases, is a selling point for buyers when they are moving to the greater Lakeland area and surrounding communities. No one wants to move in only to discover that the pool they looked forward to is a source of angst and frustration thanks to replacements and repairs needed from the very beginning. With a detailed home inspection, including your pool, you can have the peace of mind, and be prepared for any issues up front and have a plan to remedy them in place ahead of time, instead of unpleasant surprises after move-in day. If you’re preparing to move, or are preparing to sell your home, give us a call. We offer many options above and beyond home inspections, including wind mitigation, radon testing, and insurance inspections. We are ready and waiting to help you!