Money pit or greatest investment ever?

lemon house


Your home is likely one of the most expensive things you will ever buy.  So buying a ‘Lemon’, or buying a 'fixer' without the right approach could be a catastrophic event. 

Everyone has a different threshold for projects that they are willing to take on when buying a house.  Where do you fall on the spectrum? 

It is best to be honest with yourself and really try and understand the work it entails, even if you are hiring a contractor to do the job. Buying a move-in ready home has a number of advantages, but more than likely you'll be paying full price. 

Depending on how much you are willing to take on, you can save thousands over similar move-in ready homes and build equity in your home from day 1, but do you have what it takes to add value?

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Regardless of where you fall, the first step is to get a baseline reading of what NEEDS to be fixed when you buy and what you simply would like to change.  That is why it all starts with getting a quality home inspection. 

Did you know that home inspectors are not licensed in California? 

We’ve got a lot of critical information for you about one of the most important aspects of buying a home.  Foregoing a home inspection or choosing an unqualified inspector is akin to playing Russian Roulette with your life savings.

We asked a home inspector who our clients have used in the past, Mark Kinder from Thoroughspec home inspections, a few questions about his experiences as a home inspector.  In real estate transactions, the buyer selects and hires a home inspector.

What are the most common problems you find when inspecting homes in Southern California?

Most common problems found are water heaters lacking proper earthquake strapping, a lack of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, cracked windows, leaks under sinks and inoperable appliances such as garbage disposals.

Wood rot is very common at eaves and patio covers so it is important to get a termite inspection as well as a home inspection.

What is the biggest “Save” you’ve ever made to prevent a homeowner from buying a Lemon?

The biggest save I’ve ever made was not one of dollars but of lives. I was inspecting an occupied home that was approximately forty years old, the owners had replaced their wood shake roof a couple of years earlier with a concrete tile roof. 

When I entered the attic I quickly saw the lack of support for the new, much heavier roof. When installed, the entire concrete roof had been resting on three 2x4’s, two had split from the weight and the last one was bowing so badly it looked like it could snap any minute.

One more little earthquake and the multi-ton roof would collapse into the structure. I came down quickly as you might imagine and told them the news as well as showed everyone the pictures. Thankfully, they had a contractor out the next day and the roof was re-enforced without incident.

How does Someone pick a home inspector?

California does not currently license Home Inspectors, it is important to hire an experienced, Certified and insured inspector. I am a member of NACHI (National Association of Certified Home Inspectors). 

They require yearly classes to keep their members up to date on codes and inspection methods. There is an inspector finder app on their website at

Mark Kinder is the owner of Thoroughspec home inspections.  Thoroughspec can be found online at