Chinese Drywall

During Florida’s housing boom of the mid-2000s and after Hurricane Katrina created a shortage of building supplies, contaminated drywall imported from China was commonly used in new homes and in hurricane restoration. Builders were unaware of the potential problems that would arise from the use of this drywall that had been manufactured overseas without quality control.

coilsOver time, inspectors noticed a blackening of copper electrical writing and AC evaporator coils (see photo) due to the release of sulfur gases that have the potential to sicken the people who live in homes with Chinese drywall. Health issues may include headaches, nose bleeds, eye irritation, or breathing problems (though there are many other possible causes of these health issues).

According to the experts, “Chinese companies use unrefined “fly ash,” a coal residue found in smokestacks in coal-fired power plants in their manufacturing process. Fly ash contains strontium sulfide, a toxic substance commonly found in fireworks. In hot and wet environments, this substance can off-gas into hydrogen sulfide, carbon disulfide, and carbonyl sulfide and contaminate a home’s air supply.” Source: InterNACHI

On every inspection, we look for tell-tell signs of metal corrosion and can advise the homeowner of their options. There is no remediation other than replacement, which can be expensive. The value of the home, potential health problems, and the cost of replacement are all “must know” concerns. If you suspect your home may be contaminated, it’s important to have the residence undergo a Chinese Drywall Inspection by a licensed home inspector as soon as possible.

More information can be found at the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission website.

Florida Rules for Home Inspections

new home 2841442_1920An appraisal is required as part of the home loan process in Florida, but lenders do not require a home inspection. But it’s highly recommended that you do.

HUD even requires FHA or VA applicants to sign a form acknowledging that they have been advised to get a home inspection for their own protection. But it’s not a condition of the sale or mortgage process that you do.

There’s one exception: if the property is being re-sold less than 90 days after being refurbished (flipped), and the price is more than 20% higher the what the flipper paid for it. Appraisals on flipped homes are more thorough than those in a conventional transaction; using an experienced inspector with a reputation for thorough inspections is the way to go.

If it is spelled out in the contract that a home inspection is required, the loan underwriter will review the home inspection report before processing the loan, and all deficiencies noted in the home inspection must be cleared and reinspected prior to closing.

An FHA appraiser is required to check the home more thoroughly that is typically required in a conventional transaction. Some people refer to this appraisal as an inspection, but it is not a full home inspection.

While the FHA does not require a third-party home inspection, the Appraiser is required to note “health and safety” issues. The identified issues will need to be addressed in order to close escrow. In this case, use a home inspector certified in indoor air quality testing. These inspectors have the proper equipment to inspect issues with temperature, humidity, ventilation, mold from water damage, exposure to chemicals and the like.

Learn more at the National Association of Realtors’ House Logic