Insights to Home Inspection

Sharon Wolf-Furman pic

By Sharon Wolf-Furman & Paul Furman


With the new year underway, we continue to see many positive changes in our real estate industry. These positive changes also hold true in the home and termite inspection field. Occurances that took place in 2014, has set some standards as we navigate through 2015.

With the foreclosure and short sale market finally running its course, it brings our industry back to a “normal” state of business. In 2014, foreclosure and short sale inspections accounted for dramatically lower percentages than in a few years past, hovering around 5-10%. The return of the traditional sale has required home inspectors to ensure that their interpersonal skills are top notch. Now, often times, buyers, sellers, agents, interested family members and friends attend an inspection and can be sensitive to the inspector’s body language and what he/she has to say about the home

Record rainfall in 2014, with some areas of the Valley receiving more than 5” of rain within a few days, resulted in homes to flood, cars floating away and cars/people stranded in washes. The rain significantly improved our inspector’s ability to identify moisture penetration issues. A typical inspection occurs when it is not raining or has not rained in many months.  In the absence of rain, our inspectors look for any evidence of leakage that may indicate a potential leak (i.e. water stains, bubbled paint, split/crack ceiling tape seams, etc.). Our buyers are justifiably concerned about moisture penetration, but unfortunately, unless it is raining or recently rained, it may not be possible to identify all leaks. The heavy rain drastically increased ability to determine the water tightness of the home.  Although the rain may have been problematic for many people, our buyers were fortunate to have their prospective homes inspected during this time.

Record rain resulted in a drastic increase in termite infestation in the valley. Termites create hollow mud tunnels, called shelter tubes, that are used by termites to travel between their colony in the ground and the home. Termites require moisture to live and fabricate the shelter tubes. The heavy rain saturates the soil and becomes a conducive condition for termite infestation.  As a result, shelter tubes can be created within a few hours of a heavy rain storm. Homeowners were quite surprised when our inspectors identified evidence of termite infestation when none had existed in the previous years.

As 2014 came to a close, we saw a significant uptick in the number of inspections relative to last year.  Although I am no Michael Orr, I predict that 2015 will be a great year to be in the real estate business. Wishing you a very successful 2015!!

Sharon and Paul are owners of AJF Engineering, which has been servicing the Valley since 1996, specializing in home and termite inspections. Sharon and Paul can be reached at 480-661-8888 or