A home inspection is one of the very important steps of buying a home in Maryland. It is your first chance to go inside the home to see for yourself what you are getting into when it comes to the condition of the house. It is your chance to review any issues with the property so you can negotiate with the seller about who is responsible for fixing them.
Home inspection in Maryland reassures you that the home you are intending to purchase is what you expected it to be. While a home inspection is fun, it is also exhausting as you go from one point of the home to another.
A home inspection in Maryland will provide you with a list of issues that you want to negotiate with the seller to fix or a catastrophic thing that will let you back out of the deal. The inspection report makes a full-report of something like a new manual to the homebuyer, including maintenance tips and schedules you should adhere to.
You and your real estate agent should both be present with the inspectors during the inspections. Don’t be surprised to have the presence also of the seller’s agent in the home for sale too. Make sure that you are free on the day of the inspections as it could take several hours, which at times could even cover one whole day.
During the inspections, don’t make the mistake of rushing the inspector as he is doing the inspection reports. A home inspection takes time and it will not be to your benefit if the inspector will rush the work. It might result in some overlooked problems, such as a faulty electrical panel, because you have been a pest to him.
The inspectors will explain to you the systems in the home, together with some maintenance tips. The inspector will make the final reports, together with pictures but being there during inspections day will a lot helpful as he can personally explain to you the problem, instead of just reading it in the reports and looking at the attached pictures.
Home inspection checklist
Before making an offer for a house, you should start getting ready for professional inspections. Your professional inspectors will give you ideas on what on which areas you want the inspector to pay special attention to. The inspector should address the issues in the report that will be given to you at the end of the inspection. If any of the items will not be covered by the inspectors, ask the inspector the reason for not including them.
- Foundation – The stability of the home largely depends on the foundation. Any cracks or issues with the foundation may imperil the structural integrity of the house. Check the walls and ceiling in each room of the house and do the same thing outside. Look for any cracks or shifts in the foundation. Check also if trees are encroaching on the foundation.
- Lot – Check the lot where the house stands. Does the drainage flow away from the house. Check also for any soggy areas on the lot as they could be signs of leaking pipes. Many homes may look good but there are hidden drainage issues that will be costly to repair. Drainage issues could also result in standing water that may cause damage over time. Many lawns do not have an adequate slope that prohibits the flow of water into the street drain. If the drainage problems are associated with the city’s sewer lines, they will be expensive to resolve.
- Roof – Do an inspection of the condition of the roof and estimate how many more years it will last. Remember that replacing the roof is a very expensive endeavor. If the roof needs immediate replacement, negotiate with the real estate agent to have the seller or company replace it before the purchase or you may also ask for a price reduction to cover your expenses fixing the roof.
- Exterior – Have the inspectors check the exterior of the home to find out if repairs or repainting needs to be done. Buyers should check for gutters and downspouts that have been detached, loose boards, or the wires that are dangling.
- Attic – Buyers should look at the attic for structural integrity and signs of leaks.
- Interior evidence of leak – Check the ceilings and around the windows of each room for air leaks. If there is any, it will affect the heating and cooling of the home. You can have additional windows placed, but this will be expensive on the part of the buyers.
- Basement – Find out if there are signs of dampness in the basement. Check also for insulation.
- Electrical – Check if the electrical system is very old, which means it is vulnerable to many problems. Find out if the breaker boxes and the power outlets conform to the standards of the National Electrical Code. Be careful when checking the electrical system of the home as it could be very dangerous when not handled properly.
- Plumbing – Before buying a house, it is important to check if there are plumbing issues that will require a lot of money to repair. Plumbing issues may also be reasons why the bank will not issue a loan so be sure to include them in the inspection report and checklist.
Other Things to Check
However, expect to find minor plumbing issues that can be resolved without having to spend a lot of money, such as:
- Dripping faucets in the home
- Low water pressure in the home
- Minor pipe leaks in the home
- Slow or clogged drains in the home
- Appliances – In some cases, the sale of a home includes the appliances that are already installed. The appliances typically include stove, refrigerator, dishwasher, washer, and dryer. When these appliances are included in the sale, what are their age and condition? If they are quite old, you have to be ready to spend money on their replacement.
- Heating/cooling system – The first thing to check is the age of the furnace and the cooling system inside the home. Check if the system is working as expected. Is the coolant up to date? The air conditioning system might still be using coolant that is no longer allowed to be used.
- Odor – You will easily notice if the home has a peculiar odor. Ask the inspectors what and where is the source of the odor. If you notice a musty odor, it is a sign that the basement is wet. If that is the case, ask the inspector to check for the presence of molds and include that in the maintenance report or inspection reports.
You need to ask also the home inspectors to check if the home is up to the code or not, especially if the home is quite old. Older homes in Maryland were constructed based on the existing code at the time. Over the years, a home has been subjected to lots of changes and renovations, presenting the great possibility that the house is no longer up to the current code.
If the house is not up to the code, you should be prepared for an expensive repair and update. The home inspectors can help you in your home purchase by giving you a heads up of the problems that you might encounter after you get the ownership of the home.
You might hire the best home inspectors but you cannot expect him to see the problems and issues of the home 100%. The inspector can only cover things that he can see. He is not going to tear down walls or have an X-ray vision to see that is hidden behind those walls. Be prepared also for eventualities. A home will not stay the same as it was during inspection day. Maybe days or weeks down the road, something could be wrong. Do not blame the inspector or team of inspectors for this. He is not a prophet who can see what will happen in the future.