An inspection for home is the most important step when purchasing a home. The inspection is your chance to review any issues with the property and negotiate with the seller about who is responsible for fixing them. Make sure you hire an inspector with skill and experience so you can ask questions and make informed decisions. Usually, just relying on the recommendations of a real estate agent is not enough. A thorough inspection of the property is needed.
An unbiased inspector or team of inspectors will help you get a clear picture of what the home really looks like from the foundation standpoint.
Once you and the seller agree on who will pay for the fixing of any problems, the purchase will proceed. It is important, therefore, that you learn as much as you can about the condition of the home and what problems you may expect later. To do this, you have to prepare to ask questions to the home inspector. Have a home inspection checklist on hand and ask away!
1. Is the electrical system current?
Electricity is a necessity in every home. But it can also be dangerous, especially when not handled properly. If the electrical system is very old, it could be vulnerable to many problems. It may need an upgrade, which will entail a big expense.
One of the most common electrical problems at home involves the breaker boxes and the outlets that do not conform to the standards of the National Electrical Code. The regulations outline set practices in both commercial and residential electrical installations. Home inspectors base their assessment on these guidelines.
2. Are there plumbing leaks or other issues?
A problem in the plumbing system of a home can cost the homeowner a lot of dollars to repair. Before purchasing a home, it is good to know if the home has these issues before signing the dotted line of the contract to purchase. Plumbing issues may also be a reason for the banks to not issue a loan.
However, if the plumbing issues are minor ones, they can easily be resolved without having to spend a lot of money, such as:
- Minor pipe leaks
- Dripping faucets
- Low water pressure
- Running toilets
- Clogged or slow drains
But, serious issues such as a plumbing system that uses the old galvanized steel and iron pipes could be costly to replace. You need to factor this issue before making your decision to purchase.
3. Are there signs of termite or other pest damage?
The wood used in the construction of the home can be damaged by carpenter ants, termites, and other insects. When the home you are considering to purchase has carpenter ants or termite infestation, that could leave the home structurally weak. Repairing a structurally weak home will cost you a lot of money.
What do home inspectors look for? If the inspectors is not sure about the extent of the termite damage, consult a termite extermination company to make an assessment.
4. What is the condition of the roof?
The roof of a home is a very expensive item. Before buying a home, you should have an idea about how many more years the roof will last. If the inspector reported that the roof will not last for many more years, you can negotiate with the seller to pay for its replacement as a condition of the sale or you can ask the seller for a price reduction of the house because of the impending roof repairs that you will have to shoulder.
5. How solid is the structure of the house?
Termites and other insects are not the only ones that can compromise the structure of the home. The inspection report from expert inspectors should tell you if the house structure is compromised in any other way before you agree to the purchase. Repairs of the house structure can be very costly.
In some cases of structural issues, some parts of the home, such as the ceiling or the walls need to be replaced. Fixing a compromised structure could mean also that you and your family need to vacate the home during the repair period as staying there could be very dangerous.
6. Are there issues with the home’s foundation?
The stability of a home depends largely on its foundation. Any cracks or other issues with the foundation can imperil the structural integrity of the house. The inspector can tell you how serious are the foundation’s problems. He can also give you an idea about how much you will spend for the repairs.
While the inspector is doing his job, you can also walk around the property and look for any signs of cracks, either vertical or horizontal on the walls or in the ceilings. Horizontal and ceiling cracks may be signs that indicate a sinking foundation, which will cost you a lot of money to repair.
7. Are there signs of wood rot?
The wood portion of your house could rot when there is standing water, humidity or dampness. If the home inspector found out that some wood parts of the home are beginning to rot, you need to find out the source of the water or dampness and ask for an estimate of repairs before proceeding with the purchase.
Wood has an aesthetic appeal in the home but you should be wary of siding or decking that is more than 20 years old. They could be due for replacement soon. Ask the inspector for recommendations when making repairs.
8. Are there issues with drainage?
The home you are considering to purchase may be structurally good and made of high-quality materials but you need to be sure that it is in a healthy environment. Many homes may look very good but they have drainage issues, which may result in a lot of standing water that could cause damage over time.
The common problem with lawns is the absence of an adequate slope that prohibits the water to flow to the street drain. Minor slope issues can easily be resolved by planting grass, native plants, and putting additional drainage following yard grading. But if the problems are associated with the city’s sewer lines, they will have hard and expensive to solve.
9. Are there signs that the house is settling?
It is expected that older houses will settle and shift a little bit over time. However, excessive settling is a big issue that needs to be addressed immediately. If not properly resolved, the settling of the home can result in cracked plaster or drywall, and windows and doors that don’t properly close.
The settling of the home is at times related to the foundation issue. But in some cases, it is the settling of the house that affects the foundation. Ask the home inspector to explain what caused the problem and ask his opinion if it will be a good idea to consult a structural engineer to confirm suspected problems.
10. Does the house need to be brought up to Code?
Older homes were built based on the code that was in place at that time. Over the years, an old house has been subjected to plenty of changes and renovations that the homes no longer complies with the building code. Ask the inspector if there is a need to bring the property to the current code. If the answer is yes, be prepared for a very costly repair.
The inspector prepares a house inspector checklist and this can tell you if the home is up to the code or not but he may not be in a position to give you a detailed answer because he is not code enforcement professional. Your home inspector can tell you if you need to request a separate inspection for the city inspectors.
Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions you will make in your life. You need to be extra careful when you follow the steps leading to the signing of the contract to purchase. Prepare a house inspection checklist ahead of time to make sure you’re getting a good property.