Should I Hire a Home Inspector?

A question many new home owners ask themselves in the process of buying a new home – should I hire a home inspector? The answer should always be yes! A home inspection is an inexpensive way to discover the universal condition of a home. Something you’d probably like to know, right? A home is one of the most important purchases you will ever make. It is important to conduct a home inspection to avoid a costly mistake by purchasing a property in need of major repairs.  Even if you think you have found your dream home, it is a home inspector’s responsibility to let you know that your “dream home” may not be just right. Here are a few things that home inspectors look out for, which should act as a guide for you while visiting open-houses, some things to look for before you get the certified home inspector to give their opinion.

STRUCTURE

o   Sides of house appear straight, not bowed or sagging

o   Window and doorframes appear square (especially bowed windows)

o   Visible foundation in good condition – appears straight, with no significant cracks

EXTERIOR SURFACES

o   Siding: no cracking, curling, loose, rot or decay

o   Masonry veneers: no cracks in joints, no broken, spalling or flaking components

o   Stucco: no large cracks (discuss all stucco cracks with a professional inspector)

o   Vinyl or aluminum siding: no dents, damage, no bowing or loose siding

o   No vines on surface of structure

o   Exterior paint or stain: no flaking or blisters

o   No stains on exterior surfaces

WINDOWS, DOORS AND WOOD TRIM

o   Wood frames and trim pieces are secure, no cracks, rot or decay

o   Joints around frames are caulked

o   No broken glass (window or storm panes) or damaged screens, no broken double-paned, insulated window seals.

o   Storm windows or thermal glass used

o   Drip caps installed over windows

GROUNDS

o   Proper grading drainage away from house

o   No evidence of standing water

o   No leaks from septic tank

o   Yard, landscaping, trees and walkways in good condition

o   No branches or bushes touching house or overhanging the roof

o   Exterior structures (fences, sheds, decks, retaining walls, detached garages) in good condition, no evidence of termite damage or rotted wood

o   Railings on stairs and decks are adequate and secure

o   Driveways, sidewalks, patios, entrance landings in good condition, and pitched away from structure Downspout drainage directed away from structure

ROOF

o   Composition shingles: no curling, no cupping, no loss of granulation particulate, no broken, damaged or missing shingles, no more than two layers of roofing

o   Wood shingles: no mold, rot or decay, no cracked/broken/missing shingles, no curling

o   Flat roofs: no obvious patches, no cracks or splits, minimal blisters and wrinkles, no silt deposits (indicates improper drainage), sealed tar at flashings

o   No evidence of excess roofing cement/tar/caulk

o   Exterior venting: vents are clean and not painted over

o   Gutters: no decay or rust, joints sealed, attached securely to structure, no bending or sagging, no sections of gutter or downspout missing, gutters clean, no mud deposits

o   Chimneys: straight, properly flashed, no evidence of damaged bricks or cracked joints, mortar/cement cap in good condition

INTERIOR ROOMS

o   Floors, walls and ceilings appear straight and level

o   No stains on floors, walls or ceilings

o   Flooring materials in good condition

o   No significant cracks in walls or ceilings

o   Windows and exterior doors operate easily and latch properly

o   Interior doors operate easily and latch properly, no damage or decay, no broken hardware

o   Paint, wall covering, and paneling in good condition

o   Wood trim installed well and in good condition

o   Lights and switches operate properly

o   Adequate number of three pronged electrical outlets in each room

o   Electrical outlets test properly (spot check)

o   Heating/cooling source in each room

o   Evidence of adequate insulation in walls

o   Fireplace: no cracking or damaged masonry, damper operates properly, flue has been cleaned, flue is lined

KITCHEN

o   Working exhaust fan that is vented to the exterior of the building

o   Dishwasher: drains properly, no leaks, baskets, door spring operates properly

o   No leaks in pipes under sinks

o   Floor in cabinet under sink solid, no stains or decay

o   Water flow in sink adequate

o   No excessive rust or deterioration on garbage disposal or waste pipes

o   Built-in appliances operate properly

o   Cabinets in good condition: doors and drawers operate properly

BATHROOMS

o   Working exhaust fan

o   Adequate flow and pressure at all fixtures

o   Sink, tub and shower drain properly

o   Plumbing and cabinet floor under sink in good condition

o   If sink is metal, it shows no signs of rust, overflow drain doesn’t leak

o   Toilet operates properly

o   Toilet stable, no rocking, no stains around base

o   Caulking in good condition inside and outside of the tub and shower area

o   Tub/shower tiles secure, wall surface solid

o   No stains or evidence of past leaking around base of bath or shower

PLUMBING

o   Visible pipes: no damage, no evidence of leaks, no signs of stains on materials near pipes

o   Water heater: no signs of rust, vented properly, sized to produce adequate quantities of hot water for the number of bedrooms in the house.

o   Water pump: does not short cycle

o   Well water test is acceptable (if applicable)

MISCELLANEOUS

o   Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors where required by local ordinances

o   Stairway treads solid

o   Stair handrails where needed and in good condition

o   Automatic garage door opener operates properly, stops properly for obstacles

 

A home inspection will definitely give the buyer peace of mind knowing that the home is in good shape. It can also become a negotiation tool in closing, and could inform the buyer of potential future maintenance and upkeep. This check-list is to help you navigate through the homes you’re looking at and are only suggestions, as I am a realtor, not a certified home inspector.

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2017-06-29T16:03:18+00:00June 29th, 2017|First Time Home Buyer, General Real Estate Info|