What Your Inspector Should Be Looking For
Are you looking to buy a home? If so, you probably know what you're looking for: something with 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, open concept, etc. But do you know how to look beyond the cosmetics and recognize clues that can lead to defects in the homes major components? Don't worry if you answered no, many home buyers don’t — that’s where a qualified home inspector can help.
But what should your home inspector be looking for? A lot. A qualified inspector will carry a multi-page checklist with hundreds of items to inspect. Home inspectors can range in competency, and as a home buyer there are some key aspects you want to make sure your inspector is thoroughly checking.
Make certain the foundation is solid with no damage or evidence of past repairs. Are the floors, walls, and door frames level? Are there any additions on the original build? Are they to code? Make sure the home inspector checks the roof, the crawl space, and the attic. These are common areas where signs of structural damage can be spotted and if caught, can save the home buyer money — and headaches down the road.
The house’s piping system, along with the drains, vents, waste systems and heaters should be tested. There should be no signs of leakage, damage or DIY repairs. Is the water pressure and temperature adequate? These are things your inspector should be able to tell you.
An inspector will check that the service panel has an ample supply of power for the size of the home and is operating properly. They will check that all exposed wiring is fitted to code and functioning safely. All rooms will be assessed for functional light switches and outlets. The house should additionally be equipped with working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
While an inspector is checking the previous components of the home he should be constantly keeping an eye out for water damage. Water marks on walls and ceilings, lifting and separating of floor boards, and damp, musty basements should be considered. If there are signs of water damage make sure there is a thorough examination for mould and mildew. These kinds of problems can deter a lender from getting involved in a deal.
There is a lot going on inside a home and sometimes the exterior may seem secondary, but your home inspector should definitely give the outside a thorough inspection — especially when it comes to foundation. Checking the property’s exterior can sometimes reveal issues such as settlement cracks that would require professional repair. If there is a deck or stairs leading up to the house, are they structurally sound? Are railings, pathways and retaining walls safe? You want the inspector to check that gutters and drains are functioning and installed properly.
There are a number of other components that the inspector will assess. It is wise to accompany the home inspector during their visit. You will have the chance to bring up any and all concerns, and gain the opportunity to get to know your potential property better. Often a home inspection is what makes or breaks a deal. Some home buyers get scared away by too many issues. Others see the issues as an opportunity to renegotiate with the seller, requesting they either make the fixes or lower their asking price. When it comes to real estate, an inspector will keep you safe not sorry.