One of the most powerful tool that you have at your disposal as a home buyer is your right to inspect the home prior to purchasing it. This one inspection can assure you that the this is the home of your dreams or warn you of the nightmares that it may cause now or in the future. We recommend that our buyers ALWAYS get a home inspection from a home inspector certified by The American Society of Home Inspectors. This foundation was established to ensure that home inspectors meet basic proficiency and knowledge standards. Why do we recommend this certification? As surprising as it sounds, not all states have standards regarding who can become a home inspector. You want a home inspector who can clearly and thoroughly explain any and all issues with the property as well as the reasons for them. Such as; normal wear and tear, sever water damage, improper materials used and the like. All of the ingredients needed for you to understand whether something is just a small everyday issue or something that may cost tens of thousands of dollars or even more. Below are some basic items to look for in a home inspection.
Home Inspection Checklist
Foundation and structure
Is the foundation cracked? Is the roof sagging? Are porches and decks pulling away from the house? Is any of the exposed framing showing signs of rot?
Insects and pests
Is there any visible activity? Droppings? Feeding? Are there soft or hollow places in the exterior wall? Is there exposed, untreated wood? Though your home inspector may discover these issues, we always suggest that you have a professional termite inspection done as well.
Are there any visible drainage issues? Are there any signs of intrusive root systems? Is there cracking in the driveway or walkways?
Make sure your inspector checks for any drainage issues, inspects rain spouts, skylight seals as well as vents and flues.
Is the wiring up to code? Are there any issues with current, the electric box or outlets? Make sure your inspector checks everything.
What type of piping was used? How old is the water heater? Are there any signs of water damage or leaks? How is the water pressure in every bathroom and kitchen? Do any of the faucets or toilets show signs of leakage?
Heating and A/C
Is the heating and cooling unit working properly? Is there a furnace? If so, what kind? Are there any visible lines to the tank? What visible condition is the A/C unit in? Is it making any unusual noises when running, starting or stopping?
What type of insulation does the property have? Is it sufficient? How old is it? What condition is the attic in? Is there a mechanical ventilation system? Is it functional? Is there a fireplace? If so, what condition is it in? Is it clear of debris?
Do all doors open properly? Check under throw rugs for any issues. Is there any unusual smells, dampness or visible mold? Our countertops and cabinets in good condition? Is there any warping, water or fire damage visible in the walls or floors.
While this list is a good starting point, keep in mind an inspector can only inspect what they have access to. If a certain area is locked or unaccessible, they cannot inspect it. Should issues like these arise, have your real estate agent speak to the seller to see if these areas can be accessed An inspector cannot determine the life expectancy of an item, the presence of dangerous chemicals or the condition of underground systems, hazards from plants or animals. If any of these issues are a concern of yours, there are specialists that can assist with investigating these potential issues. Wait until you have found a home that you wish to purchase and the seller has found your offer acceptable before you do any type of inspection. You can make any offer of purchase contingent upon you receiving a favorable home inspection. See Making an Offer