If you’re my client, we’ve shopped, you’ve fallen in love, made your offer, had it accepted and gone under contract. Now you’re in the “discovery” stage” where you gather important information: title work, disclosures, surveys, and you schedule your home inspection. Now what?
A home inspection is one of the most important steps in the process, it’s the time then we take that silk purse and try to find the sow’s ear. Part ‘honey-do’ list, part ‘O.M.G. what have I done?’ the home inspection reveals and/or conceals just what you’re getting yourselves into. The house is everything you’ve ever wanted, and it’s the biggest purchase you’ll ever make. Shouldn’t we make sure it is all that?
I have a few good home inspection companies I rely on, have vetted and have found them thorough, honest and knowledgeable. There are many things your home inspection will show you and many that it won’t. Some things are minor, deferred maintenance and others are worth major consideration. Always best to hire a professional and ask your Realtor (that’d be me ;-)) for their recommendation. No matter how much you may love them, having a “friend who knows a lot about houses” take a look at it could be the end of a great relationship. Pay for the pro, it is money well spent.
Here’s what your standard inspection will show:
Structural Elements- Construction of walls, ceilings, floors, roof and foundation. Though inspectors are not usually structural engineers, their expert training gives them a good eye for when you may want to call one. Many times the crack you’re freaking out over is pretty normal to a resale home.
Exterior Evaluation- How does the siding, brick or stucco look? Does the grading flow toward or away from the house? Landscaping, elevation, drainage, driveways, fences, sidewalks, fascia, eaves, trim, doors, windows, lights and exterior receptacles—are they all doing what they’re supposed to be doing?
Roof and Attic- A visual inspection of the roof and attic will give you a good idea if they are framed and ventilated, insulated, or in need of repair. Though not a roofing specialist, your inspection should be able to tell the approximate age of the roof and how long you might expect it to last. If there is any doubt, I suggest having a qualified roofer come out and do an independent inspection to see if the roof can be guaranteed through certification.
Plumbing- Identification and condition of pipe materials used for potable, drain, waste and vent pipes. Toilets, showers, sinks, faucets and traps, water pressure and hot water heater will be included.
Systems – Your furnace, air conditioning, duct work, chimney and fireplace will be checked to insure they are in good working order.
Electrical- Main panel, circuit breakers, types of wiring, outlet grounding, GFCI outlets, exhaust fans, receptacles, ceiling fans and light fixtures.
Appliances-Dishwasher, refrigerator, stove/range/oven, built-in microwaves, garbage disposal, trash compactors, washing machine and dryer will be checked.
Garage- Slab, walls, ceiling, vents, entry, firewall, garage door, openers, lights, receptacles, exterior, windows and roof.
Although I’ve had inspectors note the possible presence of mold, termites, evidence of pests, or asbestos these, along with a sewer scope, require assessment by specialists and do not fall within the scope of your home inspection. Radon detection can be done by the inspector who installs a device to stay in the home for 24-48 hours at an additional cost.
My home inspectors provide my clients with a Home Inspection Checklist which categorizes items needing service and the urgency in doing so.
The serious problems are:
Any issue that pertains to health and safety; gas leaks, CO2 levels, non-functioning smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, radon mitigation, sewer cracks or breaks.
Also for consideration are the big ticket items: old or leaking roofs or those which cannot be certified, furnace and A/C malfunctions, foundation deficiencies and moisture intrusion or drainage issues.
Who should pay for what?
Home Inspection Checklist Items Sellers Should Fix would include those listed above. There are many instances when it is wise for the buyer to take responsibility for the repairs themselves and ask the sellers for a credit or sales price reduction. Sellers, understandably, want to maximize their profits an may approach repairs from an economical perspective where you might go the extra mile, especially if you prefer a mid-high grade brand. Buyers and sellers might want to consult with an expert to get an estimate for repairs and all work should be done by a licensed contractor or technician. Make sure your agent is specific when responding to the inspection. If your request is vague, there is more room for interpretation of a repair.
Because for some people, duct tape doesn’t cut it.