A home inspector is an essential part of home-buying. It is impossible to imagine anyone buying a home today without having an inspector. Home inspectors are worth their weight in gold. They provide an objective and experienced assessment of the most important purchase you will make in your life.
The home inspector will report any problems that are within their scope. The inspection report will report on everything from minor issues that can easily be fixed to major problems that will affect the future homeowner, you.
How do you differentiate between minor and major problems (yet allow for the deal to proceed) and deal-breakers?
What’s involved in a home inspection?
You might find problems while walking through a home that you are looking to buy alone or with a friend. You may think you are an experienced buyer who has seen many homes.
Home inspectors, on the other hand, follow a specific set of procedures. You may not have considered, such as crawlspaces or attics that are dark and spider-infested. They don’t just look at a roof, they climb onto it. There is no room for chance, predilection or whim. From that information, photos are taken and notes are made. A final inspection report is then generated. These state-licensed, field-trained inspectors provide a vital service that is impossible to duplicate.
What are they looking for? While requirements vary from one state to the next, the basic elements include:
Exterior Inspection Points
- Grading, Drainage and Retaining Walls. Vegetation.
- Driveways, Patios and Walkways
- Decks, Balconies and Stairs
- Wall Elements: Cladding, flashing trim, trim, eaves and fascia
- Doors and Windows
- Roof coverings (Shingles and standing seam metal, etc.
- Roof Drainage: Gutters and Downspouts
- Roof Flashing (Metal “cuffs”, which are placed around protrusions of the roof, that stop water from seeping in.
- Electrical Service (Service entrance, grounding, etc.)
- Lawn Irrigation System
Interior Inspection Points
- Floor Structure
- Walls and Vertical Support Structures
- Ceiling Structures
- Electric Service Panel Interior Components
- Wiring Systems
- Electric Devices (Switches and receptacles for lights, switches, etc.
- Heating and cooling
- Flue and Venting Systems
- Thermal insulation (Only visible areas)
- Moisture Management (Related To Thermal Insulation as Moisture Follows Insulation)
- Ventilation Systems for Attic, Crawl Space and Roof Assembly
- Plumbing (Water supply, fixtures, faucets)
- Drain, Waste, and Vent Systems
- Water Heater
- Fuel Storage and Distribution (propane tanks, as an example)
- Walls, ceiling, floors, doors, and windows
- Stairways, landings, steps, and railings
- Garage Door Operators and Operators
- Fireplaces, solid-fuel burning appliances, chimneys, and vents
- Proper condition and operation of kitchen appliances
Home inspectors don’t usually check the home.
- Pest Control Systems: While inspectors may note pests such as termites or carpenter ants in their environment, they do not evaluate pest control methods.
- Swimming pools and spas: In general, swimming pools are not subject to inspection. However, in areas with many spas and pools inspectors might perform a limited inspection to ensure safety.
- Asbestos and Radon Gas, Lead Paint and Toxic Mold: While inspectors might point out the possibility that there is asbestos or lead paint in homes built before 1978, they are not qualified to inspect these areas and will not perform lab tests. You can however hire independent specialists to test these areas.
- Places behind heavy items: Before the inspection, the seller should remove these items.
- Unsafe Roofs: The inspector won’t climb up onto roofs that are too slippery, too steep or unstable.
- Wells and septic systems: Although inspectors aren’t qualified to inspect these systems, you can hire specialists who will.
Setbacks for Minor Inspection Reports
Don’t sweat the little stuff. You don’t need to worry about the inspection report items if you are in love with the house. These are issues that usually cost less than $200 to fix.
Problems with the Gutter or Downspout
A few hanging gutters and a downspout on ground are all you need. These gutters are affordable to buy and can be easily DIY’.
Outlets and switches
Replacing light switches and outlets is an easy project that any amateur electrician can do. Most communities permit you to do this work without a permit.
Isolated Appliance Problems
You should evaluate whether replacing a major appliance in your home is possible if it’s not performing well. An outdated cooktop is not necessarily a deal-breaker.
Failed Window Seals: One or two
If a window seal is damaged, it will cause fogging and a slow clearing of the glass. Even though IGUs (insulated glass units) no longer hold their hydrogen or argon gas, they still have some R value – but not as much.
Most homeowners will redo their landscapes upon purchasing. Landscaping can be a very personal job. As long as there aren’t any major issues (like unsafe outbuildings or old vehicles on the property), it is not a problem.
Cracked and missing floor tiles
One or two broken tiles does not necessarily mean the floor needs to be replaced. Individual tiles can be replaced by tile technicians at a very reasonable price.
Missing or Loose Fixtures
Cabinet pulls and knobs as well as door knobs and levers can all be replaced by a DIY approach.
Five Major Setbacks in Home Inspection
The report will highlight major home inspection in langdon ab issues that your agent and the inspector have identified. These issues will almost always be raised when you negotiate the price of your home. The seller may repair it or you can fix it yourself, with the seller covering all or part of the costs.
Basement Wall Cracks
Concrete walls or cracks in basement masonry are not usually considered foundation problems. They can, however, be major entry points to groundwater and vermin.
Entire Gutter/Downspout System Failing
A few downspouts or gutters can be replaced, but a whole home worth of work will run you thousands of dollars. Ask the seller to replace it or offer monetary compensation.
Many windows need to be replaced, or all of them.
The cost of replacing more than two windows in your house can quickly add up. Although miracles are possible, it is unlikely that sellers will replace your windows. In a buyer’s marketplace, however, the seller might agree to pay for or split the cost of replacing the worst windows.
No Attic Insulation
Your home will be a thermal desert without insulation in the attic. Insulating your attic is more than a good idea. It is a necessity. For a small house, insulation is not only a good idea but a necessity.
Roof Leakage Evidence
Roof leaks can be anything, from a major event that floods floors to a small patch of flashing around the chimney, to something more serious. This one is beyond the scope of the home inspector. A qualified contractor will spend at least an hour looking for potential red flags.