Finding the right home isn’t generally something that happens overnight. It takes weeks, if not months of careful research, boatloads of paperwork, scheduled visits, and more. So, when you think you’ve found the right one, it can be tempting to want to make an offer and sign on the dotted line. Though you may be anxious to get the home shopping process over with, overlooking the need for home inspections could be the worst mistakes you ever make.
What is a Home Inspection?
A home inspection is a process of assessing the true condition of a property. Performed by a trained inspector, the entire property is examined inside and out to pinpoint any system, structural, or cosmetic damage that may or may not be visible to home buyers. This service is beneficial in that it prevents buyers from purchasing a property that is unsafe, unfit, or in need of major repairs. A home inspection is typically required before a sale can be finalized and should most certainly be performed prior to making a final offer on the house.
What Does a Home Inspection Consist of?
There are several types of inspections that can be completed on the property. It is best to start with a general home inspection. The inspector will survey the home, and if there are major problems present, will recommend that you have a more specialized inspection completed. Below is a look at some of these inspections and what they’re looking for:
Pest Inspection – In walking around the property, the inspector will check for signs of infestations, especially wood destroying pests like powder post beetles and termites. Signs like dry-rot would quickly let them know you need to get the matter rectified.
Electrical – Electrical Safety is of the utmost importance when purchasing a home. The home inspection can reveal whether or not the property’s electrical system is in compliance with city codes and ordinances. If it is outdated, an inspector will recommend that you consult with an electrician to determine the best steps to replacing the old electrical system.
Chimney – If your potential house has a fireplace or chimney, these things will need to be inspected to ensure they’re up to par and there are no risks for fires. This includes checking the bricks and flue liners to make sure there isn’t any damage.
HVAC – Heating and cooling systems are inspected to determine things like the age of the system and its current status. An HVAC specialist can inform you on whether or not things like the furnace need to be replaced and any other emergency repairs.
Lead Paint – If the home you’re interested in was built prior to 1978, you may want to have the paint tested for lead.
Foundation – The foundation is a very important part of the home’s structure. If there are signs of cracks, slopes, and other damage to the foundation, the inspector may recommend you hire a foundation engineer to review the property. A faulty foundation could cause the entire house to collapse which is a serious safety hazard.
Roof – A roof inspector will check out the roof of the home for significant damage, missing shingles, mold, water damage, and more.
Plumbing– The plumbing throughout the property will be reviewed. The general inspector may check for rust, corrosion, leaks, mold, and other basic issues. A plumber, on the other hand, may inspect the sewer and/or septic tank to ensure there are no blockages or issues.
Trees – Trees are great for shade and curb appeal, however, dead trees are costly and dangerous. An arborist will inspect the health of the trees to ensure they don’t need to be removed.
Asbestos – Older homes will need to be thoroughly inspected for asbestos which was a common building material used in the past. It can lead to cancer and will need to be removed by experts if found.
Mold – Mold growth can cause a plethora of health issues for a family. A general home inspector will check areas prone to mold growth like basements, attics, bathrooms, and other places where heat and moisture tend to meet. If it is present, it will need to be removed by a specialist.
There are a lot of dangers that could be present in your “dream home” without you even realizing it. These dangers could not only cause harm to you and your family but could be very expensive to repair. It is vitally important that you not only hire a general home inspector to survey a potential property but that you follow-up on their advice to hire an expert or have things repaired. If the inspection turns up more than you bargained for, you can always go back to the drawing board and negotiate with the sellers or save yourself the hassle and look for a place for fewer secrets to hide.