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DIY Home Inspection Checklist

inspector showing man something

Before you purchase a home property, one of the things that you need to do is to get your home inspected by a professional home inspector. Buying a new home is already expensive enough, and why would you choose to spend for another $500 if you are not supposed to do so? In this comprehensive article, you will find out more about home inspection, what it is and why you should never forgo this procedure when buying a new home. Thus article is made to be the most exhaustive article on the topic on the internet, and while we do encourage you to make use of a pro in order to find all the flaws the house may have, we have also made it in a way, so that if you’re doing a DIY inspection, you will learn what to be on the look-out for. These are all the topics we’ll be covering.

Why Get a Home Inspection Or Do One On Your Own?

a cube with the word why on it

Home inspection is an all-compassing inspection of the overall condition of a property. The process is often not always performed during the time of the sale of the property. As you know, your home is perhaps one of the most important purchases you will ever make in your entire lifetime. Thus, a home inspection is necessary.

It is an inexpensive way to check the universal condition of a house. It is very important that one is conducted before the purchase so as to avoid any costly mistakes by buying a home property that is actually in need of lots of major repairs. Even if you thought you have found the perfect home to buy, it is the inspector’s job to let you know if that house indeed is just perfect.

A professional home inspector is someone who will conduct the inspection of the overall condition of the property. He is someone who will assist the buyer in easily understanding the property that they are about to acquire. A house might seem ready for you to move in, but the inspector will double check if indeed it is ready by inspecting the wiring, roofing plumbing works, insulation and the overall structural features.

Remember that as a buyer, you’re making a huge investment and it’s important that you know exactly what you are buying. Having a professional do a thorough inspection of the home property you intend to buy can be compared to acquiring an insurance policy against all the potential operating costs.

What Does A Home Inspector Look For?

home inspector writing things down

As mentioned, a home inspection is highly recommended when buying a newly constructed house, as well as re-sales, and is a very important component in an escrow timeline. But what do inspectors look for? Read on to find out.

  • Structural components – an inspector will climb into the roof of the house, poke the foundation and crawl into the attic space to look for any water penetration or condensation. On those houses that belong in the hurricane zones, he will examine the roof trusses in order to make sure that they are well connected into the frame as per the local code.

Walls are also checked for the presence of mold and leakage. Floor cracks will also be noted as well, and so as the separation from baseboards. The ceilings, most especially around the electrical fixtures, have to be clear of any water leakage.

  • Exterior faults – a close inspection of the home exterior could reveal areas where more caulking is required in order to prevent seepage of water. Broken seals at the glass, decking, tread steps that are deteriorating as well as settlement cracks, are just some of the things that will need professional repair. Even the garage door will be tested to know if it’s manual or electronic operated.
  • Roofing – the roof is inspected closely to check for any loose tiles or shingles, while the flashing is also checked in order to test its tightness. Tree limbs that are touching the house will also provide for a way for the rodents and could possibly threaten the house in the event of violent storms.  Debris in the gutter is checked and all the drains are tested for any tight connection into the house. Chimneys and skylights are also inspected for proper sealants.
  • Plumbing – all piping are also tested, and this includes the vents, waste systems and drains. Water egress and ingress are being examined, and so as the interior fuel as well as the water distributors and if there are sump pumps. All the drains are also checked for any signs of mineral deposits, leakage and to ensure proper fitting of the filtering apparatus. The water might also be tested for the presence of bacteria.
  • Electrical – all of the electrical components are also examined to make sure that they fit well and are safely operating. Grounding equipment, conductors and distribution panels are also tested to ensure efficient operation. The location of the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are also checked and noted in the inspection report.
  • Heating and air conditioning – the entire HVAC system is also tested in order to verify if it is in good working condition. Moreover, the appropriate filters are also being examined to check for any accumulation. The supply pipes are also being checked for possible corrosion. Chimneys are also inspected to ensure that it does not have any bird’s nests, while the chimney frame is checked on what it is made of.
  • Insulation and ventilation – the insulation in the attic crawl space and the vapor retarders are also noted in the inspection report. All of the venting fans that are not working will be noted. The under floor insulation is also checked if its accessible through the basement and checked if there is any deterioration.
  • Interiors and appliances – stairways, doors, counters, floors, cabinetry and some windows are also cited on the inspection report and a note on which items do not function the way they should. They may also test the condition of all interior appliances.

Should You Hire a Professional Home Inspector?

 professional home inspector

Home inspection is considered an indispensable part of the entire process of home buying. A qualified pro will comb the property’s visible area, including the accessible areas in order to point out any safety and health problems, both the negative and positive conditions of the home property. They will also check out those conditions that will require further specialized attention.

The process of home inspection might sound easy. But you might be wondering why you ought to consider hiring someone. First of all, you are not a certified home inspector. The process of home inspection is best left to professionals who have been trained in this kind of profession. You may not have the skill and the expertise to clearly identify any plumbing, electrical as well as structural problems of a home. Not only that, there are some emotional factors that could affect your decision to buy a home and thus, it is easy to see why potential homebuyers should not be the one who will do the inspection.

Questions To Ask During A Home Inspection

 question mark

So you just hired a home inspector. However, it might seem like they are speaking in a totally different language, with jargon terms like “conducive to deterioration, “serviceable condition”, and more. In order for you and your inspector to understand each other, here are some questions that you need to ask during a home inspection.

  • How bad is the home property?

Professional home inspectors are all about the facts. However, there are times that straightforwardness will make it hard for you as the homebuyer to fully understand what is a big deal and what is not so much. In most states, inspectors are not legally allowed to offer you with repair bids, however, if you show up at the inspection and ask them whether or not what they say will need fixing is certainly a big deal.

  • Who should fix that?

Usually, your inspector will recommend that you hire a handyman who can do the small fixes that will not cost you a lot of money. Even on bigger repairs, they should be able to offer you with some referrals on electricians, plumbers and roofers, which might be able to negotiate with the seller of the property and get the work done before you start living in the place. Even mentioning the inspector’s name with these professionals might just get you an appointment booked immediately.

  • Can you please point that to me?

Usually, when you join a home inspection, you will have to be doing a lot of things. Perhaps, you’ll be taking photos of the property, measure the windows for drapes, check the furniture and even meet with the neighbors. The worst thing that can happen is when you read the inspector’s report and you have no clue with everything that’s written there. Therefore, while you are still at the property, politely ask your inspector to walk you through the entire property and point out those things that needed repair.

  • Can you tell me how to work on that?

A lot of inspectors would be happy to show you the process of how the various systems in a home property will work. They will also walk you through the entire steps of operating all things, from the water heater, thermostat, dishwasher, stove, etc.

Average Cost of A Home Inspection

 man using calculator

The average cost of home inspection in the US is around $315. For small homes and condominium units that are less than a thousand square feet, the average cost is less than $200. Bigger homes that are more than 2,000 square feet will cost around $400 and even more.

Mold and radon testing will cost you more, although it will typically cost less if you will pay for them along with the home inspection. One of the first things you might need to ask an inspector is how much will he or she charge. The cost may greatly vary, but here are some things you need to know when it comes to knowing the average cost of a home inspection.

  • There’s no set standard as to how the inspection cost will be computed. You should ask him up front and find out how he or she will charge you.
  • Professional inspectors will quote the inspection fees by means of different methods. Some will charge you with a flat rate by means of a square footage of the entire living area, as well as the area under the roof, or the time spent doing the job.
  • If the inspector will charge you on the amount of time, then understandably, the bigger your house, the more you will pay for the fees.
  • The age of the home property will also affect the cost. Some of the newer homes can be possibly inspected within two to three hours only, while older homes can take more than four hours.
  • Some of the inspection reports could take up to two hours to be completed while others will take more than four hours. This will pretty much depend upon the inspector and how well they compile reports.
  • Just like with most things, paying the lowest price of a home inspection is not always in your best interest. So do your research well before hiring any inspector.

Why You Need to Repair the Things in the Home Inspection When Selling

 for sale sign outside a house

Every homebuyer in the United States must obtain a home inspection before buying any home property. Not only is it crucial, but as what any real estate agent will tell you, it also provides disclosures that the agent will not be able to provide. But the question that you might have is –why do you need to get the things pointed out in the inspection repaired when selling your home?

Remember that buying a new home is considered a unique purchase. It is not the same as buying a new dress or a new car. For example, when you buy a dress from a department store and you notice some loose button, you can simply demand a discount. However, this is not the case with buying a new house, except if you are buying a brand new house that’s guaranteed free from defects.

Some sellers are proactive enough to order a home inspection before they will decide to put their home property on sale and will do the necessary repairs. The main reason why sellers are doing this is because they know that if the buyer will cancel the purchase, they are required by law to provide a copy of the buyer’s home inspection to the next potential buyer. The next buyer might demand for more repairs to be done or offer to pay lower price, depending on the home inspection.

Tips for Sellers

It is highly recommended to include a home inspection contingency report in the contract of buying or selling a house, which allows the buyer to cancel the purchase should the inspector end up uncovering some major defects of a home property. Even with such protection, the process might turn out stressful for the buyers. However, it can be argued that the process might even be more stressful for the sellers who might find themselves having the need to re-list the property or be asked by the buyer to cover the cost of the repairs, even though they are not aware of these in the first place.

Usually, from the seller’s side, the inspection will seem like a harrowing task that they need to survive for them to move forward. Your buyer might not even ask for the inspection, but you cannot really tell. According to the American Society of Home Inspectors, four out of every five homes are being inspected before they are sold.

As the seller, the first thing that you have to do is to provide your potential buyers with a list of all the known defects in your home. This should be included in the property-listing sheet that your realtor will ask you to fill out before your property is put in the real estate market. Failure to reveal any known defects in your home might put you at risk of not only potentially losing the sale, but also of being sued by the potential buyer. So do not ever try to hide anything at all.

When it comes to the home inspection itself, there is something that you should know upfront regarding what could happen. The homebuyer’s inspector, including the buyer herself, will need to check out everything, from the basement to the roof and the walls as well. They will open your cabinets and drawers, flush your toilet, run your dishwasher, turn on every faucet, crawl through your basement and even trod into every inch of your home. This might seem like an invasion of your privacy, but you should be okay with it.

The good news is that as soon as you are under contract to put your home on sale, the inspection will take place immediately. The agent of the seller will arrange an appointment through your agent and the inspector will come to your place along with the buyer and start with the inspection. This should take around two hours, depending on the size as well as the condition of the home property.

Importance of Using a Checklist As a Buyer

 checklist

A pre-purchase home inspection is an important part of every home buying process. However, you might be surprised to know that only a few people will actually consider it and fewer people will get it done. Here’s a list of the areas covered by home inspection and why they are important.

  • Keep an eye on the structural issues – the life of the building will usually depend on its structural durability. After a certain period of time, unattended walls, weak pillars and roofing could stress out the entire structure of the property and might lead to its collapse and could potentially cause injury and even fatal emergency. This can all be avoided by getting your home inspected. The inspectors will spot all defects in a house and will evaluate the level of damage. They will then assess the cost involve in fixing or repairing the damages.
  • Check all the electrical wiring and HVAC system for any issues – the inspectors will also conduct an audit of the electrical and HVAC system in order to ensure a safe environment for you and your loved ones. They will also test the power sockets, circuit breakers, wiring safety, as well as HVAC configuration. They will conduct a potential leak hazard assessment and aside from ensuring safety, they will also help in managing your electrical consumption more effectively.
  • Check the plumbing and fire safety – from the overhead tanks and hand wash faucets, the inspector will check the property for any visible rusts, cracks or corrosion. Unattended leakage for over a long time will corrode the wooden structure and ruin the furniture. Aside from being an eyesore, damages on the wood flooring and furniture can also lead to accidents.
  • Identifying all the unsafe areas of the home – aside from assessing the mentioned areas above for safety, the inspection will also reveal the certain places or areas of the house that are potentially hazardous. These include slippery stairs, loose windowpanes, weakened gas lines, etc.

What To Expect During a Professional Home Inspection

 man holding paper saying what to expect

An inspector will usually take up to three hours and more to conduct a detailed walk though of the property you plan on buying. This will involve a top to bottom review of the overall physical structure and the mechanical and electrical systems of a home property. This includes the roofing, walls, flooring, ceiling, windows, as well as all doors.

Furthermore, the inspector will check that all the major appliances in the house are fully functional and will even scrutinize the heating and cooling system. Furthermore, they will examine the electrical and plumbing systems and will even crawl up into the attic and down to the basement to conduct a thorough inspection.

If you are tagging along, he will comment on whatever it is he sees. Most importantly, the inspector will provide objective opinion on the overall condition of the property, without the emotional roller coaster that you will usually be on during the entire process of homebuyer.

After the inspection, the home inspector will prepare the report. A good report is extensive and contains checklists, photographs, summaries and notes. The report will estimate the remaining useful life of the systems and equipment of the property including the roofing, paint, finishes and overall structure. The important information that you will gain from the inspection includes recommended fixes, repairs and replacements when necessary.

Most Common Home Inspection Problems

basement with water in it

Here are some of the most common problems that home inspectors will often find out during a home inspection:

  • Faulty wiring – this includes amperage mismatches, open junction boxes, and missing wire nuts on wires.
  • Poor grading and bad drainage – this means spongy soil on the foundation as well as signs of leaking at the basement.
  • Faulty gutters – bent and clogged gutters, as well as water not properly channeled far from the house.
  • Basement dampness – powdery residue on the walls, water stains, molds and mildew.
  • Roof problems – curled or brittle shingles as well as broken and missing flashings.
  • Foundation flaws – cracks on the foundation, sticking doors and windows, sloping floors and other foundation flaws.
  • Poor upkeep – area that needs repainting, cracked driveway, worn out carpeting, etc.
  • Faulty plumbing – slow drains, inadequate water pressure, signs of leakage at the ceilings.
  • Poor ventilation – extreme heat at the attic, including vapor condensation.
  • Defective heating – cracks on the heat exchanger and at the water tank including carbon monoxide leaks.

How Long Does a Home Inspection Take?

 time glass

It will normally take between two to three hours. It is best to leave your small kids with a babysitter if possible, as you might need to follow the inspector closely while he conducts an inspection to your home and explain to you whatever he finds. Here are some of the factors that could affect the time that it will take.

  • Size of the property.
  • Number of systems that need to be inspected, number of electrical sub panels and main panels, one or more than one HVAC system, number of water heaters, water softeners and filters, wells, spas and pools, etc.
  • Overall condition and age of the home property.
  • Ease of access to the areas that need to be inspected, for instance, the attic and crawlspace.
  • State requirements needed for the home inspection.
  • Number of questions the client has during the process of inspection.

It is recommended that you prepare a list of questions ahead and give it to the inspector during the process of inspection. The inspector will then address each of these specific questions and ensure that all are addressed and covered.

Termites

termite damage

In some parts of the country, most specifically in the Southeast area, older homes normally have history of termite infestation. Thus, before you decide to purchase a home, it is best to be aware of its termite history as well as its present termite activity.

Hiring a professional termite inspector who can perform a home termite inspection is a good idea. They will take note of those damages cause by these wood-destroying organisms, including signs of recent termite infestation. The report will also include the conditions that are highly susceptible to termite infestation. For instance, the inspector will identify those things that have moisture issues and wood to ground contact that provides easy access of termites into your home.

If the termite inspector will find any signs of recent termite infestation, the seller of the home property will normally be responsible for the termite treatment. Moreover, the homebuyer will normally be responsible in implementing the suggestions for the prevention of termites, as well as remedying conditions that are highly conducive to the infestation of termites.

Sample Home Inspection Report

report

The professional home inspector that you will hire will conduct a visual inspection of your property and will then come up with a written report.

In some states, the home inspection report must adhere to specific guidelines. The report will also include an Overview section that will discuss the most significant issues they found in your home, including the recommendations as well as a section for maintenance advice. If necessary, the inspectors will also provide cost estimates without any additional charge.

Basically, while almost all home inspection companies will tout their report as being the best, all too often, these reports are designed to make it easier for the inspection company to prepare and deliver. Here’s a link to a sample report – http://pa-homeinspection.com/pa/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/vg-sample-report.pdf

Roof

 roof

Real estate experts would recommend for homeowners to have their roof inspected on a regular basis. It is actually just like going to a doctor for your annual checkup. You could catch any potential problem early and prevent them from getting serious.

Making small repairs on your roof may not be too convenient, however, the time and the effort you will spend now will be nothing compared to what you will end up dealing in the future if you will not attend to them as early as now. Remember that it is your home that is protecting you, your loved ones and your valuables from the harmful effects of sunlight, rain, hail, wind and snow for several years. Over time, all these and other elements could end up compromising your roofing’s ability to provide the needed protection.

Remember that the older your roof, the more vulnerable it will become. Even if your roofing, including its shingles, seem to be fine, doing a thorough inspection might reveal less obvious damage on your roofing, so do not let a superficial appearance to tempt you into a false sense of safety and security. Here’s a roof inspection checklist that can serve as your guide.

Exterior Roof Inspection

  • Broken and loose shingles at the hip lines and ridges.
  • Broken seals at the shingles.
  • Damaged downspouts and gutters.
  • Missing and damaged flashing.
  • Excessive loss of granules on shingles.
  • Fascia board that’s been damaged and rotted.
  • Loose and exposed nails or those that popped.
  • Loose and missing shingles.
  • Rusty and corroded metal flashing.
  • Sagging at the ridges.
  • Severely blistered and split shingles.
  • Signs of missing caulk that’s used to seal the flashing.

Interior Roof Inspection

  • Attic intake vents to ensure proper ventilation.
  • Kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans for proper ventilation.
  • Cracks at the roof sheathing.
  • Leaks on the vent and other holes at the outside.
  • Outside light that’s coming through.
  • Sagging decking in between the rafters.

Home Inspection Tools List

toolst

Home inspectors are free to use whatever equipment they want for home inspection, for as long as it will comply with the standards of practice set by the Association of Certified Home Inspectors. Here are some of the tools they will normally use.

  • Electrical testers – they use several different kinds of electrical testers, depending on their preferences and how much they can afford to pay. In general, the more expensive the testers, the more they are able to identify a wide range of defects in a home.
  • AFCI/GFCI tester – this kind of electrical tester is what he uses in checking for the proper operation of both the ground and arc fault circuit interrupter devices.
  • Voltage indicator – this is an easy to use device that inspectors will use to determine if the voltage is present within a device or a wiring. This device has a limited accuracy and could give positive readings where no house current is available, but levels of some harmless static electricity are available.
  • Flashlights – inspectors will always look for the perfect flashlight. High-powered flashlights are great at seeing in the dark areas where access is difficult, however, the strong reflection can make taking pictures difficult. Most have several different types of flashlights. They also carry a spare for safety.
  • Half face and full-face respirators – this tool is great for respiratory protection, although it may not be comfortable to use, especially under the heat. A lot of inspectors own this device but may not be using them on a regular basis. They are very important on areas that are dangerous to access without any respiratory protection.
  • Combustible gas detector – this device detects small amount of combustible gases. A lot of inspectors use this since propane and natural gas have odors that are much easier to detect using this device.
  • Moisture meters- they are available in two types, the search and measure. If the meter is used in search mode, inspectors will be able to find elevated level of moisture hidden right behind a wide variety of materials, including vinyl and tiles.
  • Microwave testers – this device will confirm that the magnetron that provides power to the microwave oven is indeed working. It will not read microwave level and not all inspectors actually use them.
  • Telescoping magnets – this device helps it easier for the inspectors to retrieve any dropped items, including screws from the main electric panel.

What To Look For In a Home Inspection

home

Here’s what a home inspector will normally look for during a home inspection:

Grounds:

  • Downspout drainage is directed far from the structure.
  • Sidewalks, driveways, patios and entrance landings are all in good condition, and pitched far from the home structure.
  • Exterior structures are in good condition and there’s no evidence of termite infestation and rotten wood.
  • None of the branches and bushes is touching the house and none of them are overhanging the roof.
  • There’s no evidence of any standing water.
  • There are no water leaks from the septic tank and leech field.
  • There is proper grading of drainage far from the house.
  • The railings of the stairs and decks are fully secure.
  • The landscaping, trees, yards and walkways are all in good condition.

Structure:

  • The ridgelines and fascia boards are straight and leveled.
  • The sides of the house are straight and it’s not bowed down or sagging.
  • The visible foundation is in excellent condition and appears plumb, straight and does not have any significant cracks.
  • Windows and doorframes are square.

Exterior Surfaces:

  • There is adequate clearance in between the ground and the wooden siding materials.
  • There are no evidences of cracking, loosing, curling, rotting and decaying siding.
  • Masonry veneers – there are no cracks at the joints, and no broken or flaking components.
  • There are no large cracks at the stucco.
  • There are no damages and dents on the vinyl or aluminum siding.
  • There are no blisters or flaking of the exterior paint.
  • There are no stains at the exterior surfaces.

Windows, Doors and Wood Trim:

  • There are drip caps installed on the windows.
  • The joints on the frames have been caulked.
  • The mullion-glazing compound is in good condition.
  • There are no broken glass windows and damaged screens, and there are no broken windowpanes.
  • Storm windows and thermal glasses are used.
  • The wooden frames and trim pieces are secured well and that there are no cracks, decay or rotting.

Roof:

  • The composition shingles are not cupping, or that there is no loss of granulation particulate.
  • There are no molds or decay at the wooden shingles.
  • For flat roofs, there should be no splits or cracks and even obvious patches at the roofing. There should be no silt deposits, wrinkle or sealed tar at the flashings.
  • There is flashing around the roof penetrations.
  • There should be no evidence of excess tar, caulk or cement.
  • There should be no decay or stains at the soffits and fascia.
  • The vents on the exterior venting are cleaned and not painted over.
  • The gutters are not rusting or decaying, the joints are sealed and securely attached to the structure. There is no bending or sagging gutter and no sections of the gutter and downspout is missing.
  • The vents of the exterior venting for eave areas are cleaned and not painted over.
  • There are no decays or rusts in the gutter and the joints are sealed and attached to the structure securely. There are no sagging and bending and no sections of the downspout or gutter is missing.
  • The chimneys are straight and flashed properly. There’s no evidence of any damaged and cracked bricks, joint and mortar.

Attic:

  • There are no stains at the underside of the roofing, most especially at the roof penetrations.
  • There is proper ventilation and clear path going towards the attic for the air to be able to properly get through the soffit vents.
  • There are no evidences of damage or decay to the structure.
  • There are not any opened electrical splices.
  • There are no exhaust, plumbing and appliance vents that are terminating at the attic.
  • There are no stains at the underside of the roofing, most especially at the roof penetrations.
  • There is sufficient insulation and the insulation is properly installed as well.

Interior Rooms:

  • There is enough number of three-pronged outlets in every room of the house.
  • The electrical outlets are working properly during spot checks.
  • Evidences of proper insulation on the walls.
  • There are no cracked and damaged masonry at the fireplace and no evidences of back drafting.
  • The flooring is in good condition.
  • Walls, floors and ceilings should appear plumb, straight and leveled.
  • There is heating and cooling source in every room.
  • The interior doors work easily and will latch properly. There is no decay, damages or broken hardware on the door.
  • Switches and lights operate smoothly and properly.
  • There are no significant damages in the ceilings and walls.
  • There are no stains in the walls, ceilings and floors.
  • The wall covering, paint and paneling are in great condition.
  • The windows and exterior doors operate smoothly and easily and will latch properly too. There should be no broken glasses and decays and the doors should have weather stripping installed.
  • There should be proper wood trims installed and in good condition.

Kitchen:

  • All built-in appliances must operate properly.
  • All kitchen cabinets are in proper condition and the drawers and doors work smoothly.
  • The dishwasher drains properly and there should be no leaks. The door spring must operate properly.
  • The floor in the cabinet below the sink should be solid and there must not any stains or decay.
  • There should be GFCI protection for all the electrical outlets.
  • There should be no deterioration and excessive rust at the garbage disposal and waste pipes.
  • There should be no leaks at those pipes below the sink.
  • The flow of water at the sink should be adequate.
  • The exhaust working fan is working and it is vented towards the building exterior.

Bathrooms:

  • There is enough water flow and pressure in all bathroom fixtures.
  • The caulking is in great condition both in the inside and outside part of the tub and shower.
  • If the sink is metal, it should not show any signs of rusting and the overflowing drain must not leak.
  • The re should not be any evidence of past leaks at the base of the shower or bath.
  • The cabinet floor and plumbing of the sink should be in good condition.
  • The shower, tub and sink will drain properly.
  • The toilet must operate properly.
  • The toilet should be stable and there are no rocking and staining around the base.
  • The shower or tub tiles are secured and the wall surface is solid.
  • The exhaust fan should not terminate at the attic space.

Miscellaneous:

  • The automatic garage door opener must work properly and stops for any obstacles.
  • There should be no stains at the exposed foundation and no major cracks or flaking.
  • There should be no evidence of moisture at the home foundation.
  • There should be a working carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, as required by the local city ordinance.
  • The risers and stairway treads are solid.
  • The stair handrails must be in good condition.
  • There should be no evidences of sagging and damages at any visible wooden structure. It should not have any stains, decays and rot as a result of termite infestation.

Crawl Space:

  • The crawl space must be adequately vented into the exterior.
  • There should be insulation in between the crawl space as well as the heated areas. The insulation must be installed with proper vapor barrier into the heated area.
  • There should be insulation on exposed waste, water supply as well as vent pipes.
  • There should be no evidences of insect damage.
  • There should not be signs of moisture damage.

Plumbing:

  • The galvanized pipes must not restrict the flow of water.
  • The temperature of hot water temperature should be between 118 to 125 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • There should be no damages on the visible pipes. There should be no stains at the materials near the pipes and the drainpipes must be sloped slightly towards the outlet and into the sewage and septic system.
  • There should be no signs of rust on the water heater and it should be properly vented and sized properly to produce enough amount of hot water for the various rooms in the house.
  • The water pump should not short cycle.
  • The well water test should be acceptable.

Electrical:

  • There should be aluminum cable for every branch circuits.
  • The service panel should have adequate capacity. All of the cables attached into the panel through cable connectors, fuses and breakers should not be overheating.
  • The visible wiring must be in good condition, and there should be no “knob-and-tube” wiring. There should be no exposed splices and cables.

Heating and Cooling Systems:

  • The air filters must be cleaned.
  • The HVAC system should operate well all throughout.
  • The ductwork must be in good condition.
  • There should be no open seams on the flues and there should be no slopes up to the chimney connection.
  • There should be no asbestos at the heating pipes, air ducts and water pipes.
  • There should be no gas odor.
  • There should be no rust at the cooling unit.
  • There must be separate flues for gas, oil, propane and coal.

Worst Things to Hear in a Home Inspection

Here are the worst things one can hear when a home inspection is conducted.

  • Foundation issues – this is such a big deal and a truly expensive issue of a home to deal with. Depending on the topography, the home could settle more than it should and could lead to structural weakness. If the inspector will have any doubt on the kind of cracks that he sees, he might refer you to a foundation expert who can tell you if such condition is dangerous or not.
  • Molds – although surface mold in a poorly ventilated bathroom is pretty normal, black molds that will appear at the basement and crawl space is a totally different story. This can lead to asthma and several other serious illnesses. Remember that when black molds are present in a home, this could indicate a bigger and more serious issue.
  • Water damage – if there’s standing water at the basement or that there are evidences of water leaks, warning sirens must go off. This could be skylight or roof damage and drain tile damage, or perhaps the entire plumbing system might need urgent replacement. The water can work its way down and the presence of stain at the basement could indicate a leak on your roof.
  • Roof problems – if you’re noticing curling shingles at the roof or that there are water damages at the ceiling of your home, you might have roof issues that can get very expensive to repair. Remember that roofing is expensive. It is not something that you can easily tell from the outside and this is why it is important that you get your home inspected. The inspector might actually need to get up into the roof and crawl around if necessary.
  • Furnace issues – if the heater will go into a home furnace, the only way you can get this fixed is to replace it with a new furnace that could cost around $6,000 and up. The inspector might bring in a furnace expert from a gas company if they doubt the life left on your existing system. It’s a good idea to have an expert to check into the chamber. Getting the furnace replaced is a bit expensive and you definitely don’t want to do that after you just bought a new home.
  • Vermin – there’s a huge difference between having termites and mice in your home. Most homes will have a mouse or two from time to time, however termites could literally eat your house. If you got mice in your home, consider setting out traps or hire a company that can do professional extermination

Air Quality

man testing the ac

Problems with the home air quality are things that you should address as soon as possible. As you know, most homeowners would spend so much time in their home and if the air has some harmful chemicals or pollution swirling around, you or your loved ones could end up breathing this in.

Air pollution could lead to several health issues such as chemical sensitivities, allergies, respiratory diseases and even cancer. This is the reason why home air quality inspection is important. The inspectors will basically test your air as a smart preventative measure and they will help to determine what causes air pollution in your home and how to address these.

The cost of home air quality inspection would vary greatly. The first step is to look for a professional who are able to explain the entire process of testing and what is included in this. As soon as you have done this, there will be some factors that could affect the overall cost of home air quality testing.

Electrical

Aside from hiring an inspector, you may also consider the need to hire an electrical contractor who can conduct an electrical inspection. The contractor will check to make sure that your home is updated and the safety standards are according to what the National Electrical Code has required.

The inspectors will check if the electrical service of your home is enough to supply your entire home and that there is enough room for future expansion. They will also check to ensure that the wiring is grounded and in proper working order. The outlets and switches must also be inspected properly to make sure that they are working well and are the right type.

The electrical inspector will also check the lighting for safety. They will check through the hallways, basements, garages and staircases. It is important that these areas have enough lighting to ensure safety when passing through these areas.

Pests

man spraying against pests

A general home inspection actually includes a pest inspection that will require checking your home for the presence of termites and other pest problems. A standard home inspection will ensure that the home is free from any hazards, in good condition and relatively energy efficient. On the other hand, a home pest inspection will determine the presence and risk factors of the following:

  • Termites as well as termite related home structural damage.
  • Ants as well as ant-related structural damage.
  • Rats, bed bugs, mice, cockroaches, as well as other home pests.

It is important to note that a termite specific home inspection does not necessarily include checking the home for the presence of other pest infestations.

Mold

mold

Aside from the general home inspection, it is important that you get the home inspected for mold infestation before you decide to purchase it. Mold testing can save a homebuyer a lot of money. The inspectors will not only check the house for the presence of mold, but they will also determine what type of mold it is, whether it is toxic and other things.

In most cases, if the inspector will notice the presence of mold, they might conduct mold sampling. Since there has been no EPA or federal limits that were set for mold spores and molds, the sampling cannot be used to check if the property has been in compliance with the federal mold standards. Surface sampling might also be useful to determine if the property has been remediated or adequately cleaned.

Radon Testing

Radon testing is also necessary during a home inspection. But you might ask what radon is. This is basically an invisible radioactive gas that doesn’t have any smell, color and odor. Eventually, the uranium in soil and rock decay will soon release radon. The gas will leave off some radioactive particles. Since radon is a type of gas, it could get into the house through the cracks and openings.

The radon itself will decay into radioactive solid that is known as the radon progeny. This will attach into dust particles in the air and might possibly be inhaled. According to health experts, exposure to radon can put you at high risk to developing lung cancer. The lower the level of radon in your home, the lower your chances of developing lung cancer.

The radon test is a two-day process where canisters are placed at the lowest area of the house, which is usually the basement. After 48 hours, the average level of radon will be determined and if it’s found to be more than 4.0, then it will be deemed unsafe. Thus, a radon mitigation system will be conducted.

Foundation

crack in brick indicating foundation issues

A home foundation inspection is needed in order to check the overall structural support of the property. During the inspection, the inside will be checked to see if it is leveled. If the doors will start to jam or will fail to latch, eventually, cracks will appear at the home foundation, which is a clear indication of a foundation problem.

Next, the slab foundation will also be checked. The inspector will assess the visible cracks of the foundation and will make an assessment according to the location, size and direction of the movement. Inspectors are considered generalist and if they discovered problems in your foundation that is deemed serious, they will immediately recommend for a specialist to be hired.

Structural Home Inspection

home exterior

A structural home inspection is necessary before you decide to purchase a home property. The home inspector will start by looking at the property from the street and will then observe how it’s sited and if it has the proper drainage. They will check if the land is sloped down and if it’s away from the house. Check the roof if it’s in good condition or if it’s filled with bumps, dips and bubbles. Next, they will check the structure. They will check if the paint of the trims and siding are peeling. They will also check the shingles if they are cupping.

The inspector will also assess if the house has conformed to the building code and if the systems as well as the structural components are also in accordance to the code.

Common Repairs Needed

 handyman making small repairs

Below are some of the most common repairs that are necessary right after a home inspection is done:

  • Wood rotting at the exterior doors – the doors will eventually deteriorate due to the beating of the Mother Nature. If you have seen any rotten wood, you will be able to easily determine what the inspector is talking about when he will show you the rotten wood. This is a common issue and must be fixed.
  • Broken HVAC – even though your HVAC system might be working properly on the day of the inspection, a lot of times, home inspectors would recommend for it to be serviced. As humans, we enjoy having warm heat and cold AC. So if your HVAC system is showing some problems right after you buy the house, then this can surely drive the buyer away. So after the inspector finds out that your HVAC system is not working, this must be repaired immediately.
  • Broken window screens – a lot of homes will have some missing screens and windows and this can look untidy. Immediately, your home inspector will recommend for the screens to be fixed or replaced.
  • Bathroom exhaust fans – there are lots of houses where the bathroom exhaust fans tend to vent into the attic. This will lead to the accumulation of moisture and will therefore cause your attic to deteriorate. Thus, the moment the inspector notices this, they will for sure include this in the report and will recommend for this issue to be fixed immediately.

What Fixes Are Mandatory After a Home Inspection?

 paper that says mandatory

Here are the mandatory fixes that must be done after the inspection is conducted.

  • Appliances – some installers will not use the best practice when it comes to connecting appliances in your home. Thus, this is one of the things that must be fixed immediately after it has been detected during an inspection.
  • Insufficient insulation of the attic – if you have an older house that does not meet the necessary standard for attic insulation, then the inspector can determine that and will replace to get it remedied as soon as possible.
  • Improper outlets – GFIC outlets, or the ground fault interceptor circuits, will protect you against electrocution as a result of faulty appliances at the bathroom or kitchen. If the report will indicate that there are any missing devices, then they must be immediately installed.
  • Peeling paint at the exterior – perhaps, it’s normal for houses in certain areas to have peeling paint due to the climate. But if you do, always make sure to get it fixed.

Negotiating Repairs

two people negotiating

Lots of issues will normally arise right after a home inspection is conducted. These issues will tend to result to another round of negotiations for fixes or credits. Here are some tips on how you can negotiate repairs right after a home inspection is conducted.

  • Request for a credit work to be conducted – the sellers are already planning to move out of the property. If the property is already geared towards closing, they will most likely pack and dream to live into another place. The last thing they ever want is to get some repair work done on their old home.

They might not approach the job in the same way that you as the new owner will. They might not even treat the work a priority. If you will take cash back credit during the close of the escrow, then feel free to use the money to get the project completed yourself. If you will receive the credit, there will be fewer hassles to confirm that the seller has done the repairs correctly.

  • Look at the big picture – if you are skilled at renovating bathroom after a few years, then you may not care much about the floor being damaged or that there is a leaky faucet and some tiles need caulking. All these things will be fixed when you decide to get your home renovated in the future. But these repairs will be up for negotiation. So try asking the seller for a credit in order to get the issues fixed and offset some of the closing costs.
  • Keep all your plans to yourself – a professional listing agent will walk with you during the property inspection. Revealing your comfort level with the property or some of your intentions and in the presence of the agent might come back to you during further negotiations.  If they will sense that you are a bit uncomfortable with the inspection, they will surely relay this to the seller.

On the other hand, if you will spend about two hours checking the spaces out and picking the paint colors, you might lose the negotiation power. If you will mention that you are thinking of having a gut renovation for the kitchen, the sellers will most likely love to hear about it and they will be less likely to offer you credit back to get the kitchen cabinets repaired.

You should have your eyes wide open when you go through the escrow. Any real estate transaction will not be considered a done deal until such time that the money will change hands and the deed has been transferred.

Reasonable Requests After Home Inspection

women shaking hands

While it is certainly great if the seller will choose to fix each and every little issue the home inspector has discovered before you pay for the property, there are actually certain repairs that some sellers might not be willing to commit to. Here, you will find some of the home inspection repair requests that a homebuyer must not make.

  • Cosmetic issues  – if the deck will require staining and touching up, or perhaps, a cracked tile will catch your attention a bit, yet they are not the kind of issues that need to be dealt with right away, then the seller may not need to get these fixed. Most of these issues are easy to address even without the need to spend a lot of money.
  • Anything less than $100 – minor issues that cost less than a hundred dollars to be fixed are among those repairs that the buyer may not do. The agent of the seller might encourage him or her to just give up your offer if they find your request to be so ridiculous. If the repair will cost less than $100, you might as well just take care of it yourself.
  • Window with failed seal – failed window seal is common in most houses. Glass that has gotten fogged will always be visible when a house is viewed, except if you are really paying close attention. This therefore falls under the category of something that the seller should not pay. Most inspectors will simply tell you that this issue is purely cosmetic.
  • Renovations you plan – you might look through the house and you already have images in your mind about the improvements you are planning to tackle. It is important to remember however that the seller will not be responsible for preparing the house to give way to whatever renovations you are planning.

Deal Breakers

Real estate experts revealed some of the most common home buying deal breakers that are worth double-checking before you decide to make a purchase.

  • The roof – a well-maintained roof could last up to 30 years and even more. However, a shoddy installation and poor quality tiles and shingles could mean having to replace the roof much sooner. Thus, you need to find out from the seller how old the roof of the house is, and have the gutter inspected to ensure that there is proper drainage system.
  • The flood zone – just because your house is not next to a river or a beach does not mean that it is not at risk of flooding. With the climate change these days, there is an increasing risk of flood and rain, even on those areas that are not prone to these calamities.  Therefore, find out if the house is prone to flooding by checking with the local authorities about the condition of the area.
  • The plumbing – this includes the guts of the house and problems are often immediately evident, although sagging floors, water stains and mildew could suggest evidence of leakage. If the inspector will identify some leaks or that the sinks and toilets are faulty, then this will be ground for a reduction of the price. If major overhaul will be required, you may want to think twice before making any offer.
  • The upgrade factor – you might fancy the idea of getting a third bedroom added or perhaps having an attached garage after five years or so, but you may want to first find out if this is possible. There may be local zoning restrictions that will govern the total square feet and floor area ratio of the house. Thus, check with the municipality about the restrictions.