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Every home buyer wants to make sure their soon-to-be-bought house is in excellent condition. This is where home inspections come into play. Buyers can be able to learn the flaws of a home and use them to their advantage when negotiating for a better deal. Home Buyer Reviewing House Inspection

Home inspections are not a required consultation. However, most real estate agents will book an appointment with an inspector to learn about a house’s weak parts. So, a buyer can make a decision about whether to negotiate for a better price or take the deal back if the damage is sufficiently severe.

What Is a Home Inspection?

A skilled professional assesses the current state of major systems on the property through visual inspection of accessible features in a home inspection. Instead of focusing on cosmetic issues and codes, it focuses on the performance of the home. Property inspections can be done anytime and are often conducted during real estate transactions.

A home inspection is:

  • This is a professional-level evaluation of equipment accessible to the owner in a specific home at one point in time.
  • Examining mainly by sight
  • It identifies components in critical condition, unsafe, or near the end of their service life.
  • A written report documenting the facts of the home

 

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Home Buyer’s Checklist for a Home Inspection

Every buyer should be knowledgeable about the common things inspectors look at in an inspection. This can give you a sense of security while also figuring out which details matter to you most.

Outside the Home

Ground

Home inspectors will look for any unusual or unpleasing flaws in the outside of the home first.

Inspectors make sure that:

  • The graded drainage system should be a couple of feet away from the house.
  • There is no sign of standing water.
  • The leech field or septic tank should be free of leaks.
  • Walkways, trees, and shrubs are in good shape.
  • Branches should not touch the house or overhang its roof.
  • No evidence of termite damage or rotted wood on exterior structures (fences, sheds, decks, retaining walls, detached garages)
  • Stair and deck railings are compliant and secure.
  • Driveways, entrance landings, patios, and sidewalks in good shape and sloped away from the structure.
  • Discharge of downspouts away from the structure.

Structure/Foundation

Another important thing is the structure of the home or its foundation. This is to ensure that the house is safe for the new buyers to move into.

Inspectors make sure that:

  • The fascia and ridgelines appear straight and level.
  • House walls appear straight, without any sagging or bowing
  • Windows and doors must appear square (particularly bowed windows).
  • There is a good foundation visible from the outside. There are no visible cracks, and the wall is plumb and straight.

Exterior Surface

The exterior surface may be similar to ground structures, but this is a more detailed guide on the inspected specific parts.

Inspectors make sure that:

  • The ground should be 6″ away from wood siding materials; wood should not come into contact with the ground.
  • No cracks, curls, loose boards, decay, or rot on siding
  • The veneers on the stone are in excellent condition, with no cracks in joints, and no broken or flaking components
  • The stucco should not have any large damages. If there are any, discuss it with the inspector to know more details.
  • No damage, bowing, or loose siding on vinyl or aluminum siding
  • The surface of a structure is free of vines.
  • Stain or paint that has not flaked or blistered exterior
  • Outside surfaces are free of stains.

Windows, Doors, Window Trim

Windows and doors are significant as well. Buyers shouldn’t look these over. All components of the home are essential and should be treated as such.

Inspectors make sure that:

  • Neither the wooden frames nor the trim pieces are cracked, rotting, or decayed.
  • Frames are caulked around joints.
  • There is no broken glass (windows or storm panes) or damaged screens, and no broken double pane, insulated window seals.
  • Compound glazing for muntins and mullions in good condition
  • The use of thermal glass or storm windows
  • Installed drip caps on windows

Roof

The last part of an exterior inspection is the roof—the largest area to look at, particularly one of the most important parts.

Inspectors make sure that:

  • The roof should have no curling, cupping, and loss of granulation. There should also be no broken or damaged shingles and no more than two layers of roofing.
  • Wood shingle or shake must be free from mold, rot, and decay, be free from cracked, broken shingles, and not curl while it’s installed.
  • Roofs have no prominent bare spots, no cracks or splits, minimal blistering/”alligatoring” and wrinkles, no excess silt (indicates drainage issues), fully applied tar.
  • Roof penetrations are flashed.
  • There is no evidence of excess caulk or tar in roofing.
  • There are no decay and no stains in the soffits and fascia
  • External vents are clean and unpainted.
  • There is no decay or rust in gutters, joints sealed, gutters attached securely to structure, no sagging or bending, no sections of gutter or downspout missing, gutters clean and free of mud deposits.
  • A chimney should be straight, flashed correctly, free of damage and cracks, and have mortar/cement caps that are in good condition.

Inside the Home

Attic

Attics are often ignored, but this is an integral part of the home that needs to be inspected.

Inspectors make sure that:

  • Roof penetrations and the underside of the roofing should be free of stains.
  • The structure shows no signs of decay or damage.
  • In addition to proper insulation, the installation of moisture barriers should be carried out near heated areas of the house.
  • There must be adequate ventilation, air to enter through soffit vents, adequately dimensioned gable ends, and it must be operated.
  • The attic is free of plumbing or exhaust vents.
  • There are no visible electrical splices.

Interior Rooms

Room interior is the largest component to be inspected in a house. Each room is inspected given the same factors, plus the additional inspections should be done in a specific room like kitchens.

Inspectors make sure that:

  • There are no visible indications of cracks, chips, or holes in the surfaces of the floors, walls, or ceilings.
  • There are no stains on the walls, the floors, or the ceilings.
  • The flooring is in good shape.
  • The ceilings and walls are not cracked.
  • Doors and windows work fine and latch properly. There’s no broken glass, no painting the sashes shut, and nothing decayed. There are weatherstripping and weep holes on the windows and doors.
  • Inside doors close easily, without damage, no rust, no broken hardware.
  • The paint and wall coverings are in good condition.
  • A good installation and well-maintained wood trim are present.
  • The switches and lights work correctly.
  • A sufficient number of outlets with three prongs is provided in each room.
  • Plugs must be tested (spot check)
  • Every habitable room should have its own heat/cool source.
  • Evidence that walls are adequately insulated
  • The fireplace is free of cracks or damaged masonry and exhibits no back-drafting signs (staining on the fireplace façade). Its dampers work correctly, and the firebox is lined.

Kitchen

The kitchen is a must-check for every home inspector. The kitchen is an important part of any home, and many homeowners spend an ample amount of time there.

Inspectors make sure that:

  • Ventilation is provided to the outside of the building on a working exhaust fan.
  • Plugs within six feet of the sink should be protected with Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (“GFCI”).
  • The dishwasher drains well, doesn’t leak, has baskets, and the door spring operates properly.
  • Pipes under sinks are free of leaks.
  • Under the sink, the floor is solid, with no stains or decay
  • A sufficient amount of water flows through the sink.
  • The garbage disposal and waste pipes have not rusted or deteriorated over time.
  • Installed appliances work as they should.
  • All cabinets are in good shape, and all doors and drawers operate properly.

Bathrooms

Bathrooms are the sanctuary of every person who wants alone time. Each person has a valuable story in a bathroom. Its essence and functionality should be conserved for the next owner to enjoy.

Inspectors make sure that:

  • An exhaust fan that does not extend into the attic space.
  • All fixtures should have adequate flow and pressure.
  • Water drains properly through a sink, tub, or shower.
  • The plumbing and cabinet floor below the sink are in good shape
  • Metal sinks should not show signs of corrosion, and overflow drains should not leak.
  • The toilet works correctly.
  • The toilet is stable, does not rock, there are no stains encountered around the base.
  • Caulking in tubs and showers are in good condition.
  • The tiles of the tub or shower should be secure, and the wall surface should be solid.
  • The bathtub or shower does not show any stains or signs of past leaking.

Miscellaneous

A home may also contain items that the previous owner used constantly. Although you might not think these things are important, they can be beneficial in a new home.

Inspectors make sure that:

  • The building is equipped with smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, each required by the local ordinance.
  • The treads and risers of stairs are solid.
  • There are handrails on the stairs in good condition.
  • The garage door opener will work properly and will stop in case of obstructions.

Basement

Basements are a crucial part of a home’s structure. Foundation issues are mostly to be found here, so a home inspector should perform a thorough inspection of this area.

Inspectors make sure that:

  • There are no signs of moisture.
  • The foundation should be free of stains, cracks or efflorescence, and should not flake or flake.
  • There are no visible structural wood flaws like sagging, decay, stains, insect-damaged sills, and the foundation is attached with anchor bolts.
  • Band and rim joist insulation

Crawl Space

Crawl spaces also have issues that previous owners don’t know about. It is very important to have the crawl space inspected by the home inspector before buying a house.

Inspectors make sure that:

  • Appropriately ventilated to the outside.
  • Water supply, waste, and vent pipes that are exposed should be insulated.
  • A vapor barrier between the heated area and crawl space is installed with insulation between the heated areas.
  • There are no signs of insect damage.
  • There is no sign of moisture damage.

Plumbing

Besides the superficial parts of the home, the internal water supply should be intact as well.

Inspectors make sure that:

  • A visual inspection of visible pipes reveals no signs of damage, leaks, or stains; drain pipes slope slightly down toward the septic tank/sewer system outlet.
  • The water heater is vented properly and is sized for the number of bedrooms. It shows no signs of rust and provides adequate quantities of hot water.
  • The water pump does not short cycle.
  • Galvanized pipes do not restrict water flow.
  • Test results from well water are acceptable.
  • The temperature of the hot water should be in the range of 118 – 125 degrees Fahrenheit.

Electrical

Aside from plumbing, another component of the home that keeps functioning well is the electrical wiring.

Inspectors make sure that:

  • There should be no exposed wiring, no knob-and-tube wiring, no exposed splices, and even the cables are secure and covered.
  • The service panel is in good condition, and all cables are connected with cable connectors, and fuses and breakers are not overheating.
  • Cables for branch circuits must not be aluminum.

Heating/cooling system

Last but certainly not least is the heating/cooling system of the home. Significant issues in this area could be a deal-breaker for some since repairs are costly.

Inspectors make sure that:

  • Good airflow seems to be consistent throughout (good output for forced hot air systems)
  • There are no open seams on the flues, and they slope upward to the chimney connection.
  • The cooling unit is free of rust.
  • There is no smell of combustion gas
  • Air filters should be clean.
  • A well-maintained ductwork system
  • Heaters, boilers, pipes, and air ducts should be free from asbestos.
  • There should be separate flues for wood and coal and gas, oil, propane.

What Can Be Excluded From a House Inspection?

However, several areas are generally not covered by a home inspection, even when there are variations from one home inspector to another. Feel free to consult a certified specialist if you suspect any of the following issues. Here are a few of the things they do not generally inspect:

  • Asbestos
  • Indoor air quality
  • Pest control
  • Swimming pools
  • Lead paint
  • Toxic mold
  • Radon gas
  • Venting equipment with household appliances

Who Pays for a Home Inspection?

Inspecting the property for the buyer only happens after the seller has notified the buyer that the property has been accepted. The total amount varies from $300 up to about $500. The location and size of the property are the decisive factors determining the total cost.

How Much Is a Home Inspection?

A reputable company can charge an average 2,000-square-foot buyer $400 for a home inspection. If you need to make additional inspections, such as ones for mold or termites, which are not usually included, the cost can easily shoot up to $500 or $600-plus.

Should Buyers Attend an Inspection?

The bottom line is that prospective home buyers should always attend a home inspection for one reason: they want to get out as much information as possible regarding the home and have many questions. Although it is recommended, it’s not mandatory.

What Are Red Flags in a Home Inspection?

Owning a home is one of the most important investments you’ll make and one that will last many years. Therefore, it is essential to be aware of home inspection red flags that may indicate bigger problems. A little TLC can rectify a few minor defects or problems, but some bigger issues endanger your life and safety and can even detract from your investment.

Here are some red flags to watch out for in a home inspection:

  • Structural problems
  • Grading
  • Mold
  • Old wiring
  • Old plumbing
  • Pests
  • Roof problems

What Are the Most Common Home Inspection Problems?

It is essential that you get a thorough evaluation of the home by hiring a qualified home inspector. It’s always good to know what types of problems to expect, so it never hurts to know in advance.

These are the most common issues that can be found during a home inspection:

  • Structural water damage
  • Faulty wiring
  • Poor drainages and grade sloping
  • Gutter issues
  • Roof problems
  • Foundation flaws
  • Poor home maintenance
  • Faulty plumbing

Can I Back Out of Buying a House After an Inspection?

If you decide after performing your home inspection that the house just isn’t right for you, then the purchase contract usually allows you an “out.” Providing you let the seller know about your intent within the specified time and the method stated in the agreement should guarantee the owner complete return of his earnest money.

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