What Do Home Inspectors Actually Check For?
When buying or selling a home, the home inspection is an important part of the entire process. Whichever side of the deal you are on, the results of the home inspection will greatly affect how it will end for you. That being said, it is important to know exactly what the inspector will be inspecting so that you can be better informed and prepared. This article is to serve as an overview of the home inspection process, what an individual agency will check is dependent on the agency themselves. Most lists will be about the same at the core, but specifics can be different from agency to agency. Even though we can't list an entire inspection checklist, we have here a few of the basic categories and areas that a home inspector will take a look at.
The first thing an inspector will look at in a home is the structure to test its integrity. This kind of a check will be administered to the foundation, roof, walls, attic etc. While they poke and prod around the home, they will be making sure that the foundation does not have any cracks, the roof is stable, and that there is no water damage anywhere in the house. This is the biggest thing that will be checked because it can be a major safety issue if the home is not structurally sound.
On the same note, water damage, in any way will significantly bring down the value of a home due to its effect on the structures integrity. If you home has had water damage, the affected areas will need to be remodeled. Due to the fact that most popular building materials are water soluble, they will deteriorate and fall apart when given prolonged exposure to water.
The next thing that will be on an inspectors list is the exterior of the home. When checking the exterior, the inspector will examine the siding-- whether it be stucco or vinyl - caulking and sealing around doors and windows, garage doors, decks, patios, etc. The reason they check all these things is to make sure that A) they are all working properly, and B) they are sealed to prevent water from seeping in. The inspector will also check the homes paint and overall appearance to make sure that it is looking sharp and in good condition.
Another thing the inspector will look for is whether or not the plumbing is working right and not damaged in any way. If a home' plumbing has any leaks it could cause significant water damage in a matter of days. The inspector will also double check the water's purity and that the fixtures are working properly.
Next, the inspector will check the roof of the home. Aside from its stability, an inspector will check for loose or broken shingles and tiles, as well as whether or not there are any branches that are close to or touch the roof (this can be a problem because it allows rodents access to the roof). Then the inspector will check the gutters to make sure they are working well and not clogged or broken and to make sure they are properly affixed. The inspector will also check the chimney, as well as any other roof attachments, to make sure they are safe and secure.
Another big part of the home inspection is the electrical system. The inspector will examine all of the electrical lines, outlets and switches, grounding equipment, etc. The main purpose of this is to test that they are all working correctly and that they work safely. A faulty electrical system can cause house fires which could strike at any time and potentially destroy the entire unit. However, if the lines are up to date and working properly, the chances of a fire starting will decrease dramatically. Along with all the electrical systems, the carbon monoxide and smoke alarms are tested as well.
Insulation is also on the list of things that an inspector will check for. Whether it be in the crawlspace, the attic or anywhere else, it will be checked to make sure that it is not rotting or breaking apart. At this point vapor retarders will also be checked and will be reported along with the insulation.
The inspector is also charged to examine a home's climate control systems. It doesn't matter the kind, whether it be a swamp cooler or an air conditioner - a gas heating system or electric, it will be tested for efficiency. The inspector will also check filters, chimneys, etc. for debris or any other obstructions.
And finally, an inspector will check everything inside the home. This includes the stairs to make sure they are stable, doors that they are hung straight, windows that they seal correctly, and so on and so forth. This will also include appliances like the refrigerator, and the washer and dryer - assuming they are going to be sold with the home.
What are the common problems found in homes when they are inspected? It will be almost impossible for a home to come out of a home inspection with a clean record unless it is less than a year old. That being said, there are some more common problems that arise on inspection reports; which include:
Electrical Issues. Electrical wiring can be a little hard to handle. With all the new improvements in technology, it is hard to find an older home that still meets code and some will need an upgrade or repair here or there.
Backwards Drainage. The slope of a lot is very important to the quality of your home. If the yard slopes toward the home, water will not drain into the road like it is supposed to, and the home will suffer from water damage.
Problems with the Exterior Facade. The facade of the home is constantly being bombarded by wind, heat, cold, rain, hail, etc. Which means that it is more likely to sustain damages like cracking, chipping, and fading.
These are only a few of the common problems that can be found during a home inspection, as well as only a brief overview of the inspection itself. For more details on what an inspector will be checking for, and for tips on how to raise the value of a home, contact a realtor or a home inspecting agency in your area. Also, remember, safety first; if you try to do any repairs, be sure to get advice and assistance from a licensed professional first and to take all recommended safety precautions.