What To Expect From A Home Inspection
A home inspection can unearth many problems you did not notice during your visits to the home. Typical findings include:
- Crumbling foundation
- Structural damage to floors, walls, and ceilings
- Water damage inside and outside the walls
- Termite damage
- Porch railings or posts in poor condition
- Heating and cooling systems need to be cleaned or do not work properly
- Roof needs repair
- Broken or leaking pipes
- Electrical wiring not functioning or broken
- Broken water fixtures or light fixtures
- Windows that do not open
- Uneven doorways
- Improper insulation
- Water contamination
- Septic tank issues, or
- Hazardous chemicals
Most homes will only experience a few minor issues, but some older homes may have more problems than they are worth. The damage to the homes could cost you thousands of dollars if you are unaware of the damage prior to purchasing the home. While disclosure of some problems is mandatory, many homeowners do not even know that some of these problems exist until they try to sell their homes.
On the day of the inspection, you should expect to hear about some problems. You should be given a detailed report of the findings that will outline drastic problems and those that can be fixed easily.
Some lenders will not approve the home loan until the problems are fixed and another inspection is conducted.
Specific Places That Should Be Inspected
When interviewing home inspectors, make sure to ask whether the following areas are inspected:
- Chimney and fireplace
- Attic and basement
- Crawl space
- Swimming pools, and
- Smoke detectors and appliances
These are important areas that can be very costly to repair once you have purchased the home. Many homeowners are willing to replace a chimney cap or remove mold from the basement. You should make sure that these areas are inspected prior to the closing. You should also inspect these areas during the final walkthrough.
Chimney And Fireplace
Inspectors should be looking for:
- Missing, broken, or intact chimney caps
- Mortar between brick chimneys is intact
- Metal chimneys are not bent or contain holes and have all screws in place
- Creosote – this is buildup caused from wood burning fireplaces, and is flammable if not removed
Attic, Basement, And Crawl Spaces
Home inspectors should be on the lookout for the following:
- Fire damage
- Rotting beams
- Damage from water, and
- Damage from animals and pests
When looking at the swimming pool, the inspector should look at the following:
- Swimming pool plumbing, and
- Swimming pool shell
Smoke Detectors And Appliances
- Make sure they work
- No leaks
- Check for broken hoses or connections
- Broken door handles
- Inadequate wiring
A termite inspection is a separate inspection that will give you an idea of structural damage to the home that has been caused by termites and other pests. This inspection is required by most lenders before they will guarantee you the money to purchase the home.
Termite inspections are not covered under the standard fee of a home inspection, so you may have to pay for the inspection unless the homeowners are willing to do so.
The inspection should take about an hour and will entail the inspector looking underneath siding, in basements, attics, and on the foundation of the home to see if there are termites present or if there are other insects such as ants, or fungus that are destroying the wood. The inspector will also conduct an inspection inside the home as well. Since termites can live in different weather conditions, you should have the inspection done even if you live in an area that has lower temperatures than other regions.
Termites can be removed using an insecticide that is specially designed to kill termites and their eggs, but the damage left behind can be immense. If the home has been infested for a long time, then it may be beyond repair.
You will then have to discuss a reduction in price, repairs being made to the property, or walking away altogether.