When you’re in the market for a new home, it’s easy to get swept away and fall in love with the houses you tour. You imagine your life there, how you’ll fill each room, and hosting BBQs on the back porch.
Before you get too excited, remember that the house needs to be inspected first. The house inspection report could very well come back showing severe issues with the home.
However, certain issues may not be a “make or break” problem. In fact, it could even give you some leverage in negotiating the price.
On the other hand, buying a house with unreported problems could end up costing you a fortune. That’s why every house inspection report should cover the essential items.
Read on to find out what they are!
Essential Items on a House Report
Keep in mind, your house inspection report is there to uncover and determine any significant problems within the home you’re looking to buy.
It is not, however, there to point out every stain, outdated fixture, or poorly painted room. Those types of issues are not relevant in terms of the quality of the house. If you’d like to negotiate with the sellers to put in new floors, fixtures, etc., that’s a personal choice.
1. Foundation, Basement, and Crawlspace
A house inspection report should note if there’s excess moisture in the basement or crawlspace. Excess moisture in these places could attract insects, lead to mold growth, or potentially cause structural damage. In these scenarios, either a leak is present or they’re improperly ventilated.
Cracks and other foundation issues should also be on the house inspection report. These issues are generally fixable (with some cost to the seller) and not a big deal. However, some foundation problems, such as shifting, sinking, or severe cracking can make a house nearly unsellable.
2. Mold and Water Damage
Water damage can be caused by a myriad of things and should definitely be on a house inspection report. Leaky pipes, faulty appliances, negative drainage, and leaky roofs can all lead to water damage.
Water and moisture can severely damage drywall, ceilings, and over time, the structural supports of the home. They can also lead to mold growth.
Mold growth of any kind is bad in a home. Not all people have negative reactions to general molds, but some experience coughing, nasal stuffiness, and skin irritation.
Black mold, on the other hand, can be incredibly dangerous. Like all molds, black mold will grow almost anywhere that’s moist and dark. People are generally unaware of its growth until the tear down a wall or open up a rarely used space.
3. Roof and Chimney Health
One of the more common issues a house inspection report will red flag are roof damages. Roofs are constantly exposed to the elements. Constant exposure to rain, snow, hail, and the sun’s harsh UV rays will slowly breakdown the integrity of a roof.
A house inspection report will note any severe damage to the roof. This includes shingles, flashing, chimneys, and even the gutters. They will often determine if the roof needs to be repaired or give you an estimated life expectancy of it in its current condition.
Some lenders won’t grant loans for a house that needs a new roof. Therefore, the sellers may be forced to make the repairs if they want to sell.
4. Electrical and Plumbing Issues
A house inspection report absolutely needs to cover any problems with the electrical or plumbing systems.
The electrical system needs to be safe and in good working order. This includes all lights and outlets. Also, the report will note if there are any faulty connections, overloaded circuits, or visibly damaged wires.
The house inspection report will also take a good look at the plumbing. It will note any visible damage to pipes, including leaks in and outside of the house. It will also ensure all faucets, toilets, appliances, tubs, and showers work well.
5. General Interior
As we stated before, ugly carpet, stains, outdated decor, and other cosmetic worries aren’t something a house inspection report will cover.
For the general interior, the report will cover any severe issues such as cracks in the ceilings and walls, the condition of the floors, and any structural damages.
The house inspection report will also note what appliances are working and any potential safety issues.
While the house inspection report isn’t overly concerned with weeds or ugly lawn furniture, it will take a good look at several factors.
First, the report will note if the house has negative drainage. Negative drainage means the ground near the foundation slopes down toward the house. This will lead to rainwater draining into the foundation, rather than away from it.
If the home has a septic tank, the house inspection report will also make sure there are no leaks in it or the leech field. It will also note any areas of standing water that could be potentially harmful to the house.
Finally, the house inspection report will determine if any tree limbs are too close to the house, which could lead to potential damage to the siding or roof.
7. Home Exterior
The house inspection report should take a good hard look at the home’s exterior. If the siding is damaged from hail, falling off, or rotting, it needs to be replaced.
Additionally, all windows and doors need to be in good working condition and undamaged. The trim and framing around the doors and windows should be undamaged as well. Any wood rot or damages must be reported.
Many lenders won’t grant loans for a home that has chipping paint. Chipping, peeling, and bubbling paint needs to be covered on the house inspection report.
Finally, the heating and cooling systems of the house need to be checked. The worst thing a new home buyer could experience is buying a home in the middle of summer only to find out the air conditioning doesn’t work. Both interior and exterior HVAC systems need to be covered.
As a potential home buyer, you have the right to know about the inspection. It’s vital that you remain patient and try not to get emotionally attached to homes.
When we find a home we want, it’s easy to brush off things like chipping paint, small bits of water damage, or a roof that only has a few years of life left in it. However, once the novelty of the new home wears off, you will still be the one responsible for fixing those things.
Instead, be patient. Schedule an inspection, see what the house inspection report says, and weigh it with the opinion of your realtor. Then, make your decision.