Buying a home is a huge investment, which means you need to know exactly what you’re getting before signing the final papers. A home inspection is the best way to uncover unseen issues.
However, it’s not good enough to hire an inspector and assume everything will be fine. You need to involve yourself in the home inspection process.
When you meet the inspector, you can accompany them on a walk-through of the home. During this meeting, you need to keep your eyes and ears open.
To help you out, we’re going over what to look for during a home inspection. This will help you determine if you need to negotiate with the seller before buying.
A common problem found during an inspection is an electrical system that needs work. Some issues may only require minor repairs, but others could present a serious problem.
The electrical system in a home must meet code regulations. If it doesn’t, it could pose a safety hazard. This is especially important in older homes.
A few red flags to watch out for are problems with the configuration of the circuit breaker. Your inspector may also check the ground fault circuit interrupters. These must contain proper wiring.
Your inspector will test all the electronics in the home, so make sure and pay attention if a certain room has an issue. If the problem is major, the seller may need to make repairs before you buy the home.
The last thing you want to deal with after moving into a new house is a sewage backup. This is a messy situation that requires professional assistance.
Many sewage issues arise as a result of a break in the sewage line running to or from a home. When this happens, flooding can occur and water damage may wreak havoc on interior floors and walls.
A few symptoms of sewage line issues include standing water in the yard, a flooded basement, or cracks in the foundation. Your inspector will be able to determine the exact cause of the problem.
Make sure you bring this issue up with the seller, as the city may be responsible for making the repairs.
The Condition of the HVAC System
A new HVAC unit is a huge investment. If the home you’re considering buying has a faulty unit, you’ll need to factor this into the asking price.
An inspector can’t make any guarantees regarding the longevity of a home’s HVAC system. However, they’ll evaluate the unit to determine if it has any major problems.
Your inspector will test the system to evaluate how it runs. Pay attention to problems like weak airflow, poor cooling or heating, strange smells, or a noisy unit.
These problems could indicate the HVAC system either needs a tune-up or full replacement. Your inspector can recommend the best course of action. They may also be able to check the serial number on the unit to determine its age.
A Poor Roof and Chimney
A bad roof or deteriorating chimney are both costly, yet necessary repairs. You don’t want to buy a home and find out you have an issue during the first heavy rain.
It’s important to note that an inspector probably won’t access the roof to look for damage. They don’t have to. Simply inspecting the roof and chimney from the ground gives them all the information they need.
A few signs a roof needs replacing include cracked shingles, sagging, and flashing around air vents. Ignoring these issues could lead to leaks, mold, and poor energy efficiency.
Chimneys take a lot of abuse, which means over time they’re bound to start crumbling. Signs the chimney needs repairs include cracking, flaking bricks, or leaning.
Signs of a Bad Foundation
Not only are foundation repairs costly and time-consuming, but a bad foundation can also cause a number of other issues throughout a home. Your inspector will spot-check the house’s interior and exterior for signs of foundation issues.
Some telltale signs include cracks in exterior walkways, cracks in interior walls, doors that stick, and sagging floors. There may also be erosion around the exterior base of the home.
A problematic foundation isn’t something you should ignore. If your home inspection reveals a problem, you’ll need to speak to the seller about making the repairs or adjusting the asking price to account for the expense.
Moisture in the Basement
If the home you’re considering has a basement or crawl space, your inspector will have a look at these areas. One of the primary things they’re looking for is moisture or dampness.
There may be moisture or water damage on the floors or walls of the basement. You may also notice the smell of mildew.
Moisture in this area is an indication of poor drainage. When it rains, water isn’t getting filtered away from the home like it’s supposed to. This could mean the home needs replacement gutters or the landscaping isn’t draining rainwater correctly.
A moist basement or crawl space could also mean there are cracks in the base of the foundation. Water is seeping through these cracks and damaging the interior.
Another common issue found by inspectors is bad plumbing. If your inspector finds a problem, it’s important to understand how serious it is.
Small leaks or poor water pressure could indicate the plumbing fixtures need replacing. This is a minor issue you can easily fix.
However, if your inspector finds major pipe deterioration, a full replacement is in order. Look for heavy corrosion, discoloration, or leaking.
You also need to ensure the pipes in a home aren’t polybutylene. These pipes deteriorate and end up causing major leaking. Some older homes still contain pipes made of this material.
Know What to Look for During a Home Inspection
The best way to get the most out of a home inspection is to come prepared. If your inspector finds major issues, it’s time to negotiate with the seller.
Educating yourself on what to look for during a home inspection will ensure you don’t end up losing money on repairs that aren’t your responsibility.
We provide home inspection services throughout Northeast Ohio. Contact us today to get started.