What should home inspectors cover?

What should home inspectors cover?

March 17th, 2013 by Mark Blazek in Realestate

Spring is in the air. The time change has occurred. Income tax returns are coming in.

Real estate activity is about to pick up significantly, as with spring comes the peak of the home-selling season. If you are considering putting your house on the market, consider this.

When a buyer brings you an offer, they likely will require a home inspection as part of the purchase agreement. As a seller, you can be proactive and get an inspection done prior to getting an offer.

Think about it. When was the last time you were in your crawl space? In your attic? On your roof? It is not a bad idea for a seller to be proactive and find out sooner rather than later what, if anything, needs correcting on their home.

Regardless of which side of the transaction you are on - seller or buyer - there are common misconceptions about home inspections. A home inspection is not for changing things like carpet color, wall paint colors and other such cosmetic components of the home. Rather, a home inspection should identify materials defects in the home, such as a leaky roof, poor water pressure and unsafe electrical wiring.

Granted, a buyer can negotiate for some of the above-described cosmetic changes, but again, that is not the purpose of getting a home inspection. Rather, a home inspection is to reveal aspects of the property that might be unsafe for its residents: current or future ones.

What is covered in a home inspection will depend upon the type of home being inspected. According to the American Society of Home Inspectors, the following are the basic elements that a home inspector will check.

Structure: A home's skeleton impacts how the property stands up to weather, gravity and the earth. Structural components, including the foundation and the framing, should be inspected.

Exterior: The inspector should look at sidewalks, driveways, steps, windows and doors. A home's siding, trim and surface drainage also are part of an exterior inspection.

Roofing: A well-maintained roof protects you from rain, snow and other forces of nature. Take note of the roof's age, conditions of flashing, roof draining systems (pooling water), buckled shingles, loose gutters and downspouts, skylight and chimneys.

Plumbing: Thoroughly examine the water supply and drainage systems, water heating equipment and fuel storage systems. Drainage pumps and sump pumps also fall under this category. Poor water pressure, banging pipes, rust spots or corrosion can indicate problems.

Electrical: Safe electrical wiring is essential. Look for the condition of service entrance wires, service panels, breakers and fuses and disconnects. Also take note of the number of outlets in each room.

Heating: The home's heating system, vent system, flues and chimneys should be inspected. Look for age of the water heater, whether the size is adequate for the house, the heater's speed of recovery and energy rating.

Air Conditioning: Your inspector should describe your home cooling system, its energy source, and inspect the central and through-wall cooling equipment. Consider the age and energy rating of the system.

Interiors: An inspection of the inside of the home can reveal plumbing leaks, insect damage, rot, construction defects and other issues.

Ventilation/Insulation: To prevent energy loss, check for adequate insulation and ventilation in the attic and in unfinished areas such as crawl spaces. Also look for proper, secured insulation in walls. Insulation should be appropriate for the climate. Excess moisture in the home can lead to mold and water damage.

For more information specific to home inspections, visit www.ASHI.org. Looking for a home inspector? A Realtor can point you in the right direction.