5 Tips for a Home Inspection
Have you just had an offer accepted on a home? Are you ready to have the home inspection? Pay attention to these 5 tips to make sure your home inspection hits the most important areas!
Home inspections are not mandatory or required for buyers of real estate, but unless you are a certified builder or have lots of experience buying homes, you should ALWAYS get a home inspection when buying a home. Follow these 5 tips to assure your home inspection goes smoothly!
When you have your home inspected, be sure the home inspector looks at the roof. Most home inspectors will NOT get on the roof to inspect it, but any good home inspector will use binoculars to look at the roof from afar. They should be looking at the layout of the shingles, the appearance of the shingles, and if there are any misplaced shingles. While your home inspector cannot tell you exactly how old the roof is, they can give you an estimate of the shape of roof. However, you can ask the homeowner how hold the roof is or if they have replaced the roof. Further, your home inspector should look at the ceilings inside the home for evidence of leaks. Homeowners are also legally obligated to disclose any leaks. Roofs last 30-40 years, are expensive to replace, and cause serious damage to the rest of your home if they allow leaks, so it is crucial to inspect them closely.
#2 Electrical System
The electrical system is another very important area that should be inspected. First, the home inspector should check the electrical box to make sure there are no double taps and the amount of electricity is large enough to support the home. Next, the home inspector should check for any exposed wires and the presence of old knob and tube wiring. Both of these are very dangerous and knob-and-tube wiring may prevent you from getting homeowner's insurance, and both should be fixed by the homeowner prior to the sale. Finally, the home inspector should check that all the outlets are working and that all outlets outside and near faucets are GFCI outlets, which are now required, but were not in the past. The electrical component of a home is not only a place that can cost you money, but also can be dangerous if not done properly, so make sure it is inspected closely.
#3 Heating System
The heating system should be inspected for a number of reasons, but most importantly you need heat to survive! Your home inspector should check that the heating system is working. They have special infrared lasers than can check temperatures coming out of the system to make sure they are throwing the correct amount of heat. Secondly, they should check the age and condition of the furnace/boiler. They should look for leaks or rust, which may be easy to fix or may require the whole unit to be replaced. Replacement of these systems can be upwards or $10,000! You should also be aware of the fuel source. Electrical and oil heat tend to be more expensive than propane or natural gas. Ask the homeowner about what they pay monthly for heat. While this may not prevent you from buying the home, it is important to know what you are getting yourself into. You want to check the insulation to make sure the home is properly insulated because if not, you will spend more money on heat. In line with this, you should check that the windows are sealed properly. Replacement windows are ideal and will retain heat better than original windows, Finally are any piped insulated with asbestos? This should be removed by the homeowner because it is expensive to do and can cause cancer if not done so properly.
The foundation of your home is incredibly important for the home's structural integrity and prevention of flooding. You should check for large cracks and present of water damage. It is not uncommon for foundations to have cracks, but they should be fixed and should not be actively leaking water. Most foundations will have white streaks on the walls known as efflorescence, which indicates the presence of moisture and not necessarily a full flooding of the basement. You should check for the presence of mold, which also indicates the presence of water in the basement. Ask the owner if there has been any flooding as they are legally obligated to disclose this information.
Finally, your home inspector should inspect the plumbing system. The should check for rusty pips, clogs, and leaks. They should check the water pressure and make sure the faucets flow properly. If the house have private sewage, or a septic system, the system must pass Title V inspection by a separate inspector. It needs to work properly and be fit for the number of bedrooms in the home. You should be aware of the age of the system because even if it passes Title V inspection, it may only be a couple years away from needing to be replaced or having a major fix, which can be very costly. You should ask the owner how many times they have the system emptied, since this can impact how long the system will last. Finally, if the home has private water, then you should have the water inspected to make sure it's potable.
A home inspection is a major part of buying a home. It may seem like an unnecessary expense at $500-$700, but it could save you thousands in the future!
Tim Walsh, REALTOR® is a licensed (#9557151) Massachusetts real estate agent with Century 21 The Real Estate Group. Tim primarily works in Central Massachusetts including the following towns: Milford, Hopedale, Mendon, Upton, Medway, Bellingham, Hopkinton, Holliston, Franklin, Uxbridge, Northbridge, and Blackstone. If you have any questions or need help buying, selling, or investing in real estate, call (508-494-9634) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) Tim today!