10 Things You Need to Know About Home Inspection

Once you have an accepted offer on your house the buyer will want to know your home inside and out. One of the primary ways they are going to do this is to hire a home inspector.

Something you might not know here in the state of California, home inspection is an unregulated industry, meaning that any Tom, Dick or Harry can setup shop as a home inspector and start doing inspections. Of the home inspectors that have a “license” or “certification” most of those have been acquired online by some means and its really hard to tell what you are getting into. Remember, the home inspectors primary job is to find something wrong with the home.

1. Defective Plumbing

The most common problems that we see occurring on inspection reports are leaks and or slow drainage. You can check these things for yourself by simply doing a visual check of all the faucets and check under all the sinks for any leaks, dripping or moisture. Also running water in all the sinks and tubs or showers to see how they are draining.

2. Inadequate Wiring and Electrical

The most common electrical problems that we have seen called out on reports over the years are. GFCI outlets are required within close proximity of any water source if they are not present as is the case in many older homes the inspector will call this out as a health and safety issue. Exposed, bare, split or improperly connected wire are also very common and can pose a danger as this is a fire hazard.

3. Inadequate or Improperly Functioning Heating and Cooling Systems

The most common things we have seen on home inspection reports are, insufficient temperature variation when the unit is running either by not heating or cooling the air flowing through the system sufficiently. Also clogged filters, lack of general maintenance and aged equipment are often called out.

4. Roofing Problems

Most home inspectors will only do a visual inspection of the roof and for liability purposes will not go further than the top of the ladder to see what lies up top. You yourself can do this and look for broken loose displaced or cracked tiles, Missing worn or peeling shingles, Cracked missing or worn sealing around pipes and vents going through the roof.

5. Damp Attic and Crawl Spaces

This is often related to the roofing problems mentioned above and they go hand in hand, You can check for obvious signs of water intrusion and wet damaged or moldy insulation.

6. Rotting Wood

This can occur in many places (door or window frames, trim, siding, decks and fences). Do a visual inspection yourself of these areas and see if you see any visible damage or anything that you as a buyer would consider wanting replaced.

7. Fireplaces & Chimneys

Most modern homes have a “gas only” fireplace these have a firebox that’s made from a thinner firebrick that can crack or damage if wood is burned in the fireplace as wood burns hotter than gas, Also make sure that there is proper screening or covering for the fireplace and that the flue vent is functioning properly. With older homes with an actual chimney make sure that there is a proper functioning chimney cap screen and that the chimney shows no obvious signs of wear or cracking, If you own an older home you might consider having a licensed chimney & fireplace repair expert out to do an inspection for you before putting your home on the market.

8. Unsafe or Overused Electrical Circuit

A fire hazard is created when more amperage is drawn on the circuit than was intended. We often see doubled tapped circuits and Improperly labeled or overloaded main electric panel called out on reports. Also if a panel is outdated this might be called out by an inspector as well. If you are unsure of your panel or it looks well worn and aged you might consider having an electrical contractor out to inspect the panel ahead of time and give you an estimate. This way if it does become an issue on the report you already know the actual cost to repairs rather than the buyers guesstimate.

9. Adequate Security and Safety Features

An inspector will look for the basic safety features such as do all the doors and windows shut and lock securely does the garage door have a fire rated door if the garage is attached to the home? Is the water heater double strapped and do all of the bedrooms have a working smoke alarm as well as checking to see if there is a functional Carbon Monoxide detector in the home placed within ten feet of the bedrooms?

10. Structural / Foundation Problems

An inspector will certainly investigate the underlying footing and foundation of your home as structural integrity is fundamental to your home. They will look for deterioration on a raised foundation home and severe cracking and raising on a slab foundation home When you put your house on the market, you don’t want any unpleasant surprises that could cost you literally thousands of dollars during the sale of your home. By having an understanding of these problem areas as you walk through your home, you’ll be arming yourself against future disappointment or worse yet an unrealistic request for repairs based on what a buyer thinks these repairs will cost.

If you have any more questions on this subject, don’t hesitate to call us: (714)-406-1414.