Home inspections are a common expectation for buyers and sellers to prepare for. It is always a good idea to invest in one, and it is an even better idea to prepare for all sorts of secrets and things you may not have thought of to come out into the open. Houses are complex structures with many rooms, materials and potential red flags to look for. You may think sellers fear the prospect of inspections, but it also serves as a great opportunity to resolve issues they may not have known about before it is too late. It also creates opportunities to re-negotiate on both sides prior to closing.
There is a misconception of what home inspectors do as a whole. It goes beyond the obvious, and even if you have been through the process in the past, the specifics go far beyond the report they give the potential buyer at the end. Here are the main things you can expect a professionally trained inspector to look for:
Finding Out About The Foundation
Starting from the bottom up, the actual foundation has plenty for an inspector to look for. Soil gradation is key to a solid home; if poorly graded, water can slip behind the gaps and get under the property. This can then impact you over time as your walls will begin to eventually move and shift, and if not identified in a timely manner, you may be dealing with an issue regarding the house’s structural integrity. Some of the other common things inspectors will look for are cracks in door frames and doors, a leaning slant on porches, floors with gaps between walls and cracks in concrete wall/block foundations.
Depending on the severity and complications of any issues found, inspectors can recommend a client to seek a structural engineer for further evaluation. Foundation problems usually mean long-term problems, and buyers have to prepare for the possibility of lenders ensuring issues are resolved before they complete their investment. These can often be make-or-break situations, which is why it is so important for both buyers and sellers to have a thorough inspection completed.
Speaking of Water…
If you have lived in Florida for even a little bit of time, you probably know a thing or three about the potential worries of water. Water damage can be rampant, and a major lookout for inspectors is for them to identify issues that might be early enough in to be resolved, or worst case, you can circle back to the above-mentioned topic on what it might do to your home’s overall integrity.
There are plenty of places for an inspector to check out for signs or existing proof of water intrusion/damage. They look for moisture collecting in the ceiling and attic area for starters, check the insulation for moisture and identify any water stains along window frames, tile/vinyl flooring and if there may be any bubbling apparent on your paint. It probably does not need to be said these are more than cosmetic issues; they can often develop mold which may be a health risk, not to mention electrical issues that are almost always expensive.
What To Expect About Your Electric System
Inspectors are not electricians, so it is vital to know that they will often refer many specialists to assist in specific parts of your house if the issue they identify is significant enough. That being said, they are trained to identify those issues where you may not be, and you want to know if the wiring running through your house is in good condition before you accept the burden of maintaining it.
They will go through every one of the home’s outlets to confirm its condition, identifying if there is any exposed or mismanaged wiring or improperly grounded three-prong plug. Knob and wiring is a major priority of inspectors due to its existence in earlier homes, as they lead to safety risks from the addition of building insulation. They will report the need for replacement in all scenarios.
The property’s HVAC system is also something they will do a complete look through of as well, primarily because of the many parts needed to run said system having various lifespans and a possibility of any one of them nearing the end of it. Inspectors will check your air filters and insulation for signs of asbestos or rust, confirm the condition of your ducts and run multiple cycles of both your heat and cooling to ensure every room is getting proper coverage.
Think We’re Done Talking About Water? How About Plumbing?
The possibility of mold or a new paint job might be the least of your concerns once the inspector runs through the property’s plumbing. The pipes that run through the house are mostly working behind-the-scenes, and it can often be difficult for even the seller to know there are issues due to minimal warning signs. An inspector will be thorough in looking at every exposed pipe for indications of rust, sediment build-up, clogged lines running through the bathroom(s) and identifying any issues with the water heater or its thermostat.
And as mentioned several times before, they will certainly recommend in their report for a professional plumber to do further inspection and/or repair.
The List Goes On and On
Roofs will be looked at to confirm its approximate age and if it is recommended to prepare for replacement or how much longer it will last before it becomes mandatory. Inspectors will also be cautious for damage to the shingles, as that may indicate the possibility of pest damage.
Florida especially has room to be extra careful and concerned of that possibility due to how humid we get throughout the year. Homes are often victims to termite infestations, leading to prominent damage to the property’s wooden structure. If you are lucky, the inspector can identify said infestation early on and the seller can be advised to hire an exterminator to handle before the sale is complete.
In addition to all of that, if your home has a basement, it will be thoroughly analyzed to determine if any of the previously mentioned risks are existent or a concern to monitor.
Most sellers are prepared for inspectors to come into their property, and hopefully, they have resolved the minor issues and problems that might have appeared on the report. Sellers cannot know everything wrong or concerning, however, so the inspector’s findings can be seen as a win-win investment to consider even if it might not be mandatory by the lender. Sometimes it feels better to be ignorant and hope that the perfect home you found has nothing wrong, but you will be really saving yourself stress, time and money by hiring a reputable inspector local to your area.
Our NSB Homes team is your local experts in the home buying process. Your real estate expert will be able to work with you on selecting an inspector or referring you to one. If you are preparing to take the leap into a new home, our goal is to provide you with the know-how to walk away from this experience satisfied with your choice.