What to Know About Home Inspections
When you are buying your first home, every cent counts. You have been looking at your savings account for months and spending a lot of time working out strategies to get everything paid. The last thing you need is to be stuck with a housing problem that will cost you a ton of money!
So far, thanks to your meticulous planning, everything has checked out on the history of the house, and the only significant thing left to do for due diligence is the home inspection. Your real estate agents have impressed upon the importance of hiring a professional home inspector, and you took their advice.
One of the more intelligent things you can do as a first-time buyer is have a home inspection checklist. By keeping a list, you won't forget any of the essential items to understand thoroughly. Your home inspector will not only be looking for significant problems that could be deal-breakers but also general maintenance issues as well.
What is a Home Inspection?
A home inspection is when a qualified building inspector comes to your house and inspects it for any problems and defaults. If there are any structural or other significant problems, you need to know about them before handing over your hard-earned cash to close the deal on settlement day.
If anything is found, it gives you the chance to put the onus back on the seller to fix any outstanding problems before settlement.
A home inspection is, in fact, essential, and having it done will give peace of mind and protect you from expensive future issues. A home inspection costs between $300-$1000 for most homes, so it is well worth the investment.
What to Expect From a Home Inspection
Some aspects of the inspection are essential, and your qualified building inspector will know what he is looking for, starting with the structure. This involves the following.
These are some of the most vital things a home inspector will be looking at when visiting a home for a visual inspection. Use these items as a home inspection checklist:
- Foundations: The foundation is checked as the structural integrity of the building depends on it. The inspector looks for cracks or shifts that may later cause a problem.
- Underfloor Area: Check for dampness and pipe leakage. A chance to look at the floor joists from a different angle and make sure there are no ants or termites down there.
- Walls and Ceilings: Are there any cracks in the walls as this could indicate a shift in the foundations. The ceiling should not have any loose plaster or cracks. If you find any seismic change in the house, this is serious and would be a reason not to complete as you need to know that the place is safe.
- Drainage: Are gutters downpipes and drains intact? Are there drainage pipes carrying water away from the house? Water should not be lying around in the yard. Sometimes guttering is rusted or rotted with holes, or it may be merely blocked with leaves. Either way, it will require fixing.
- Termites: The inspector should check all woodwork for evidence of termite damage, any crumbling or rotting wood.
- Window and Door Frames: Should not be bowed or rotted. Window glass should not be broken or damaged with visible broken seals.
- Exterior Paint: Is it peeling? If so, it is most likely cosmetic, and you knew about it anyway from your first visits, unless an underlying issue like water damage causes it.
- The Roof: Is the roof structurally damaged? Are any roof tiles missing? What is the age? Does the home inspector see as the additional life expectancy?
- Chimney and Fireplace: Is the chimney in good condition? Does the firebox have any cracking? Is the interior chimney dirty, creating a fire hazard?
- Electrical Outlets: This should be tested, along with the stove that is a fixed appliance. Is it working? Are there enough power points in all rooms?
- Flooring: Are all floors in good order, no holes or missing boards.
- Windows and Doors: Do they open freely? If not, check why old fashion window cords could be broken and need replacing.
- Water Pressure: Is it okay when you turn on the taps? Does the water flow freely? Do toilets flush?
- Ventilation: Is ventilation adequate? Does the house smell musty? Is there sufficient airflow? Is there a heat pump or air conditioner? ( If yes, turn it on to circulate clean air).
- Smoke Detectors Are they working?
- Asbestos: Any asbestos present will need to be removed if it is not intact. If any asbestos does have to be released now, this is a considerable expense. Asbestos has to be removed by a specialist and disposed of accordingly in a safe manner.
- Gas: There may be gas heating or a gas cooker. Can you smell gas? Any leaks should be identified and fixed.
- Fuse Box or Electrical Panel: Is it old and needing replacement? Check for overheating of fuses. Make sure all lights work, and if they don't, it may just be a bulb.
- TV Cables: Are TV cables secured.
- Garage: If there is a garage, check it out, and ensure that the seller has removed all his stuff from the premises. It is very annoying to settle on a property and be forced to remove a truckload of someone else's junk.
An excellent licensed inspector will soon identify anything glaringly wrong. The inspection will take from two to three hours, maybe even longer for larger homes.
Then they have to do the paperwork, and there are a lot of questions to be answered. Any areas of the home that have been renovated or repaired, or added should be identified. If you can, put together your list of questions before the inspector gets there so that they can answer them for you.
Remember you are looking to avoid any major repairs of the sort that you can't afford at the moment. A home inspection is one of the most crucial aspects of research when buying a house.
When The Home Inspection is Finished
It is imperative to have a thorough checklist to avoid significant repairs. Ask the home inspector questions on anything you are unsure about. After all, they have probably set half a day aside to do the inspection and are paid accordingly.
You can learn a lot from this experience, and as you will probably have many more houses, the more you know the better. If you find that there are issues you did not expect, you'll need to determine whether you can renegotiate with the seller or not.
At times sellers will be eager to make the deal while others won't. If it is a hot seller's market, they may take their chances by putting the house back on the market. You may decide that getting your earnest money deposit back is the best decision.
Final Thoughts on The Home Inspection Checklist
This is an essential and instructive experience, and you will be so proud of yourself for doing your due diligence. Once your home inspection checklist is completed and signed off, you are ready for closure or settlement, knowing your new home is in order.