Buying a home is a big investment and you want to be sure you know what you’re getting for your money. You also want to be certain there aren’t problems that might be expensive to fix or put you and your family at risk. As a home buyer or new home owner, it’s always a good idea to hire a qualified home inspector to vet out the building and see if there are any hidden or hazardous problems.
5 critical areas to watch during the home inspection
1. Water damage/mold
Water damage is serious business and one of the most damaging events that can happen to a home. Signs or conditions that point to potential water damage include:
- Any kind of water drainage points towards the home
- Pools of water collect in or around the house
- Visible water marks in the home
- Noticeable mold (but mold can be hidden too)
- Damage to the roof
- Musty or moldy smells
Additionally, take a look at the gutters to be sure they’ve been properly routed away from the home. Water damage can create problems with the structure’s foundation, form a rot situation or set the conditions for toxic mold.
2. Heating and cooling systems
As a home buyer, you want to know the condition of the heating and cooling systems in the home. Are there maintenance records? How old are the units? Do they run efficiently? Well-maintained systems, even if old, can be just fine. However, if the previous owner did not take proactive care or even replace the air filter regularly, chances are they’ll need replacing. Purchasing and installing new heating and cooling systems can be extremely costly.
If there are issues with the home’s foundation, this can point to serious problems. Take a look at the walls and ceilings in each room. Do they appear uneven? Are there visible cracks or shifts? It’s important to also carefully examine the outside to look for cracks. Another condition to look out for are whether any trees are invading the foundation; sometimes the roots can begin to reach underneath the home.
One of the biggest problems home owners find is a roof is dated or that it has been improperly installed. How old is the roof? Are any shingles degraded? A roof does degrade over time and, if the roof is reaching the end of its life cycle, you’ll want to know this upfront as it is expensive to replace.
5. Electrical system
A home inspection should include a careful look at the home’s wiring system, especially in older homes that may not be up to current standards or lack a good supply of power and electrical outlets. Signs that may point to electrical problems include:
- Extension cords run throughout the home to serve as additional outlets
- Exposed electrical wires
- Two-prong outlets
- Outlets not grounded properly
- Switches don’t work correctly
It’s important the home’s electrical system is sound, you don’t want a fire.
Buying a new home is a joyous event but before you make an offer, hire a home inspector. You don’t want the excitement of new home-ownership to be dampened by serious problems. Getting a careful and thorough inspection done will ensure you are buying a property that is safe and comfortable to live in.
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