A home inspection is a vital step in the ‘buying a house’ process, but why? It’s to ensure that there are no unwelcome surprises down the line – because let’s face it, a surprise cost is the last thing you want after going through the buying process! Plus, who can put a price on peace of mind? Which is exactly what a home inspection does. Simply put, a home inspector will spot any defects in your potential home. They will also go one step further to provide recommendations of problems that could potentially pop up down the line, or what needs to be fixed immediately.
If you choose not to undergo an inspection then your dream home could soon become a nightmare, requiring urgent repairs and costing a lot of money. To give you an idea of the potential issues that a property can have, we’ve outlined some common issues that often arise when purchasing a home:
Electrical issues are some of the most common problems that appear on home inspection reports. Older properties often have outdated wiring and inadequate breakers that cannot handle modern lifestyle demands.
With electrics you will also occasionally find poor DIY fixes that can potentially be dangerous. These need to be taken incredibly seriously, especially in older homes where previous owners have attempted to fix dated wiring. Consult your home inspector on steps he/she would take if this was there home, then go from there!
Problems with water can affect your property in a range of ways, but the most common issue is poor drainage. This is normally the result of inadequate surface grading, which can result in the pooling of water around the home. This is not something you want, as it could eventually create issues with the foundation (we’ll touch on this shortly).
Fixing this issue can be fairly simple, depending on the variables at play. It can be caused by blocked or leaking gutters or faulty downspouts, which are all easy repairs. It’s important to note however, if structural damage has already occurred. If this is the case, you will want to look fixing the issues before you buy, as repair work can be invasive and expensive.
Other common water problems can include faulty plumbing, poor repair jobs or moisture detection. Leaky pipes can result in major damage and very costly repairs, so take note of any stains or damp patches you see.
Roofing is one of the scariest issues for home buyers. Fair enough – as replacing a roof is no easy job. It’s also not a cost that most homeowners are willing to carry out until it becomes absolutely necessary. Due to this mindset, roof issues tend to be ignored.
A home inspection will reveal any current or old leaks, along with any major issues such as missing sections of shingles. Minor issues will often be uncovered, but should not be cause for concern. Leaks or missing shingles however, should be taken very seriously. If the roof does need replacing it is well worth bringing up to your real estate agent to see what you can do in terms of adding the repair into the costs of purchase.
Heating and air conditioning units will often appear on your inspection report. Common issues include blocked chimneys, unsafe exhausts and broken controls. These result in an inefficient and more costly system, and can even lead to issues that can endanger your health.
If you do have problems with a HVAC system then it is important to ensure that the issues aren’t dangerous, and if so, are rectified before you move in.
Foundations are one of the most costly repairs to undertake and can often be difficult to detect with absolute certainty. Your inspector will be able to spot the signs of a fragile foundation such as sloping floors, sticking doors and windows, and large sections of brick and mortar separating.
If you are concerned about problems with your foundation then it is worth hiring a structural engineer for a second opinion prior to purchasing.
The exterior of a property is often neglected by homeowners and can cause issues inside if not looked after properly. Worn down weather stripping or caulk around doors and windows is one of the most common issues, which can result in water and air getting into your home, causing damp or inefficient cooling and heating.
No matter how confident you are in your new potential home you should always hire a good home inspector so that you can be confident and make the most informed purchasing decision.
For more information, our Realtors can recommend a good local inspector for your property.