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Common Issues That Home Inspectors Typically Look For

top things home inspectors look for

Homebuyers almost always hire professional home inspectors to find any problems with a property before closing. If you’re planning to sell a home, it’s important to address key issues before this important process begins. Read on to learn which hot spots inspectors focus on when they’re assessing the condition of a home.

Roofs and Chimneys

Because it’s the first line of defense against the weather, roofs get a lot of attention from inspectors. Deteriorating shingles and other flaws are one of the very first things they will notice. Rotted or moist elements beneath the shingles will typically draw requests for repairs. The inspection will also include a long look at the attic. Any sign of water stains or mold will lead to a negative report.

Sellers should also make sure the flashing around the chimney is watertight. The bricks and mortar should be in good condition, and the fireplace needs to function properly and be free of creosote buildup which can increase the risk of uncontrolled fires and, in rare instances, explosions.

Plumbing

home inspector plumbingDuring an inspection, you should expect every part of your home’s plumbing system to get a thorough once-over. Repair leaks long before the inspector sets foot on your property. It’s always important to address pumping problems quickly because they can lead to extensive, unseen water damage that can reduce a home’s value.

Inspectors also check water pressure by flushing toilets, turning on multiple faucets, and simultaneously running the dishwasher. They also assess the health of a home’s septic system.

Basements and Crawl Spaces

Home inspectors pay special attention to signs of mold in basements and crawl spaces. Any sort of mildew stain and foul odor can torpedo a home sale, especially if there is evidence of black mold. Even if the mold in your home isn’t dangerous, you need to treat it and address the source of the problem to prevent a recurrence.

Even slight mildew odors are signs of excessive moisture. Home inspectors look closely at the floors and walls for signs of dampness and patches of mildew. Inspectors often use meters to determine how much moisture is present because moisture eventually attracts insects and deteriorates building materials.

You can cover exposed earth in crawl spaces and basements with plastic sheeting to help lower moisture levels. Most foundation leaks are caused by poor drainage that forces water toward the foundation. This can cause the underlying soil to expand and shrink as the water evaporates.

If your home has foundation problems, and you can’t afford repairs, you may have to lower your asking price upfront with the understanding that the price reflects the problem. You could also give the prospective buyers an allowance to make repairs after closing.

Electrical Systems

Inspectors also assess electrical systems with a critical eye. Your circuit breaker and electrical panel configuration must be adequate for the requirements of your house. Depending on the code, these systems can change over time, especially with older properties. It’s best to review current codes before you put your home on the market to see if there are any issues.

In bathrooms and kitchens, inspectors will look for receptacles equipped with ground fault circuit interrupters (GFI). These contain mini-circuit breakers that shut off during a power overload or short circuit. bear in mind that good inspectors check receptacles to make sure they aren’t dummies that aren’t wired correctly.

Other Considerations

Home inspections generally look at every part of a home. Although roofs, basements, wiring and plumbing are always primary areas, they aren’t the only places worthy of your attention.

Inspectors will check cooling and heating systems to make sure they work and note their efficiency. They will take a close look at the foundation and structure, along with any appliances that remain with the house. This includes carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors, so make sure all of these are in good working order.

While most buyers are mainly concerned with the condition and safety of a home, some hope to find minor issues, so they can lower their offers. In the end, the fewer issues they find, the less opportunity buyers will have to haggle overpricing.

Thinking of selling your home? The Wheaton Team makes it easy. With decades of residential real estate experience in Colorado Springs and the Tri-Lakes area, our skilled professionals are ready to guide you through every step of the complex selling process. Contact our team to learn more.

To learn more about home inspections, read: 5 Tips on Finding the Right Home Inspector.

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5 Tips on Finding the Right Home Inspector

finding the right home inspector

A home inspection is a critical part of buying a home. Without an inspection, you could easily pay too much for a property in need of unseen repairs. The structure may also pose dangerous health risks, safety hazards or building code violations, which could jeopardize your family’s health and dent your bank account. But how do you find a reputable professional to inspect a home? Here are some tips to help you choose a knowledgeable, honest home inspector.

  1. Get a reference from your agent. If you have an experienced real estate agent, he or she should be able to recommend a reputable home inspector. A good agent should be very familiar with at least one or two home inspectors who will go through a home with a fine-tooth comb. Trustworthy agents won’t worry about whether choosing a “tough inspector” will comprise a sale; they will put their client’s best interests first and ensure that every detail of a home is revealed according to local and federal guidelines.
  2. Ask if you can tag along. It’s always a good idea to attend your home inspection. A good inspector will be happy to talk you through any issues as they are investigated. If the inspector won’t let you come along, look for someone else. Also, since time is of the essence when it comes to home inspections, be sure the inspector agrees to provide the report within an acceptable timeframe (24 hours is common).
  3. Find a company that is insured and bonded. Whether you go with a single inspector or a big company, make sure whoever examines the home is both insured and bonded. It may sound unlikely, but an uninsured home inspector could try to hold you or the homeowner liable if they happen to be injured during the inspection.
  4. Verify that the company only does inspections. Some home inspection companies also provide home repairs and renovations. This gives them an incentive to flag problems in a home. Avoid conflicts of interest by choosing a home inspection company that’s focused entirely on inspections. If you are interested in the cost of renovations or repairs, bring in an independent contractor after the inspection is completed.
  5. Ask what the inspection will include. It’s important to ask what the inspection will include and how long it will take. A good home inspection should involve a thorough look at every critical component of the home, including:
  • Electrical systemfind the right home inspector
  • Plumbing system
  • Structural condition
  • Heating and air conditioning
  • Attic and roof
  • Foundation and basement
  • Pests (including bugs and wildlife)
  • Evidence of grading issues and water penetration
  • Appliances and other various general components
  • Environmental issues such as radon, mold, lead paint and asbestos

Knowing what an inspector will look for allows you to shop around. Certain inspectors may only address the structure and nothing more, while others will take a more comprehensive approach. Make sure you know exactly what you will be getting before you agree to an inspection.

Things to Consider

When choosing a home inspector, it’s important to know what to expect. The typical home inspection will be a “visual only” appointment. The inspector will spend a few hours scanning the property for visual signs that something is amiss. That said, they aren’t going to tear off pieces of drywall to inspect for mold or dismantle a water pump to check for defects.

Depending on the home’s location and age, you may have reason to worry about radon, termites or mold, but inspecting for these issues will usually cost you more. Be sure to ask if the inspection will include a search for these problems; if not, ask whether the inspector will include these items and how much extra they will charge.

Most home inspections should take around two to three hours to complete. If you are buying a larger home, an older home or a fixer-upper, the inspection could take even longer. Never hire someone who says they can complete the inspection within only an hour or two. Even an experienced inspector won’t be able to do a thorough job in such a brief time span.

If you’re interested in buying a home, The Wheaton Team can help. For nearly 20 years, we’ve specialized in residential real estate in all of Colorado Springs and El Paso County. With more than six decades of combined experience, our award-winning real estate professionals can guide you through the complicated buying process so they can find the home of their dreams. To speak with one of our agents, contact us today!