What Inspections Should You Get?
Whenever a buyer is going to put down their hard earned money to buy a home they’ll want to know that there aren’t issues with the home that could cause them problems and cost them money down the road. It is part of the due diligence of home buying and any agent worth their salt will strongly recommend getting inspections to their buyer clients.
When sellers have their homes inspected before they put the home on the market it shows good faith to potential buyers and can go a long way to soothe some of the anxiety in the home buying process. Not to mention that having the inspection results ahead of time gives sellers the opportunity to correct any problems that may arise or get estimates for the buyers, thus ensuring a smoother and more timely transaction.
So what inspections should you get? I advise my clients to get a Property Inspection and a Termite Inspection. Both of these together will give a very good idea of any potential areas that will end attention.
A good property inspector will go through the home and check all the workings.
- He’ll open and close all the windows and doors to check for usability and test the locks.
- Plumbing – Check for hot water and cold. He’ll try all the water faucets. All drains, vents and waste systems will be tested. Drains are examined for signs of leakage. If there is a sump pump it will be tested as well.
- Test every electrical outlet to make sure the electrical system is working well. All electrical components should be operating safely. Grounding equipment, conductors and distribution panels are tested for efficient operation.
- Location and operation of the smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are noted in the inspection report.
- He’ll test the furnace and air conditioning units. Filters will be inspected. Supply pipes are inspected for corrosion.
- If you’re on a raised foundation he’ll crawl under the house to check for any leaks and to examine the condition of the insulation and vapor retarders.
- All venting fans in the kitchen, bathrooms and laundry room will be examined.
- Appliances will be turned on to assess workability. Dishwasher, washer, dryer, oven and stove are the common appliances tested.
- Stairways, floors, counter tops, cabinetry and doors will be included in the report along with the proper functioning of the items.
- Roofing – The inspector will look closely for loose shingles or tiles and assess the flashing for tightness. Gutter debris will be noted and drains will be tested for connections to the house. Tree limbs touching the house will be noted. Skylights and chimneys will be checked for tight seals.
- Exterior caulking will be examined for water seepage. Garage doors are tested for workability. Settlement cracks will be assessed.
Property inspectors do not offer estimates for repair. Their sole duty is to give you an overview of any potential problems with your home.
A good termite inspector is looking for wood destroying insects and water intrusion that may lead to wood rot. In essence anything to do with the integrity of the wood.
SECTION 1 Items
- Fungus – The inspector will look for signs of fungus on all surfaces of the home. Recommendations will be made for corrective measures to remedy any potential areas of fungus intrusion.
- Drywood Termites – Drywood termites can be of particular concern. They eat the dry wood and can compromise the structure of the home. The extent of the infestation will determine the remedy used. Tenting the entire home or treating smaller section with spot treatments.
- Subterranean Termites – These critters come up from the earth into the concrete slab usually. Drilling holes in the concrete and injecting Termidor into the earth below is the typical solution.
- Water damage from bathrooms, laundry rooms, kitchen and loose exterior seals can compromise the wood. Removing the damaged wood and replacing with new is the recommended method.
SECTION 2 Items
- Stress cracks in exterior stucco.
- Overgrown vegetation.
- Leaking downspouts and gutters.
- Gaps in grout lines and missing caulking in bathrooms, kitchen and laundry area.
- Plumbing leaks.
- Cellulose debris in contact with the house.
In a real estate transaction it is very good for the seller to address all of the Section 1 Items. For some loans (FHA & VA) the Section 1 Items are required to be completed before the loan is approved. The Section 2 Items are typically up for negotiation between the parties.
Termite inspectors will give estimates for repair and facilitate the work. Their reports should include photos of the damaged areas for your information and understanding of the items noted.