That last article was a real cliffhanger! I won’t keep you hanging any longer – here are the additional 5 defects your home inspector will look for – and a bonus category for those of you who really want to get your Real Estate facts on.
6. Lead Based Paint
If you’ve fallen in love with a 1950’s ranch house, or any home built prior to 1978, for that matter, you are likely to encounter Lead Based Paint. If you are planning on renovating your home, you may ask your inspector to perform x-ray analysis of painted wall surfaces to determine the condition of existing paint. Cutting into walls and sanding surfaces containing LBP requires special precautions, and you’ll want to know what additional costs could come into play if your home contains this substance.
7. Structural Integrity
Irregularities in exterior or interior wall framing, door frames, or cracks in the foundation could be signs that there is a problem with the structural integrity of your home purchase. If this is the case, you may want to consider hiring a licensed Engineer, or request a referral for one from your home inspector or Realtor.
Your inspector will remove the cover of the electrical panel to ensure there is no damage such as loose wiring or burned circuits. Depending on the age of your home, the inspector may check for aluminum wiring from the ‘60s-‘70s (which can usually be retrofitted) or knob and tube wiring, which is old and unsafe by current standards. Replacing this type of wiring can cost thousands of dollars, but is necessary to prevent fire hazards.
A qualified inspector will check not only the condition and potential deterioration of pipes in your home, but also the type of material used and the distribution of plumbing throughout the home. Lead or galvanized pipes may require replacement – a hefty investment. He or she should check the flow of water to all fixtures as well as carry a moisture meter to check for moisture in walls and flooring near plumbing fixtures.
10. Heating and Air Conditioning
The inspector will check both the heating and air conditioning systems to ensure they are in proper working order, and also confirm that heat is appropriately distributed throughout the home and that ductwork is in good condition. In addition they should check to ensure that on/off switches and emergency shut offs are in good condition. If you know the home has less common systems in place such as radiant floor heat, be sure to mention this to your inspector so other systems are investigated as well.
Obvious deferred maintenance is a potential red flag in any home purchase. If home owners have clearly left work undone at the time of sale, imagine what hidden issues may exist. In addition, your inspector should examine any obvious DIY projects with a keen eye: structural additions and renovations, amateur plumbing or electrical work. Interior design as a hobby is one thing, but correcting improper or unpermitted work can be time-consuming and expensive.
The best advice for your Home Inspection and all of your Real Estate needs? Hire a professional. When you are ready to make a move, give me a call.