Surviving a Home Inspection
Whole-home inspections cover numerous systems within the house. Don’t be spooked by your 50 page inspection report. Focus on the safety and structural issues that will have the biggest impact on the property value. You have leverage when it comes to these issues.
A typical inspection starts at the roof and ends at the foundation, with stops in between at every major house system (plumbing, electrical, heating, septic, etc.). Most also include tests for radon gas and water safety. A good inspection, by a professional inspector to the standards set by the American Society of Home Inspectors, costs about $500 and takes 2 to 3 hours, depending on the size and age of the house. Oh, and don’t skip inspections on new construction. Just because something’s new doesn’t mean it’s flawless.
Mold and Mildew at the Home Inspection
Mildew stains and odors and especially toxic black mold is such a hot topic.
You can request if the mold in the house is discovered that the sellers treat it and address the source of the problem. You can request professional mold remediation.
Damp Basements and Crawlspaces
Mildew odors signal that a basement is too moist. The home inspector will look closely at the walls and floors for patches of mildew and signs of dampness. The inspector might use a meter to determine how much moisture is present in these spaces, because moisture deteriorates building materials and attracts insects.
Most foundation “leaks” are a result of poor drainage that funnels water towards the foundation. To address this issue propose the seller consider the following steps:
- Make sure gutters are clean so that rainwater flows toward downspouts instead of spilling over gutter sides along the foundation.
- Point drainage downspouts away from the house.
- Check water flow through buried drainage lines by flooding them with water from a hose. If water comes back towards you, the line is plugged and should be cleared.
Roof and Chimney
Deteriorated shingles or other roof coverings are one of the first things home inspectors notice. If the elements underneath the shingles are moist or rotted, repairs should likely be requested.
An inspector will look to make sure flashing around the base of the chimney is watertight, and that mortar and bricks are in good condition.
The inspector will check water pressure by turning on multiple faucets and flushing toilets at the same time. The inspector will also run the dishwasher.
Inadequate or Inferior Electrical Systems
The electrical panel and circuit breaker configuration should be adequate for the needs of the house.
The inspector will look for receptacles with ground fault circuit interrupters (GFI) in bathrooms and kitchens. These receptacles contain mini-circuit breakers that click off during a short circuit or overload.
Other Important Home Inspection Checks
- The heating and cooling systems will be checked to maked sure they work and commenting about their efficiency.
- The structure and foundation will be evaluated.
- Appliances that remain with the house will be inspected. For example, they inspector will run the dishwasher and turn on the oven to make sure the burners are working.
Before the Home Inspection
Remember that the home inspection report is not a wish-list for buyers. Systems should be in good working order at closing. If the roof is older, but doesn’t leak, it’s in good working condition. The same is true for older appliances.
The sellers are under no obligation to make any repairs at all, although buyers can withdraw from the contract. Rather than demand for a repair, try requesting a credit to closing costs so you can repair the issue after closing. Using a contractor you know and trust goes a long way!
After you receive the detailed findings, you’ll need to evaluate whether there are any deal-breakers, such as serious structural defects. You may want to handle minor fixes yourself to avoid nitpicking with the seller.
Learn more about our team Homes North of Boston at RE/MAX Leading Edge.