A home is probably the biggest purchase you will make in a long time. So, it is important to be sure that your potential new home is properly inspected. Basically, a home inspection is the visual and physical evaluation of the overall housing structure. Getting a qualified home inspector can be an important first step.
Generally, a good home inspector discusses the quality of construction and maintenance. They also share pointers for taking care of your new home. Importantly, they provide a written report with a description of problem areas. The report also includes recommendations for further evaluation. You can review the report with your real estate agent to decide how the results may affect the purchase of your potential home.
So, what exactly is the home inspector looking for during this evaluation? In this article, the details are discussed by Chicago home inspection experts.
What is Involved in a Home Inspection?
While inspecting a home, you might believe you have an experienced eye from past purchases. But, by walking through a home you intend to buy, you may uncover problems randomly. You may also miss a number of problems.
By contrast, home inspectors work methodically through a set list of procedures. They cover the areas that you may have avoided. Also, they do not just look up to a roof; they go onto the roof. Photos are taken, notes were written, and a final inspection report is generated from this data. So, nothing is left predilected. In short, these field-trained state-licensed inspectors perform a vital service that cannot be duplicated on our own.
However, what do they look for exactly? Requirements vary from state to state, but the basic home inspection checklist includes:
Exterior Inspection Points
- Grading, Drainage, Retaining walls, and Vegetation
- Driveways, Patios, and Walkways
- Decks, Balconies, Stairs, and Railings
- Wall Elements (Cladding, flashing, trim, fascia)
- Roof Coverings (Shingles, standing seam metal, etc.)
- Door and Windows
- Roof Drainage: Gutters and Drainpipes
- Roof Flashing (Metal “cuffs” around roof protrusions that prevent water from seeping in)
- Electrical Service (Service entrance, grounding, etc.)
- Lawn Irrigation System
Interior Inspection Points
- Floor Structure
- Walls and Vertical Support Structures
- Ceiling Structures
- Electric Service Panel Interior Components
- Wiring Systems
- Electric Devices (Switches, Receptacles, lights, etc.)
- Cooling and heating
- Flue and Venting Systems
- Thermal Insulation ( Only where visible)
- Moisture Management
- Ventilation Systems of Attic, Crawl Space, and Roof Assembly
- Plumbing (Water supply, fixtures, faucets)
- Drain, Waste, and Vent Systems
- Water Heater
- Fuel Storage and Distribution
- Walls, Ceiling, Floors, Doors, and Windows
- Steps, Stairways, Landings, and Railings
- Garage Vehicle Doors and Operators
- Fireplaces, Solid-Fuel Burning Appliances, Chimneys, and Vents
- Kitchen Appliances, Proper Condition, and Operation
5 Major Home Inspection Setbacks
Certainly, major home inspection problems are highlighted by the home inspector and real estate agent. These problems arise during the negotiation of the home’s price. Some of the major home inspection issues are discussed below;
1. Basement Wall Cracks
Cracks in the basement masonry or concrete walls do not qualify as foundation problems. Because the home’s structural integrity is not threatened by it. However, they can be major entry points for groundwater or vermin. It may cause problems in rainy weather. As a result, basement wall cracks are caused by seasonal variations. Therefore, inspectors highlight such problems in the report. Basement walls crack for several reasons, and some of them are discussed below;
- Horizontal cracks are the most severe cracks. In addition, they are found parallel to the ground. Lateral pressure from the surrounding soil is the cause of these cracks.
- Diagonal cracks are normally caused by soil pressure. Moreover, it can also be caused by foundation settling and concrete shrinkage as it dries during construction.
- Vertical cracks run up and down. Shrinkage of materials, wall movement, or tripping walls are the causes of the vertical cracks. Gradually most of the cracks occur and may go unnoticed for many years.
2. Entire Gutter/ Drainpipe System Failing
Replacing a few gutters and drain pipes is one thing; an entire home’s reinstallation will cost thousands of dollars. Therefore, request that the seller replaces this system or ask for monetary compensation.
Clogged gutters and drainpipes caused a great deal of damage. As a result, the rainwater taxes paint and wriggle into cracks. It eventually results in the decaying of the house’s structure. At the worst, moisture penetrates windows, invades walls, and floods basements.
This is why it is important to maintain clear, well-functioning gutters and drainage systems. Therefore be vigilant, to keep this system working effectively.
3. All Windows Need Replacing
Usually, the outdoor elements get inside through the absent glass window. But a crack can be an issue as it represents a ticking hazard. Cracks, however, also lead to pressure openings. A windowpane can shatter due to force exerted. In short, if the window does not function smoothly, it needs repairing. Pay special attention to locks of the windows for proper functioning.
The replacement cost substantially adds up when over two of the windows need replacing. However, most likely sellers do not agree to replace windows. But in a buyer’s market, the seller may agree to cover or split the cost of replacing.
4. No Attic Insulation
Without attic insulation, a home is a thermal sieve. Insulating the attic is certainly, an absolute necessity. Cellulose insulation or fiberglass batts will run you at least $2000 for a small house.
Relatively, easy access made the attic a favorite starting point to insulate. Air sealing can improve the energy efficiency and soundness of the house. Above all, air leaks into the attic can account for substantial heat loss.
Therefore, make sure that the insulation is distributed evenly. Especially there should be full depth coverage around the perimeter of the attic. It can lead to a variety of moisture-related problems.
5. Evidence of Roof leaks
Roof leaks could mean anything. It may be flooded floors to a simple broken piece of flashing around the chimney. Eventually, a leaking roof has the following signs;
- Water Stains
- Presence of dips
- Spots on the exterior walls
- Growing of walls
- Missing shingles
- Debris in the drainpipes
Therefore, take this one beyond the home inspector. Pay for a qualified roofing contractor to check out the home maintenance. If you see any signs of damaged roof, immediately call a specialized roof inspector.
Home Inspection Tips For First-Time Buyers
The following are the home inspection tips for first-time buyers.
♦ Don’t assume that only old homes need an inspection
A newly built house needs repair too. In fact, a new home inspection is as important as an old home inspection. Undetected problems can be expensive and dangerous in a recently constructed home.
♦ Don’t think about the money spent
Don’t skip a professional home inspector in order to save money. To clarify, the service is usually affordable. As a result, it easily offsets the expense of repairing.
♦ Hire a professional with solid references
Ask family or friends for references to professional home inspectors. Professionals who network across the trades are the best resources for making solid industry connections.
♦ Explain your expectations
Talk with your inspector and let him know what you expect. Therefore, they use diagnostic tools to get an accurate picture of potential problems.
♦ Plan on being there
Final inspection reports are not always easy to understand. Meanwhile, plan on being there for the inspection.
In conclusion, be sure you are comfortable with your choice of a home inspector. They help in detecting and avoiding major setbacks. Making a major purchase such as a house requires a dedicated team. Moreover, be sure to educate yourself about the process. As one of the best roofing companies Chicago has seen, we can guide you through the home buying process. In short, our experienced vendors can inspect the roof, gutters, siding, and other areas of the house. Contact us for a smooth and carefree transition to your new home.