Real estate experts always recommend an extensive inspection before making an offer to a home you desire to acquire. The main reason for a house inspection is mainly to cushion you from accidental and costly repairs and other expenses after moving into the house. If there are any hitches found during the pre-sale house inspection, the buyer can negotiate with the seller to resolve the problems before closing the transaction, or the repair costs could be included in the offer.
In most cases, a house inspection will analyze many factors inside and outside of the house. However, do not expect that the inspector will find every damage and problem in the property. Instead, you can help and point out what concerns you more so the house inspector can prioritize these things during the survey.
Here is a list of the things to look for when having a house inspection.
The first thing to look for during a foundation inspection is a copy of the approved plans. The foundation plans provide all the necessary details in order to achieve a satisfactory inspection of home. A closed-form survey by a licensed surveyor is also required to be on-site at the time of the inspection.
It is very important to verify that the foundation meets all the required setbacks and is not over easements. This includes ensuring that the property lot is graded correctly and will not retain water, especially towards the rear part of it. Also, the run-off water flow must be checked as it should be always directed to the street and not to the neighboring properties.
The inspection of the electrical system usually tests all sockets, lamps, and circuit breakers. If the house is old, checks should be conducted to find newer features, such as ground fault interruption (GFI) outlets in bathrooms and kitchens. When doing a home inspection, it is important to check the heating and cooling system. Inspectors usually test the furnace, monitor the thermostat’s response, and evaluate the house’s overall ventilation.
Wiring must also be installed correctly in the walls and ceilings, and they must be attached per code requirements. Always verify the wire size per the adopted code as many municipalities require a minimum wire size of 12 gauge. Check also if the wiring is copper or aluminum since some cities may not allow aluminum wire, even if it is approved in the National Electrical Code.
The inspection of the piping system starts with checking all the fixtures and pipelines for leaks. Next, the hot and cold-water pressure will be tested by turning on multiple taps. In the bathroom, the areas around the bathtub and shower should be checked for water damage.
Water distribution piping should have a pressure of 60 psi or similar value with the city water pressure. A valve should be opened temporarily to verify the system’s pressure and the pipes and fittings must be checked for leaks. A test on the drainage, waste, and vent systems should be conducted as well, and a hydrostatic test with a ten-foot head minimum should be in place at the time of the inspection.
Water distribution piping and drain lines should be sized appropriately which includes checking the material used and the fixture of the joints, and the protection on all water lines and traps for the vents.. Lastly, ensure that the water heater meets the specifications and operates properly.
Sewer Line Inspection
For the sewer lines, make sure that they are using proper materials and fittings. It is also important to check if the sizing follows the plumbing code requirements as codes adopted in different parts of the country may vary slightly. Verify that all sewer lines are correctly bedded on durable material of either select fill or sand. The slope should be per the adopted plumbing code and is typically a minimum of 1/8 inch per foot.
A clean-out must be provided at the transition from building drain to building sewer. It should not be more than three feet from the building foundation, and it should be typically placed at the property line close to where the sewer line connects to the main public sewer. The sewer line should be tested to check all the joints for leaks and verify that the inspection stack is holding water.
Ceilings and Floors Inspection
Ceilings are one of the easiest areas to inspect since it is the most simple part of the house. Most ceilings are painted white so that they will straightforwardly show evidence of leaks or structural movement problems.
When inspecting floors, you need to remove or disregard everything sitting on them, including furniture, carpets, and rugs. Your primary tools in inspecting floors are your sense of balance and your ability to perceive a slope or uneven floor. Does the floor seem uneven? Placing a ball or marbles on the floor will show an uneven floor immediately. Examining the base molding can also show if a floor is sagging or sinking. If there is a gap between the wood floor and base molding, then the flooring was not installed correctly.
This guide is an excellent place to start when you are planning to purchase your forever home. Some people can get so caught up in this process that they become blindsided from the defects that were not pointed out by the professional home inspector. Making sure that the house is free from damages and problems can be done by listing all your concerns and prioritizing the important parts of the house.