The Home Inspection: 6 Areas You Shouldn’t Ignore When Buying a Home

Buying a home is an important decision and often the largest purchase you’ll make. Finding the right home is crucial, and ensuring that it’s in good condition is key as it can affect your quality of life for years to come. A home inspector will help you find any potential issues with the house so you can make an informed purchase decision.

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What is a home inspection and why do I need one?

A home inspection is a visual assessment of a home. The inspector will look at the exterior of the house –foundation, roof, flashing, window and doors – and the interior – plumbing, electrical, insulation, flooring, ceiling, heating and cooling – to make sure everything is functional. If problems beyond the scope of the inspection are found, the home inspector may recommend further evaluation.

Home inspection requires special training and knowledge, so when choosing a home inspector, considering their qualifications, including such things as experience, training, certification, industry participation and licensing.

Though home inspections are not always mandatory (in some instances, home insurance companies and/or mortgage companies will require one), they are typically a good idea – especially for first-time homebuyers. They may not be able to give you a full report on everything in the home, but they will give you a good idea if there are any major issues that could end up costing you a significant amount of money.

So, what are the important things to look for during a home inspection?

1.    Condition of the foundation and drainage

A home inspector will check the state of the home’s foundation. They will review any cracks (not all cracks are serious) and advise whether a second opinion is necessary based upon the conditions they can see.A walk around the exterior of the home to inspect drainage and grading is also crucial. Standing puddles or water could be an indication of a water issue, and the grade should slope away from the homes’ foundation. Downspouts are also inspected to ensure proper drainage from around the home.

2.    Condition of the roof

Next, a home inspector should take a look at the roof; what condition the roof is in, and what repairs or maintenance have been conducted. The inspector will look for roof leaks, investigate what’s causing the leaks as well as what needs to be repaired.

You should also ask about what type of shingles are on the home’s roof because it can give you a clue as to how old they are. Some roof types last longer than others, and depending on what kind of shingles your roof has, it could impact the cost of roof maintenance.

The inspector will also look at flashing on the roof to ensure there is no water leakage.

3.    Electrical

Electrical fires are common so you’ll want your home inspector to check the home’s electrical to ensure the safety of you and your family. Is it up to code, is anything worn? Were any upgradesmadecompleted by a professional? The inspector will also ensure that outlets are safe and there are no exposed or visibly damaged wires in the home.

4.    Plumbing

A home inspector will perform a visual evaluation of drains, water heaters, pipes, water pressure and temperature. They can also do quick tests by flushing toilets or turning on taps to check for leaks or water pressure issues, and note any waters stains on the floors or ceiling that could indicate a problem with the plumbing.

Paying attention to the type of pipe material will also help to predict wear and tear over time and help you budget for potential future maintenance costs or concerns.

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5.    Windows and Doors

The main focus here is to ensure that windows are installed correctly. Doors should be easy to open and close, without leaving any gaps. Your inspector will also look for signs of water damage or other deterioration on the door frame, door, or hinges.

Finally, they will evaluate the function of all windows and door locks, not only to ensure the home is safe from intruders, but to inspect for leaks and gaps.

6.    Heating and Cooling

The inspector will reviewthe home’s heating,ventilation, and air-conditioning system (HVAC) to ensure its functioning properly. They will look for the age of the furnace and air conditioning unit,and determine how long it should last. In addition, they will investigate whether it’s been serviced and maintained well.

At the same time, they will also look at your hot water heater. In many cases, this may be a rental and managed by a company, but in many cases some homeowners may have opted to buy their own units. If this is the case, you will want to know the age and condition of the water heater.

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Additional Things to Inspect

Though these are the main features of the property a home inspector will want to go over, they may also look into other issues. Especially when purchasing an older home, prospective buyers will want to ensure that the inspector looks at things such as:

  • Insulation, more so visible in the attic
  • mold
  • unwanted critters

Some inspectors will also take into consideration cosmetic issues such as countertops, flooring, cabinetry and light fixtures. While for many these are easily fixable issues, a qualified inspector might be able to point out areas you weren’t initially aware of.

Home Inspections in a New Build Home

All the above mentioned areas are important to inspect whether you’re looking to buy a resale home or build a new home. However, because everything has been recently installed or built in a new construction home, you’ll have far less to worry about and the new home will meet or exceed current building standards.

During the Sifton homebuilding process, purchasers are invited to tour the new home under construction. The first walk-through takes place prior to the application of drywall. This visit is an opportunity to review the home ensuring all specifications are met before proceeding to finishing stages.

A few days prior to the closing date, Sifton schedules a New Home Orientation, often called a Pre-Delivery Inspection. During this time the Sifton team acts as a tour guide, helpingthe purchaser learn all the ins and outs of the many operating systems in the home. In addition, they will assist to identify any concerns or deficiencies that need attention prior to closing. At this time, the purchaser has the opportunity to tour the home with no obstructions, inspecting finishes such as flooring, cabinetry, countertops and all other selections made for the new home.

When you build a new home with Sifton Properties, you’ll enjoy peace of mind knowing the home has been built from the ground up with safety and quality in mind. You won’t need to factor in maintenance costs for years and your house will be built to ENERGY STAR Certified standards that will save you both money, and ensure your comfort in your new home.