Continued from Part 1:
Be familiar with the most common issues found during an inspection:
1) Improper Surface Grading and Drainage. By far the most frequent problem. It is responsible for the most common household aggravations, including water penetration into the basement or crawlspace. Water is the home’s biggest enemy! Make sure all spouting is present and draining away from the home. Ensure that the area around the home slopes away from the foundation. Replace any water-damaged items and be prepared to explain any water stains or other signs of water infiltration.
2) Electrical Issues. This includes such situations as insufficient electrical service, inadequate or improper overload protection, use of extension cords for permanent wiring, open wiring connections, and amateur (often dangerous) wiring connections. In addition, not only does the inspector open the electrical system panel door, but they will also remove the panel cover. Make sure that you or a contractor have not built-in or otherwise blocked the panel so that cannot be accomplished.
3) Roof Damage. Leaking roofs are a frequent problem. This is generally caused by old or damaged shingles or improper flashing and drainage. Repair and/or replace any damaged areas and ensure that your flashings are properly sealed. If possible, enter the attic and look for any damaged roof deck material or signs of leaking.
4) Heating / Cooling Systems. Has your heating and cooling system been regularly serviced? If it has not been, have a professional review the system, clean and tune it prior to an inspection. Show the inspector and buyers the maintenance record by placing it at the unit. Common problems in this category include broken or malfunctioning controls, power or fuel off to the unit and unsafe exhaust disposal.
5) Poor Overall Maintenance. A common problem with all homeowners. Signs of poor maintenance include cracked, peeling or dirty painted surfaces; crumbling masonry; makeshift wiring or plumbing; and broken fixtures and appliances. Inspectors know that sellers, who do not take care of the little inexpensive items, often treat larger items of the home the same!
6) Structurally Related Problems. As a result of problems in one or more other categories, damage is sustained by such structural components as foundation walls, floor joists, rafters and window and door headers. If your home shows any signs or symptoms of a structural issue, have them reviewed and corrected.
7) Plumbing. Leaks, loose toilets, poor drainage, old or incompatible piping materials, as well as faulty or corroded fixtures and waste lines.
8) Exteriors. Flaws in this category, such as windows, doors and wall surfaces, rarely have structural significance but may pose discomfort to the occupants due to water and air penetration. Look for inadequate caulking and/or weather-stripping, damaged trim, missing siding, etc. Ensure that all windows and doors operate properly.
9) Health and Safety. Ensure that there are working smoke detectors in each level of the home, in each bedroom and in the hall leading to the bedrooms. Check with your local municipality to see if they require detector placement when a home is sold. Repair or replace handrails on stairs if they are damaged or missing. Replace burned out light bulbs to ensure adequate lighting in and outside the home.
A home inspection need not be a scary or upsetting part of the moving process. process. Preparing the home shows the buyers that you care about them and the home, making your home even more attractive to them. By the way, you can also consider a professional pre-listing home inspection to help you prepare for the sale. Either way you go about it, preparing your home for an inspection will be well worth it.
Herb Ingram of Amerispec Home Inspections (397-7047).
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