You have found the perfect home you have been looking for in Long Island. Close to schools, the price you can live with and it has that island in the kitchen you have always wanted. A new coat of paint will do great things to make the home more appealing. You have fallen in love with this perfect house.
You realize you need to have the home inspection just so you talk to your friends and find out the price they paid for their home inspections, check the phone book and the Internet, make a few phone calls and find the one you feel the most comfortable with and schedule a time and date for your home inspection.
He arrives at the property on Long Island at the right time and after introductions are made he gets started, with you close behind. The first thing he says is "The roof is at the end of its life, it will need to be replaced in the near future". Okay, you can live with that. Then he takes a screwdriver and goes to the windowsill and starts prying a little and tells you there is moisture damage and the sills will need replacing. Now you are starting to worry, what else is he going to find? He just started the inspection.
He keeps making notes on his clipboard and continues checking items. You are getting more worried so you ask him what is he writing. He gives you the rundown of the home inspection and tells you, basically what is okay and what is not okay. Realization sets in this is not going to be near as much fun as you thought it would be and everything he is saying is translating to dollars and cents. At the end of the inspection the home inspector explains there is no such thing as a perfect house. They all have problems, just stay calm and take everything in stride. You start to feel glad you hired him, but are wondering if ignorance is bliss.
The inspector points out some cracks in the foundation but they are not of structural concern. You will just need to have a crack repair specialist seal it up to prevent moisture and termites from getting in. Remembering you saw those cracks and wondered about structural damage, it is good to know, it is not structural. The inspector lets you know of a couple more things regarding the exterior such as steps with no hand railing and the offset concrete blocks in the walkway. He says the conditions are unsafe and need to be corrected to prevent someone from getting hurt, reciting a study about falls being the number one health hazard in the home. As he is checking the electrical wiring, he notices and brings to your attention, the GFCI receptacle is not working explaining how it is a safety device that should be present in any location where water and electricity are in close contact. He also suggest additional areas GFCI safety devices be installed as a safety upgrade. Going to the basement he checks the water heater, which looks to be about 10 tens old and tells you to plan on replacing it. Checking the service panels he finds two wires, which have been taped together that need to be fixed correctly, so they do not become a fire hazard. Checking the gas heater he tells you it's okay and it should last for a long time. He says the worst is over now as you follow him upstairs. Upstairs it goes much quicker. The plumbing is okay, but the bathroom needs a new wax seal. He checks the heat and the electrical in every room and checks the wall and the ceilings. The last place he goes is to the attic, you hear him walking around up there. He lets you know the framing is okay, but it needs additional insulation for energy savings. Because the bathroom ventilator ends up there, he suggests, routing outside to prevent condensation accumulation.
That was a normal home inspection in an older home such as the type you have found in Long Island. There is usually always repairs needed to be made and some of them will be major. Now you have to decide if the home is worth the asking price, should you negotiate a lower price or should you just walk away from the sale altogether. You have homework to do because you have a lot to decide. You didn't expect this much homework, but one thing is for sure, you are glad you hired that home inspector.
Written By Inspector Dennis Kanakis
Olympian Civil Home and Building Inspections
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