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What to Look for in a Home Inspection

What to Look for in a Home Inspection

When you’re ready to purchase your next house, the home inspection is a vital step in contract negotiations with the Seller, as well as determining the general condition of the property. Having an informed decision helps ensure you (and the Seller) have realistic expectations, and you don’t get hit with surprise costs after you move in.

Most Home Inspectors will set an appointment time with you on the same day they are completing their inspection. This is a great time to ask questions and remember: You have hired them to help you make the best decision possible, so don’t be shy about making sure you understand the report they will be handing over. There’s a lot to assess in any home, but a few key things should not be overlooked. Be sure your home inspection covers the following points.

HVAC system. A home inspection will verify that the HVAC system is working when the inspection takes place but can’t make any guarantees about how long that system will keep working after you purchase the home. Thankfully, it’s easy to tell the life span of the condenser, which is the outside unit. Check the serial number to determine its age. Most condensers are expected to last 12-15 years, so if you’re nearing the end of that time span, you know it’s time for a replacement soon.

The roof. According to Trulia, roof problems are responsible for nearly 40 percent of homeowners’ insurance claims. Roofs have a limited life span, so it’s crucial to determine the age of the roof. Some home inspectors will not go up onto the roof to inspect it, so it may benefit you to hire a roofing specialist to inspect the roof and look for damage, leaks, mold, or other problems that could lead to costly repairs in the attic and the rest of the home.

The foundation. Foundation issues can be costly to repair. Keep an eye out for cracks in the drywall, doors and windows that do not latch or align, or gaps between wall seams or the wall and the ceiling. The presence of these does not mean a home automatically has foundation issues, but they should be good indicators to have a professional evaluation done. Foundation issues aren’t automatically a no-go for home buyers: the relative severity of the problem may make the sellers flexible on the home’s asking price, and foundation repair is a good time for the buyer to make structural alterations or improvements to the home.

The electrical system. Underground wiring, double tapped breakers, and other common wiring problems are relatively inexpensive to resolve. Older homes – mostly those built before 1930 – may have what’s called knob and tube wiring, which most home inspectors will recommend replacing, due to its risk of electrical fires. Newer wiring systems present their own challenges, so be sure to get full details from your home inspector.

Have any questions about home inspections or just need other home buying tips? Contact one of our local, caring Gateway mortgage professionals at a Mortgage Center Near You. We’d be happy to talk to you.