Home inspections have become part and parcel of real estate transactions for some time now. There are two types of inspections. First the is the seller pre-inspection. This is paid for by the seller and is a complete inspection that informs the seller of any pre-sale deficiencies that need to be addressed before the home is put on the market. This allows the owner-seller to address the deficiencies and with the report and receipts to prove the work was done, helps to instill confidence in the prospective buyer. Second there is the buyer’s inspection paid for by the buyer to ensure the integrity of the home. It is a complete inspection, assuring that the buyer is getting value for the home and not a fixer upper. There are commercial inspections that accomplish the same for commercial real estate investors in commercial properties.
What Does a Home Inspection Consist Of?
• Foundations and basements are what ensure the integrity of the structure and need to be solid and in a good state of repair.
• Roofing leaks are very destructive and can affect the health of the structural members. The roof needs to be intact and with no “weeping” leaks.
• Attic space. There may be signs of roof leakage and rodent or pest damage.
• Rain gutters and downspouts. Unless gutters are kept free of debris and are in good working order and the downspouts are whole. Damage to the structure can occur with pooling water or water contact with actual structural components.
• Exterior stucco or paint. Stucco cracks can be hidden under the paint. But crumbling disintegrating plaster is a sign of neglect. Peeling paint on trim is another indicator of neglect and destroys confidence in the rest of the structure. Excessive cracking can indicate uneven settling of the structure and may indicate core structure compromise.
• Electrical panel, light switches, power outlets. Missing or broken plates on switches and outlets. Working lights. Burn marks showing sparking in not a selling feature.
• Thermostats and HVAC system. This is the most expensive and crucial system in the structure. Health of the HVAC system is a must, as replacement or repairs represents four figure dollar amounts.
• Plumbing fixtures, faucets and water heater. Connections at the water heater can reveal chronic leaks, dripping faucets are not green, can be irritating and wasteful of water. Level toilets with no leaks at the floor junction and both hot and cold sides of the faucets work. Plugged drains can be a nightmare and as such all drains should be working.
• Appliances. Certain appliances stay with the home, like fans, HVAC and kitchen. Unless otherwise stated in the contract oven and ranges and usually the refrigerator and the washer and dryers stay with the home. The dishwasher is included.
• Walls, ceilings and floors. Stained ceilings indicate leaks, walls should not have holes in them, and exposed flooring should have been properly installed and in good shape. Without carpet removal under carpet floors cannot be inspected. The health and condition of the carpet is usually noticeable to even the layman. The presence of furniture also aggravates the possibility of a thorough inspection of carpeted floors. As such carpeted floors are left out of the inspection process.
• Doors & windows should fit snugly without excessive air leaking or daylight around door edges.
• Stairs, steps and railings for safety’s sake these should be firm and unyielding and rails and banisters sturdy.
• Porches and balconies
• Walkways and driveways. Crumbling uneven sidewalks can be a safety hazard, particularly for the elderly.
• Basement. The inspector will look for signs or flooding or chronic condensation damage.
What is Not Covered in a Home Inspection?
• Trees and landscaping
• Lawn sprinklers
• Sewer Line
• Swimming pool equipment
• Fireplace and chimney. The only place that falls under the inspector’s purview is where the chimney penetrates or mates the roofing. He will look for signs of leakage around the uphill side of the chimney and around the edges.
• Internet service
• Floors covered by carpeting. If the inspector cannot see it he cannot inspect it. Usually specified in the contract as not inspected. The only caveat is mold damage that is visible.
• Roof or outdoor hardscape covered by snow
• Mice, rats or other rodents, inspections for household pest infestations are usually conducted by pest control professionals and includes the next category, harmful insects.
• Structure destruction by termites or carpenter ants.
Residential & Commercial Inspections in Pasadena, Pearland, League City, Sugar Land, The Woodlands, Conroe, Friendswood & Greater Houston, Texas
If you want any additions to the to do list, you will have to enumerate them as part of the contract. Most contracts limit liability to the cost of the inspection if anything is missed. As noted, the inspection process is the same and covers the same items. It is the motivation and who is paying. The buyer to ensure the quality of their investment and seller to accomplish any repairs before putting it on the market. JMark Inspections can handle all your inspection needs. Contact us today!