5 Home Inspection Tips For Open House Visits

Fortunately, prospective homebuyers do not have to be professional home inspectors to be able to identify certain problems in a home.

Regardless of whether you are the “handy” type or more of the “book” type, you will be able to spot certain problematic areas with a little bit of guidance. Thus, if you are going through the home purchasing process and you are viewing different homes, keep yours eyes open for some of the following.

NOTE: to better prepare you before heading to your next open house, go on the Internet to look up images regarding some of the problems noted below (e.g. water damaged ceiling, termite damage, flooded basement, mold, cracked foundation).

1) Discolored Walls and/or Ceilings

Discoloration on walls and/or ceilings is usually indicative of water damage or mold. Neither one is good for the home. If you see this, make a note of it.

Water damage could result from leaky pipes, broken pipes, improperly installed window flashing, or even a leaky roof. Each of these can be quite expensive to repair. Where there is excessive moisture, there is a chance that mold will grow. This is especially concerning since mold exposure is linked to certain health concerns. Mold can also cause structural damage to any property it inhabits.

2) Wood Damage

If there are hardwood floors in the house be sure to look for any signs of damage. More specifically, look for lines that resemble trails of some sort. This can be indicative of damage caused by termites or other wood-destroying insects.

In addition, if you can observe wooden beams in the basement, be sure to have a close look for any impairments. Damaged wooden beams can also be attributed to a wood-destroying insect.

3) Dampness in Basement

If the home you are viewing has a basement, look for any signs of excessive moisture while you are down there. Such dampness can mean that the basement floods or that there is water seepage during rainstorms. It can also lead to the growth of mold, which thrives in dark and moist environments.

4) Drafty Windows

While you are in the house, run your hands across some of the windows to feel for any air getting through. On a hot summer day this will be more difficult, not impossible to do, but try it anyway.

Windows can become a much bigger headache than most people think. Repairing windows can be rather expensive, depending on the type and quality you’re seeking. This does not necessarily mean you will have to repair the windows; there are some inexpensive remedies that work well. But, having this knowledge prior to making your purchase permits you to take it into consideration when deciding whether or not to place a bid.

5) Cracked Foundation

At some point before you leave the house, be sure to look around the exterior of the property for signs of damage to the outer structure or foundation. Sometimes there will literally be a large crack going across a section of the home’s foundation. Although this doesn’t always indicate a serious problem with the house, it is worth knowing about and looking into.

Closing

These are just a handful of home inspection tips that you should keep in mind when you are viewing different prospective houses. The benefit is that you can identify some problems on your own and possibly eliminate certain houses from your list that you weren’t too sure of in the first place.

Once you have found a home that you feel comfortable with, have a professional home inspector conduct a thorough inspection. This will ensure that you have all of the information you need regarding the actual condition of the home to make your final purchasing decision.

Best of luck!

Elite Home Inspections: Tips on Hiring a Professional Inspector

Elite home inspections are called as such because they are conducted by trained and certified inspectors, not just by your local handyman or carpenter. Their knowledge surpasses that of assessing the conditions the different parts of the home, but also extends to knowledge of certain laws and regulations pertaining to building codes. Their overall inspection will help you as a homeowner decide whether you should buy the property or not. Even though there really is no house that can be deemed perfect, any buyer would definitely want one that has the least repair needs.

If you or any of your friends are in the process of buying a house, you may want to make use of the following tips when looking for a certified inspector.

Experience

No one becomes an expert on elite home inspections overnight. It takes years of experience and highly specialized training. Therefore, the first thing you should check is the how many years the inspector has been inspecting homes. The inspector assigned to your property should have experience with your type of home. Are you buying a single family residence or is it a condominium? Perhaps you are looking at a mobile home or manufactured property. Ask the inspector to provide you with a sample report of the same type of home that they have inspected in the past.

Certifications, Credentials, and Licenses

When speaking with a home inspection company, always ask for copies of their certifications and licenses. Anyone can claim that they are a certified inspector, but if there are no documents to back that up, then be wary. You can also check if they belong to a local home inspection association. These associations require inspectors to maintain a working knowledge of the latest building code. By testing their members regularly on industry standards homeowners are more likely to receive an inspector who knows what they are talking about and what to look for when inspecting properties of all types.

Sample of Report and Inspection Checklist

The reports made after elite home inspections often consist of 40 or more pages. This is because inspectors make sure that every detail is recorded for the future homeowner’s benefit. If the sample given to you has less than ten pages in it, then consider that as a red flag. Chances are, their inspectors do their jobs in a hurry and are not very detailed in their observations. To probe further, ask for a copy of the inspection checklist. It should include structural and mechanical components of the home. The plumbing system and electrical wirings should be there. Make sure they will be providing a mold inspection and termite inspection as part of their elite home inspection services.

Length of Inspection

When the inspector comes to your home, ask how long it would take him to do the job. This will vary depending on the size of the home, but it should at least take about three to four hours. If the inspector is done after an hour then you should be concerned because he may have done it in haste and has likely overlooked some defects. We have even heard of some companies doing “drive-by” inspections. Ideally you will want to be present at the inspection to avoid this scenario.

Communication

During the hiring process, select an inspector that communicates well. After all you are going to have many questions so you will want someone who responds professionally and knows how to articulate your homes issues. If it takes them several days to answer a simple query, then they may be as slow in providing you with the results later on or with accommodating your complaints, if you ever have one. Efficient property inspectors can often provide a report the day of the inspection.

Warranty

Finally, a good home inspection service must offer a warranty to the client. This warranty can be valid for 30, 60, or 90 days and, obviously, the lengthier the better. This will ensure that the inspector did his job seriously or he will be liable for any repairs that will transpire due to damages that he failed to report. These inspectors usually have an error and omission insurance that will cover this, although some will ask the client to sign a waiver to limit their liability. For your protection and to ensure that you are getting good value for the service that you hired, go with the inspection company that offers the best warranty.

Use these tips when you are looking for companies that will provide elite home inspections for you or for the people you know. This guide is a surefire way to ensure that you get the best professional out there.

Older Home Inspection Tips – Replace Your Knob and Tube Wiring

One area of significant concern with older home inspection is the wiring. During the period between 1930 and 1950, when household demands for electricity were much lower, most home wiring included a type of wiring called knob and tube. Today’s homes use much more current to run all of the newer appliances families require to live a comfortable lifestyle. In older homes with this type of wiring fires are much more of a risk.

A simple trip to the basement of your house can reveal if you have this type of current system. If you see white knobs attached to the joists with wires running through them, chances are this is knob and tube wiring. The knobs acted as insulators from objects while the ceramic tubing provided the support for wires as they travel through floor joists.

Older home inspection today requires catching this type of wiring system with recommendations of complete replacement in order to avoid costly or life threatening fires. This includes replacement of not only the fuses but the wires as well. Simply put, If you upgrade the panel, then replace the wiring as well.

An important side note is that a lot of insurance companies will not write or renew policies where there is existing knob and tube wiring. Nothing can be more frustrating than finding out your proud real estate purchase will not be covered prior to closing.

Rather than hoping your house passes inspection, make sure your professional older home inspection includes the wiring system and recommendations for replacement before it causes undue headache.