Home inspection works as an assurance for the buyer that he is paying the right price for the house and that there are no major defects which will result in increasing expenditure on the house after the purchase. The main aim of a home inspection is to check proper condition and functioning of various mechanical, structural and electrical components of the house. It also gives a scope for the real estate agent and the buyer to bargain for a lesser price in case defects are found during the home inspection.
Your role as a buyer
You need to ask whatever comes to your mind during the building inspections. The more you ask, the better knowledge you will have about the problems you are likely to see in the house. So it is important to ask questions, no matter how simple and trivial they may seem.
What do home inspections involve?
A home inspection will try to locate problems in different parts of the house such as:
- Problems in the roof: Sagging ridge, deteriorating asphalt shingles, abnormally wide slits, loose flashings, delaminated roof deck or visible roof vents.
- Problems in chimneys: Cracked masonry caps, missing mortar or leaning chimneys.
- Problems in downspouts and gutters: Gutters not sloping towards downspouts, peeling paint or downspouts located away from a foundation.
- Problems in wall coverings: Missing mortar, flaking bricks, rotten sidings or leaning exterior walls.
- Problems in the foundation: Damaged masonry, the appearance of efflorescence or soft mortar.
- Problems in basement, floors, walls: Water penetration in the basement, cracked ceramics in floors, loose plaster on walls or drywall seams.
- Problems in electrical fittings: Old cooling or heating equipment, corrosion in water pipes, ungrounded electrical outlets.
In addition to all these problems, there are others that are checked at the time of home inspection like the condition of power connections and adherence to official regulations on electrical wirings. Other things include passing the fire safety standards set by the government, radon testing to make sure the house does not have radon gas problem and that there are no drafty windows. Inspectors also check whether there is water seepage into the basement, termite infestation with damaged wooden beams and high moisture level in the house with the mould problem.
In the above sections, I have listed the issues that are commonly seen when building inspections are done and being aware of these problems at the time of purchasing a house will help make an informed decision.