It’s true that the purpose of a home inspection is only to inspect the quality, safety, and overall condition of things that are readily visible–that is, components of a home that don’t involve dismantling anything or opening up walls and ceilings. While this may sound like something anyone with a good eye could do, here are some examples of things a home inspector will look for that you probably can’t identify yourself.

  • Can you identify a fireplace that is not in safe, usable condition?
  • Do you know how to identify a pressure reducing valve that needs replacement?
  • Can you identify faulty wiring?
  • Do you know how to tell if the dryer vents properly?
  • Do you know how to read signs of drainage that is not working?
  • Do you know how to tell if any of the materials used in a home are hazardous?

We’ve attended hundreds of home inspections–on behalf of Buyers and Sellers–and have always learned something from watching and asking questions. YES, for most Buyers, a Home Inspection is incredibly valuable, but did you know that home inspections aren’t just for Buyers?  They can be an advantage when you’re selling, too. Typically, most Buyers will have a home inspection – either before an offer is written, or as a condition of an offer. As a Seller, usually you can’t avoid it, but getting one before listing your property puts you ahead of the game.

You will learn of any issues or fixes before you market your property, and before buyers find them. Fixing any issues in advance could help increase the property’s value, decrease its time on the market and avoid renegotiation.

In Strata property, the introduction of Depreciation Reports in the past year is a huge advantage for Buyers, with a wealth of information provided by (typically) Engineers on buildings and their performance. It’s the most detailed “inspection” you could ask for.

Top Ten problems found by home inspectors:

1. Improper surface grading/drainage: Results in water penetration in the basement or crawl space.  Water needs to drain away from the structure at its perimeter to prevent water intrusion.

2. Improper electrical wiring: Includes insufficient electrical service to the house, inadequate overload protection, and amateur, often dangerous, wiring connections.

3. Roof damage: Includes old or damaged shingles or improper flashing which cause water leakage.

4. Heating systems: Includes broken or malfunctioning operation controls, blocked chimneys and unsafe exhaust disposal.

5. Poor overall maintenance: Includes cracked, peeling, or dirty painted surfaces, crumbling masonry, makeshift wiring or plumbing, and broken fixtures or appliances.

6. Structure-related problems: Includes damage to foundation walls, floor joists, rafters, and window and door headers.

7. Plumbing: Includes old or incompatible piping materials, faulty fixtures and waste lines.

8. Exterior flaws: Includes inadequate caulking and/or weather stripping on windows, doors, and wall surfaces which leads to water and air penetration.

9. Poor ventilation: Inadequate insulation and ventilation in attic. Poor insulation and poor ventilation cause excessive utility costs and lack of occupant comfort.  Also includes over-sealed homes which result in excessive interior moisture that causes rotting and premature failure of structural and non-structural elements.

10.  Water damage water is enemy number one.  It can be the most damaging and costly, causing foundation problems, rot and the dreaded mold.

Whatever side of the sale you are on, an inspection provides valuable information, often about things that are not immediately visible. It’s ALWAYS a good idea to have your future home inspected by a professional.

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