28 Jan 15 Home Inspection Tips for New Homeowners
A home inspection is your opportunity to look beyond just furniture staging and paint colour so you can proactively identify any issues with the inner workings of the home.
In addition to a professional home inspection, this is your chance to take a detailed look at your possible future abode. If you don’t have a lot of experience with home repair, take notes and ask questions. Inspecting your potential new home doesn’t have to be a daunting task.
Tips Will Give You The Confidence You Need To Make Sure The Process Goes Smoothly
Walk around the exterior of the property and examine the condition of the lawn, driveway, fencing and unattached structures such as sheds. Look for standing water in the yard- this could be a sign of sinkholes. The driveway and walkways should angle away from the house to ensure water is flowing towards the curb.
Examine the roof from the ground looking for signs of damage or missing shingles. Branches should not hang over the roof as this could cause future damage. Determine the age of the roof from the owner and find out what kind of maintenance has been kept.
Ensure the gutters are attached securely to the house-there should be no visible sagging. They should be free of debris and rust and most importantly, carry water away from the house.
When examining the chimney from the outside look for any visible signs of damage to the bricks or signs of rust and decay on a metal chute. It should be securely attached to the house. A chimney cap is ideal to prevent birds or squirrels from nesting inside.
Hairline cracks in the foundation of the house are generally nothing to worry about. Large cracks or holes, however, may signify more serious problems such as water damage or structural problems.
You will need to examine the condition of the floors, ceilings, and walls in every room of the home so don’t be afraid to take a good look in every room. Pay attention to creaky spots on the floor and use a marble to check if they are level. Ceilings and walls should be free of signs of water damage.
There can be a lot to look for in the kitchen of your potential home so don’t be shy about opening the cupboards and running the faucet. You want to make sure the cabinetry is in good condition.
The faucet should run freely, the sink should be well sealed and the pipes below should be free of leaks or water damage. You may also want to find out the age of appliances to determine how much life they have left in them. Check out the range hood exhaust fan as well to ensure it’s in working order.
You’ll definitely want to examine the plumbing in your bathroom(s). No one wants to have a shower with low water pressure, right? Run the shower to check for good water pressure.
Make sure there is good drainage and check under the sink for leaks. Ensure the tub is properly sealed and be on the lookout for signs of water damage. Flush the toilet too-it should stop running after refilling the tank.
As in every room, make sure the floors are level and the walls and ceiling are free from water damage. There should be a heating source in every bedroom as well as functional wall outlets. Peek inside the closet too. You’ll want to make sure the doors are in working order. Some rooms may not contain closets which would limit your storage space.
Check to ensure the attic is properly insulated. Examine the underside of the roof and floor for signs of damage. Rotted or sagging wood will need to be replaced immediately. If there is a pencil-like protuberance hanging from exposed wood this is a sign of termite infestation. In such a case you will need to call a professional exterminator. Lastly, there should be no exposed wires or open appliance vents in the attic.
Be wary of large cracks in the foundation. As mentioned, hairline cracks are typical but large or growing cracks are a sign of structural damage. Check for leaks, damaged wood and signs of termites.
Windows & Doors
Feel free to open those doors and windows. You want to make sure they function properly. If a door sticks it could be a sign the floor is uneven.
Examine the windows inside and out. Make sure they are not painted shut and there is no sign of water intrusion.
A wood burning fireplace is a beautiful feature to have in the home but be aware that they do require maintenance. Be sure to inspect the firebox for visible signs of damage such as large cracks or broken bricks. Open and close the damper-it should move easily and freely. Use a flashlight to inspect the flue. It should be clear of debris as well as cracks or damage to the interior.
Find out the age of the water heater so you’ll have an idea of the remaining lifespan. Ask the owner what kind of maintenance has been performed on the heater. Many systems need annual servicing such as descaling or flushing. Listen to the water heater for gurgling or popping sounds-this could be a sign it’s in need of service. Check around the floor underneath the heater for signs of flooding.
Check the plumbing for possible leaks or damaged pipes. Locate the water shut off valves and remember to turn off your outdoor valve in the winter.
Heat & Electricity
Check the electrical box for sloppy or exposed wiring. If the electrical box looks sloppy chances are the wiring in the rest of the house may not be up to snuff. Make sure the electrical work was done by a professional.
Like other appliances, you’ll want to find out the age of the furnace and ask questions about its functionality. Regularly changing the furnace filter is an ideal and easy way to prevent future problems. Be sure the furnace properly supplies heat to every room in the house.
How We Can Help
After completing your home inspection you may encounter issues that have you second-guessing the purchase of a new house. Fear not! From brightening dingy basements to updating tired kitchens, Plumbingmart has you covered. We will provide you with the expertise you need to turn your house into the home of your dreams.