What is a home inspection?
Unlike a home appraisal, which seeks to discover the market value of a home, a home inspection looks for any structural or mechanical problems.
Discovering a Reliable Home Inspector:
Finding a reliable home inspector is crucial. There are thousands of home inspectors to choose from. Some of the things you should consider in hiring one is building inspectors usually have previously worked as an engineer, architect, electrician, carpenter, general contractor, and any other profession related to the building industry. You can find home inspectors on the internet, in the phone book or ask your Realtor if they can recommend a reliable building inspector.
Home Inspection Checklist:
An inspector will check if the peak is straight and level, the roof sagging between rafters, if shingles show any signs of deterioration, roof vents are visible, and if there is any loose flashing near the chimney. In regard to the chimney, he will look for a cracked or broken masonry cap, missing or flaking bricks or mortar. Finally, he’ll check to see if the chimney is straight.
Soffits, Fascia, Gutters and Downspouts
The inspector will make a note of whether the soffit and fascia are wood, plastic or aluminum, and if there are any loose or missing sections. He will also inspect for visible rot or paint problems. He’s going to want to ensure that the gutters slope downward, toward the downspouts. He’ll look for peeling paint and rust on the gutters and downspouts, as well as loose sections and leaks.
Walls, Windows and Doors
The home inspector is going to check that walls are straight both vertically and horizontally, that they are free of cracked or loose plaster, are unstained, and have no evidence of previous repair. He’ll investigate the windows to find any problems with paint caulking or rotted wood. He’ll note the approximate age of the windows.
Porches and Decks
An inspection will be done around your porch or deck, looking for cracking or flaking masonry, paint problems and rotted wood. The inspector is also going to want to know if any settlement or separation from the house has occurred.
Floors, Basement and Foundation
Floors will be checked for deteriorated or cracked tile coverings, stained wood, and sloping or sagging. Basements will be investigated for evidence of water penetration, while foundations will be searched for any bowing, bulging, or other obvious irregularities.
Bathrooms and Kitchens
The inspector will check to see that all fixtures are secure and without cracks. He will note the condition of tiles and caulking in the tub area and will make sure all faucets are in working order, with sufficient water pressure. He will look for rot and staining under counter tops and randomly check the operation of cabinet doors and drawers.
The ceiling will be checked out to make sure that none of the plaster is cracked, sagging or loose and that there is no evidence of stains.
The inspector will make note of the type, style and age of the heating and cooling systems in the home, when they were last inspected, and if there is any visible rust or corrosion. He will also check the size and age of the electrical service to the home and whether the outlets are grounded. He’ll look to see if the wiring is safe and in good condition and whether any upgrades have been made.
There are more items in any home inspection checklist but those listed above are some of the basic or most common. A home inspection will help you decide if the house is a good buy or if you should start looking again.
California Home Inspection Checklist
by Dana Sparks, Demand Media