October 24th, 2011
Buying a home is the single most expensive purchase for the average American. With a high price tag and no return policy, homebuyers should know as much as possible about a potential home before sealing the deal.
With this in mind, a crucial step for potential homebuyers is the home inspection. A home inspection examines the current condition of the property’s major systems including, although not limited to, heating, air conditioning, plumbing and electrical systems, foundation and structure, roof and flashing and possible environmental conditions affecting the property. Prudential Fox and Roach’s online Resource Center provides additional resources about home inspections in the HOMEInspection section.
It is extremely important for homebuyers to have a potential purchase examined by a professional to reassess its current condition, thus the current value of the home. The inspection can make or break the deal. Not only do the findings often indicate potentially costly repairs, but the repairs also act as bargaining chips in continuing negotiations.
Homebuyers should know what to expect during a home investigation. To ensure buyers are ready for anything, here are the five most common and costly home inspection findings:
- Water Intrusion – Without question the most common defect found in a home inspection is water intrusion. The most common culprits home inspectors look for are permeable roofs and basements, damaged or improper roof construction, missing gutters and downspouts too close to the home’s foundation. While common, homebuyers need to know where and to what degree water has damaged the property because it can lead to more damage like mold and cracks to the foundation.
- Heating and Air Conditioning – Proper HVAC maintenance should be more than just a suggestion; it should be an absolute requirement. Missing or damaged insulation, corrosion, debris inside panel and dirty filters are just a few issues found on a regular basis during a home inspection. Make sure to ask when the HVAC system was last repaired or replaced before signing on the dotted line.
- Roofing Defects – Problems with roofing, either due to wear and tear, flawed installation or defective materials is another common problem found in a home inspection. A roofing issue does not necessarily mean the entire roof needs to be replaced. However, it does mean that the roof is in need of maintenance or repair, which can be costly. A damaged roof also suggests that there is additional damage as it protects the structure from water, weather and more, so be sure your inspection covers any collateral water damage.
- Electrical Safety Hazards – Home inspections commonly discover electrical safety hazards, especially in older homes with dated wiring and materials. Faulty electrical systems can be the result of construction errors, but more often they are due to wiring added or altered by do-it-yourself homeowners or unqualified electricians.
- Plumbing Issues – Plumbing issues can be an absolute nightmare for homeowners and inspectors, including loose toilets, dripping faucets, leaking drains, and corroded pipes, just to name a few. Plumbing issues and subsequent damage are often undetected until the problem is serious and repairs are costly.
- Additional Considerations – Unfortunately, general home inspectors do not check for specific issues, such as termite damage, site contamination, mold and engineering problems. A separate dedicated professional is needed to thoroughly examine the house for such problems.
The most important thing for homebuyers to remember is remain knowledgeable and prepared throughout the house hunting process.
For more information on home inspection considerations or information about other aspects of buying a home, please visit Prudential Fox and Roach’s online Resource Center on their website.