Before you finalize your home purchasing decision, you need to get a home inspection. While not legally required, this is your last chance to evaluate the true condition of the property, and ensure you’re getting what you pay for. But if you want to inspect appropriately, and get the most out of your work, you should know which areas of inspection are most important.
Why Conduct a Home Inspection?
In most areas, home inspections aren’t legally required; you can technically waive your right to one. However, this isn’t recommended; home inspections are the only chance you’ll have to determine the condition of your property before you finalize the purchase. If you notice something is wrong, you can get it fixed proactively, or at least lower the price to compensate for that flaw. Otherwise, you could be stuck with a property with critical weaknesses or unseen damage.
Important Points to Evaluate
When you work with a home inspector, it’s important to be an active part of the process. Pay close attention to how they inspect these points and learn about the nature of your home:
1. Foundation integrity.
First, you should take a good look at the home’s foundation. This is one of the most important areas of your home, not only because it supports the rest of your home, but because it’s one of the most expensive things to repair. If you have decay in your foundation, or if it’s offset, it could severely compromise the value of the house. Foundation problems can be hard to spot, too, so give this a little extra care.
2. Signs of water.
Water may seem innocuous, but it can be one of the most destructive elements to a home, in part because of its potential damage over time. Check roofs, ceilings, floors around water-based fixtures, and other areas for any sign of water damage, past or present. Any damage could be a sign of a much bigger problem, could lead to mold, and could result in other problems, like rotting wood.
3. Utility connections.
Next, you’ll want to scope out the utility connections to your home, including your water, electricity, and gas. Sometimes, the home will have these utilities turned off, so it’s important to get them turned back on at least temporarily so you can test them with the home’s faucets and other appliances. A leak or damage to any of these utility lines could result in massive damage later on, so it’s a vital area to inspect thoroughly.
4. Roof and attic condition.
A damaged roof can quickly lead to other problems, especially when it rains. You’ll want to inspect the roof’s condition and age, including whether there are any missing shingles, and whether there’s any pre-existing water-based damage. You should also check out the attic, looking for any signs of leaks or damage.
5. Appliance conditions.
Look at the appliances in the home—especially the ones in the kitchen. These tend to be expensive fixtures to replace, and the damage or impaired functionality isn’t always immediately noticeable. On top of that, damage to an appliance could pose a safety issue in some situations; for example, a gas stove with a flawed connection could result in a gas leak.
6. Framing seals and condition.
You can always add new windows or doors after you move in, but it’s important to evaluate the current condition of the frames and seals in your home. A door with a bad seal or an old window will leak more air out of your home, reducing its insulating capacity and reducing the efficiency of your heating and cooling.
7. HVAC systems.
Speaking of heating and cooling, make sure you spend time inspecting the HVAC system. Furnaces and air conditioners are complex machines, and if they haven’t been well cared-for, they can be more vulnerable to breakdowns. You should also inspect the ductwork and ventilation systems, noting any foul odors or signs of bad condition.
8. The bathroom.
The bathroom typically has a shower/bath, a toilet, and a faucet/sink at a minimum, and all these fixtures should be inspected thoroughly. On top of that, bathrooms can be expensive to repair and renovate, so it pays to be in the loop about its condition long before you move in.
9. Plumbing and electrical work.
Finally, take a look at the pipes and electrical work. These are vital in supplying utilities to your home, and they tend to take damage over time, so it’s especially important to check them in older homes. Make sure your wiring is up to code, and check the pressure in all your water-based appliances.
10. The garage.
If your home has a garage, you’ll want to give it a thorough inspection—especially since this is a commonly neglected area. If you have a separate garage, check the roof and ceiling, and see how it’s connected to the main part of the home (if at all). You’ll want to check the walls and the flooring for damage as well. While you’re at it, take a look at the garage door and evaluate how it works; these can be expensive to replace.
Can You Perform a Home Inspection Yourself?
If you have a bit of handyman knowledge and you’re familiar with many of the areas listed above, you might be tempted to try and conduct the home inspection yourself. After all, you could save yourself somewhere between $200 and $500, depending on where you live and which inspector you choose. However, it’s usually best to leave the inspection to a professional; professional home inspectors tend to have more experience and may be able to spot things even an experienced DIYer might miss.
You can’t get a home inspection until you find a good property to buy. If you’re in the market for a home or rental property in the Katy, Texas area, contact Green Residential today! We can help you with an analysis of the best properties in the area, and provide guidance as you make your decision.