- Water stains along walls or floor. This could be caused by something simple such as an overflowing laundry tub or it could be a result of water seeping in through basement windows, the walls or the floor.
- Musty odor or damp smell. Excess moisture in a basement can cause an unmistakable smell.
- Mold. It could be colored black, brown, yellow or green, and you won’t know for certain if it’s mold without testing it. Often the northwest corner of a house is known as a “cold corner” and susceptible to developing mold.
- Efflorescence. This condition produces a white or sometimes grayish ash on the walls. Sometimes it sparkles. Efflorescence is caused by salt deposits left behind by evaporating water.
- Spalling. When water gets inside the surface of concrete, brick or stone, salt deposits from the water cause the surface to flake away, peel or pop off.
That “perfect” four-bedroom, two-bath house you stumbled upon in a beautiful suburban neighborhood could hide some serious problems. The best way for homebuyers to find out about potential issues is with a good home inspection.
In fact, you’ll have to get a home inspection to meet mortgage lenders’ requirements before you buy. But not all licensed inspectors will thoroughly inspect and report on your potential home’s defects.
So before you hire the first home inspector you find on Google or whoever your Realtor or lender suggests, do your homework. It’s acceptable to interview a home inspector before you decide to drop $300 or more on the inspection fee.
Here are the seven most important questions to ask before you schedule a home inspection:
1. What’s your background?
The best home inspectors are typically those who have experience in the building industry. You want to work with an inspector who knows what’s inside the walls of your home and understands the basics of local building codes and requirements. (Note: A home inspector will not be able to tell you if every single plumbing, electrical and/or structural aspect of your potential home is up to the latest codes. For this, you’ll need a more specialized inspection by a licensed plumber, electrician or contractor.)
Background is especially important if you’re planning to purchase an older home, as inspectors may need to look for problems in older homes that are uncommon in newer properties. So if you’re buying an older home – or a fixer-upper – find an inspector with a background in inspecting similar homes.
2. How much experience do you have?
It’s OK to work with a rookie home inspector who has a background in construction or home repair. But be sure you hire someone who has, at the very least, undergone extensive training – or who will have the assistance of a more experienced inspector during the inspection.
3. How long will the inspection take?
On average, a home inspection should take two to three hours to perform. If you’re dealing with a large home, a fixer-upper or an older home, the inspection should take even longer. Don’t hire someone who promises to be in and out within an hour or two, as this is too short a time to thoroughly inspect a home.
4. What will you inspect?
Keep in mind that it’s not a home inspector’s job to inspect things that can’t be seen. The inspection won’t reveal any wiring problems hidden behind drywall or any mold problems under the shower tiles.
With that said, an inspector should evaluate every possible visible place in your home, including the roof, basement and attic. And the home inspector should be in physical shape to access these places, even if a ladder or flashlight is required.
An inspector should also look at things such as the water heater, furnace and electrical box. Again, the inspector may be unable to tell you if your home’s systems are up to local codes. But the professional should have enough knowledge to inform you if the systems are safe or in need of major repairs.
5. Can I attend the inspection?
A refusal to this simple request is a red flag. A home inspection is a fabulous opportunity to learn about your home and talk about any possible repairs that may be needed. A good inspector will take you along on the inspection, if you wish. A great inspector will talk you through everything he sees.
6. What kind of inspection report do you offer?
Most inspectors will provide a report within 24 hours. It’s important to be sure the inspector’s reporting style will meet the requirements of your lender as well as your own personal preferences. Ask to see samples of their previous home inspections if you aren’t sure.
Of course, you’ll also want to ask about the inspector’s fees and schedule. But before you get to those, find the right inspector by asking these seven questions.
Legacy Home Inspection always encourages you to get to know your home before you buy. This includes taking a long hard look at the roof, even in a new home. Here are some suggestions and photos that show you what you could run into. Call us today and we will guide you through the process and help you get the right solution..
A roof inspection is one of those preventative maintenance jobs that’s easy to overlook. Don’t. Add a once-a-year reminder on your calendar to go out on a warm day and fix any problems you find.
If you’re squeamish about heights, don’t worry. You can do a thorough inspection from the ground using a pair of binoculars.
Or, you can get up close and personal with your roof using a ladder. However, there’s no need to get up on your roof just yet. The less you walk around up there, the better for your roofing — and the safer for you. Work your way around your house, noting any potential problems.
Here’s what to look for:
• Cracked caulk or rust spots on flashing.
• Shingles that are buckling, curling, or blistering.
• Missing or broken shingles.
• Cracked and worn rubber boots around vent pipes.
• Missing or damaged chimney cap. (OK, that’s technically not part of your roof, but since you’re looking anyway.)
• Masses of moss and lichen, which could signal the roof is decaying underneath. Black algae stains are just cosmetic.
Garage Doors – Protect your entrance the right way
Legacy Home Inspection helps you to be prepared for home ownership. As part of this we like to educate you about the home systems you have and also how they should be maintained. When you buy a new home there may be items you don’t see although they are common issues. This week deals with garage doors. It might look OK outside but what can you find on the inside?
Garage Door Operation 101 – a homeowner’s guide to the garage door and how it works.
Not really. Like every other mechanical device you own – your cars, your kitchen and laundry appliances and your heating and cooling systems – your garage door and its operating system needs to be properly adjusted and regularly maintained in order to function correctly.
You can perform some simple safety and maintenance tasks yourself. Other tasks – such as spring repair/replacement, track and roller repair/replacement and door installation – are jobs best left to trained service professionals.
Just as it is common practice to have your home’s heating and cooling systems checked annually, it’s also a good idea to have your door checked annually by a qualified service technician to ensure that it continues to work properly and effectively. Use the Find a Dealer feature to locate a qualified service technician nearby.
Never take a garage door system for granted; always use extreme caution when working on it or near it. Make sure that children understand that the garage door and the garage door opener are not toys. Never let children play with the door or its operating system. For more safety information, check out theGarage Door Safety section of this site.
Legacy Home Inspection always encourages you to get to know your home before you buy. This includes taking a long hard look at the plumbing, even in a new home. Here are some suggestions and photos that show you what you could run into. Call us today and we will guide you through the process and help you get the right solution..
Your inspector may be able to tell whether or not things are, um, “ flowing.” However, a sewer expert can use a “sewer cam” to discover cracks or breaks in the sewer line from the house to the street.
This is critical for properties that are heavily landscaped, where root growth can crack and clog the pipeline. Sewer issues can be a serious expense, so it’s better to find out sooner rather than later. Trust me, this inspection is worth its weight in gold. A sewer line replacement can be an enormous expense.