Wednesday 6 November 2013

What to look for in your home inspection

Whether you're buying your new home from a builder, or from a previous resident, a home inspection is a must before signing the mortgage papers. Hiring a qualified home inspector should be the first step, but there are things you can check independently as well. Below is a list that can be completed by any potential home buyer during a property walk-through.

Inspecting the grounds:
  • Check for proper grading for drainage, and evidence of standing water.
  • Ensure walkways, fences and any exterior structures, including railings, are in good condition.
  • Look for cracks in the foundation and any damage to the siding.
  • Windows should be properly sealed, and in good condition.
Inspecting the home's systems:
  • Find out where the home's heating system is, review the operation, and check furnace filters.
  • Locate the electrical panel and check individual breakers.
  • Ensure all bathroom electrical outlets are equipped with the proper GFCI circuit interrupters.
  • Locate the main water supply shut-off valve, and the shut off for any exterior water supply to prevent freezing in the winter.
  • Locate smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
Inspecting the interior:
  • Check plumbing fixtures to ensure proper operation.
  • Check basement for signs of moisture damage.
  • All doors, locks and latches should be in good working order.
  • If the home has a fireplace, ensure it is clean and operational.
Inspecting the kitchen:
  • Exhaust fan should be in working order and vent to exterior.
  • Check that all appliances are operational.
  • Look for any signs of leakage under sinks.
Remember - before finalizing your purchase, a walk through from a licensed home inspector is a must. However, performing a few of these checks yourself beforehand can help narrow down your property search.

Keep in mind, no home will be perfect. Professional home inspections are developed to be extremely cautious, so chances are your inspector will find some fault with the property. This is one of the major reasons to ensure you are present during the inspection so the inspector can explain any issues, rather than simply reading about them in the report later.