Get the most out of your home inspection
Be there for your inspection
Try to be there for as much of your home inspection as possible. Use this time to get to know your new home and be prepared to ask questions. If you have areas of concern you can point out specific problems you'd like to check out further. This is your inspectors first time at the property so any knowledge you have about the property is invaluable.
Don't be Afraid to Ask Questions
The reason you hired a home inspector is to ensure that your home is checked by someone that has the necessary knowledge to evaluate any issues that your new home has. This way you can make an informed decision about the investment in your new home. You should respect your home inspector's knowledge and time but you should always speak up if your inspector is not clear or you don't understand what they are referring to. It's better to ask a question now then overlook an issue that might be more important than you thought.
Make sure your inspector is certified and up to date
Make sure your inspector is certified and up to date Finding your own home inspector can really give you peace of mind. While your realtor probably has a few inspectors that he or she can recommend, you can also research and find your own. Finding a home inspector that you feel good about and trust is well worth it compared to the purchase price of a house.
Look for DIY projects
Many DIY projects are done correctly but often times items were not done using approved construction techniques. This often involves plumbing and electrical wiring. Your inspector should pay particular attention to newer wiring, plumbing, or if it looks like only part of a wall was painted. Newly painted or cleaned basement walls deserve a closer look.
Photos of not just issues but working equipment
Every inspector should bring a camera along on the inspection. He will also be going to places that
you won't be able to or won't want to during the inspection. (crawl space, roof, the attic, etc.). Ask your inspector to show you the photos and go over any potential issues so you can see the photos and fully understand the problem. If the seller is providing a home warranty make sure your inspector takes photos showing that the major systems and appliances currently work. It is not always needed for the warranty but is better to be covered.
Specific information on GFCI's
GFCI outlet building codes have changed over the years and many older homes do not have them in all of the locations they are now currently expected. Your inspector will check them but will often not give specifics as to which ones need updated but just a vague listing that they need updating. Request specifics in case they aren't updated as part of the sale and you need that information later.
Checking the attic is an important part of an inspections. If your inspector can get into the attic he can learn a lot about leaks, properly vented bathrooms, prior repairs. If the bathroom fan is venting directly into the attic, then it is sending moisture into the attic where it can cause mold, rot or worse.
Water Mains and shut off valves
Your inspector will check all of the faucet and drains. Request him to also show you where the main shutoff is and any other shut off valves. This is very important to know once you are in the office.
Pay Attention to the Roof
Your homes roof is one of the most expensive components parts of a home to replace. It is also important in keeping the interior in good shape. Your home inspector can make an estimate about the age but a good inspector will also see if there is a permit listed with the county auditor. Request this information from the seller if the age is not able to be determined. Many
inspectors don't go up on the roof at all. If not, make sure you hire an inspector that has a system in place that is more than using binoculars. There is only so much you can see at an angle with binoculars while standing on the ground. Inspect My Home Property Inspections goes up on the 1st floor roof and uses a 25' inspection extension pole with a super zoom wi-fi camera to get close-ups of the 2nd floor roof. Keep eyes peeled for curling or missing shingles and pay special attention to anywhere there's a chimney, vent or skylight to look for signs of water intrusion. You can also see signs of water issues in the attic if it's accessible.
Major Systems (HVAC)
The age of the major systems is an important piece of understanding upcoming costs. Often your inspector can determine the age but many times there will also be paperwork attached to your Havc system indicating service dates to better understand how the system was maintained. A filter that's in obvious need of changing can hint at other postponed or ignored maintenance.
Basement and Foundation
A lot can be seen in an unfinished basement. You will almost always see cracks. Cracks are not always a deal breaker, but understanding why a crack appeared is important. If salty looking deposits are on the wall or newly painted sections, be sure to ask your inspector about them. Your home inspector will be able to tell you if anything needs further inspection from a structural engineer.