The Exterior Home Inspection Process
The fascia is a common culprit for outside issues. This is part of your roof, and it allows for proper ventilation. If it’s not properly installed, you could have a decrease in the life span of your roof.
The second important outside factor of your home is your gutters. Without a gutter system, your roof can leak since the primary role of them is to remove rainwater and drain it away from your home. Regularly clean and update your gutters to ensure they remain in working order.
An inspector will check each window to make sure they open and close correctly. Accidentally painting a window shut in a common issue, but broken hardware or loose panes can show up on your report too.
They will also check for drafts when they’re shut as a good working window shouldn’t allow air to escape. You will find this more in older homes; window installation and window quality have changed vastly.
Your home’s structural integrity is the single most important aspect. It supports the walls and provides a foundation. If that foundation has faults, it puts the rest of the house at risk. Sloping floors, sticking doors, and cracks in the foundation are all common issues.
Foundation problems are rarely a cheap or DIY fix. You should be prepared if you’re purchasing a home with any type of structural damage and receive estimates to repair the problems.
Your home inspector won’t skim over a roof; they’ll study it for improper ventilation, curled or missing shingles, leaks, and missing or broken flashings. Roofing can be an expensive fix. If a homeowner lets problems go, their oversight can lead to thousands of dollars in damage to not only the roof but the home too.
If mildew, mold, or other signs show up in your basement or crawlspace, you might have an outside drainage problem. Improper grading is most commonly the culprit here. Sometimes proper grading was never done. However, the process can occur naturally too, like soil erosion, and you’ll see it with older homes. As the soil builds up against your home, it allows water to pool at the foundation.
Grading your home isn’t cheap. It generally includes removing and trucking in large amounts of soil. Plus, if you have damage to the foundation, basement, or crawlspace, you’ll need to address that too. These are must know issues before purchasing or selling a home.
Interior Home Inspection Process
An inspector can tell whether the home owner maintained their house and yard. Some issues that send up red flags include worn carpets, wall stains from previous leaks, mold, or mildew, loose or missing caulking, peeled paint, cracked pavement or rutted driveway, and holes in the walls or flooring.
While one or two issues might seem like a minor problem, when accounting for them as a whole, it paints a different picture of the house. Do your best to take care of issues as they arise, and remember that minor issues can quickly become large ones.
Utilizing a home inspection is the best method to ensure both parties know their house is healthy without hidden issues. Sellers can quickly address problems or adjust their price to reflect the house's health. Buyers generally want to invest in a house that is structurally sound and without large surprises that will burden them financially at a later date. A home inspection offers both parties a win-win solution and peace of mind.
Electrical Wiring Your inspector will test and assess the outlets throughout your house. They’ll asses the breaker box, including fuses. Other issues they might find are reversed polarity, double taps, and damaged wiring.
If your neutral and hot wires have been attached incorrectly, you will have a reverse polarity. Simply switching the wires to the correct position fixes this common issue.
A double tap is two feeds going into one breaker. Installing a twin breaker remedies this.
Damaged and faulty wiring is a major concern. This can lead to house fires and property damage, which includes neighboring homes. You will need to redo hazardous wiring or account for it in the asking price or bid.
Home Heating Problems Did you know you should maintain your heating system annually? Most homeowners forgo the crucial inspection that keeps their system in good working order. Your home inspector will thoroughly check your heating system unit for signs of maintenance that generally include blower, blower belt if applicable, ductwork, and presence of soot. These issues can cause your heating system to fail, and the easiest remedy is to schedule a certified HVAC specialist to clean and inspect your system prior to selling your house. If you’re purchasing, consider hiring a service to perform yearly checks.
Plumbing Problems Small plumbing leaks can occur without the homeowner being aware. Common areas are around toilets and sinks, but hidden water damage can be elsewhere. Broken seals, incorrect materials, and corrosion can lead to leaks.
If your inspector discovers signs of active leaks, you should consult with a plumber. They can locate and fix issues quickly. If the water damage is old, you will need to address that too; ensure mold isn’t present in the areas and that structural damage hasn’t occurred.
Radon Testing & Termite Inspections
Most Americans know very little about radon and why it’s important to have their home—or prospective home—tested for elevated radon levels.
Nearly 1 out of every 15 homes in the U.S. is estimated to have elevated radon levels. Elevated levels of radon gas have been found in homes across the U.S., and especially in Maryland. While radon problems may be more common in some areas, any home may have a problem. The only way to know about your home is to test. Metro Capitol Home Inspection Services has certified radon testers who can help you.
Radon Testing Breathing radon in your home can cause lung cancer. Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas released from rocks, soil and water and it can build up to dangerous levels inside your home. Every home is susceptible to Radon gas. Radon is a colorless and odorless gas and the only way to know if your home has a radon problem is to have your home tested.
Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among people who do not smoke and the second leading cause of lung cancer for people that so smoke. EPA estimates radon causes more than 20,000 deaths from lung cancer each year in the U.S. If you smoke and your home has a high radon level, your risk of lung cancer can increase even more.
Homes with high levels of radon have been found in every state. In fact, radon levels can vary greatly from home to home.
Radon is measured in picocuries per liter of air (pCi/L), a measurement of radioactivity. In the United States, the average indoor radon level is about 1.3 pCi/L. The average outdoor level is about 0.4 pCi/L. The U.S. Surgeon General and EPA recommend fixing homes with radon levels at or above 4 pCi/L. EPA also recommends that people think about addressing these issues in their homes for radon levels between 2 pCi/L and 4 pCi/L.
Testing your house for radon is easy. If your house has a radon problem, it can be fixed. Fixing a radon problem reduces the risk of lung cancer for you and your family.
For more information visit at http://www.epa.gov/radon/index.html or call 1 (800) 23-RADON for a free information packet.
This might surprise you to know, but Termite damage far exceeds damage caused to homes by tornadoes, hurricanes and flooding and it is rarely covered by homeowner insurance policies. Traditional home inspectors often are not thoroughly trained to recognize existing or potential termite damage. Early detection can save homeowners major repair costs.
Buying a New Home? A qualified Home Inspector can provide potential home buyers with peace of mind because the inspector will outline any existing damage or termite infestations and areas that are liable to incur future infestations. Areas of concern include open access points in the foundation or lower levels of a home and significant moisture deposits.
The results of these reports should not necessarily deter a home buyer from purchasing the home in question. Negotiations may be entered into between buyers and sellers to arrange for further prevention and repairs to be made by the seller prior to sale. Sellers may also negotiate on price if termite damage is found.