When it comes to buying or selling a property, home inspections are of the highest significance to all parties involved. Homeowners and homebuyers often wonder why home inspections are important and how to find a good, trustworthy home inspection company, so we’ve prepared a basic guide to explain some key aspects of the process.
As you’ve probably noticed in recent years, home prices fluctuate dramatically in the modern housing sector. To put it simply, a home sold in today’s market may not be worth the price at which it is listed at. A home inspection can be a homebuyer’s best friend, as it can protect them from paying too much for a home with faulty construction or facilities that only a trained inspector can identify and document thoroughly. For a homeowner who wants to sell their property, they may want to make sure that the price is as fair and competitive as possible so that they don’t sell their property below its true value.
So when it comes time to get a home inspection, you may wonder how you can find a good and trustworthy inspection company to get you the most accurate inspection report and value. First, start with experience. We strongly recommend choosing an inspector that has spent more than 15 years as a general contractor. We know firsthand that having this much experience means the inspector has pretty much seen it all, just as we have at Bay Area Home Inspections. Also, a good home inspector will take about two to three hours and can give you a thorough, in-person explanation of all findings and answer any questions you may have. A good inspector will compile a detailed report complete with high definition photos, whether each problem has a safety issue, major or minor defect, which items need replacement or repair, and which items are suitable in the near term but should be monitored carefully.
It’s important to know the prices for repairs of the items mentioned on the inspection report. Since Bay Area Home Inspections is also a general contractor, we will provide you with approximate prices for repair of items noted on the inspection report – it’s part of the service, all you have to do is ask.
In addition to the above, a home inspector should cover the following areas:
Exterior Walls – The inspector should check for damaged or incomplete siding, cracks, excessively close soil to the bottom of the house that can be inviting for pests.
Foundation – The inspector will not be able to directly examine foundations that aren’t visible, but can check for cracks or settling that may be secondary evidence of foundation problems.
Grading – Grading should slope away from the house, and the inspector should let you know if this is the case, or will otherwise warn you if you need to change the slope or drainage to prevent water from flowing towards the house.
Garage or carport – The garage door, framing, ventilation to prevent carbon monoxide risks, and any water heaters present should be inspected.
Roof – Roofs should be checked by the inspector for damage or poor installation, including loose or missing shingles, loose bitumen connections, problems with drainage, issues with flashing installation, termination waterproofing and cracked or damaged mastic near vents. Gutters condition and slope should also be checked.
Plumbing – This includes faucets, showers, leaks, sinks and water pressure. Also, the type of piping should be identified if they are visible, and the location of the home’s main water shutoff valve should be located.
Electrical – The type of wiring in the home should be identified and all outlets should be tested and confirmed for functional ground fault circuit interrupters. The electrical panel should also be checked for safety issues.
Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) – The HVAC system should be inspected and the age of appliances like the furnace and air conditioner should be estimated. The inspector can also provide insight into the home’s ducting, whether it has leaks, and if your home has sufficient insulation and if there is asbestos insulation.
Water heater – The inspector should tell you how old the water heater is and determine if it is properly installed and secured. They should also let you know how many years it has left and what condition it’s in.
Kitchen Appliances – These are not always part of inspections, but sometimes the inspector will test kitchen appliances to make sure they are functional.
Laundry room – The inspector will ensure the laundry room is properly ventilated for fire safety.
Fire safety – If the home has an attached garage, the wall should be checked for the proper fire rating and to identify any damage. Smoke detectors should also be tested and checked for proper location and installation.
Bathrooms – Leaks, properly secured toilets, adequate ventilation and other issues should all be checked by the home inspector.
Home inspections can make a huge difference in the valuation of a house, so be sure to only entrust them with experienced inspectors. Remember that Bay Area Home Inspections has more than 15 years of experience in the field, and is always ready to help answer your questions. Don’t hesitate to call us if you need help with your home inspection needs.