Home Inspector’s Checklist for 2018

If you are planning to buy a house or if you’re going to sell yours, there are certain things that you need to be aware of.

A smart buyer/seller must ensure that the house they’re going to buy or sell is in good condition. Therefore, for improving the chances of buying or selling a worthy property, inspecting it is a must.

Today, I am going to go over some of the most important things you need to look for in a house.

Ground

1.    No Evidence of Standing Water

There should be no standing water in the perimeter of the house. For those of you who do not know, the term standing water refers to a pool of water that doesn’t flow and thus stuck in that area.

2.    No Leaks from Septic Tank or Leach Field

Inspect the septic tank to ensure that there are no leaks because leakage can cause a lot of problems. Also, inspect the leach field to make sure that it doesn’t have leaks as well.

3.    No Damage on Exterior Structures

Look at the immediate exteriors of the house. Look at the fences, the walls, the doors, the garage and see if there are things that need to be repaired. All of them should be in good condition. None of them should suffer from termite damage or rotting wood.

4.    Railings on Stairs and Decks are Adequate and Secure

For the stairs, there must be a strong railing. If it is made of wood, it has to be painted or finished. Inspect if there is any damage. For metal railings, see if there is any rust or damage and have it repaired or replaced. Have it painted for a nice look.    

5. Downspout Drainage Directed Away from Structure

Make sure that the downspout drainage (a pipe that directs rainwater from a gutter) is not directed to the house, but rather on the ground.

Roof

1.    Flashing Around Roof Penetrations

If the structure has roof penetrations (like chimneys), there should be some flashing installed so that it will become weatherproof.

2.    No Evidence of Roofing Cement/Tar/Caulk

See if there is any excess of roofing cement, tar, or caulk and have it removed (if there is any).

3.    Soffits and Fascia

Both of them are mounted under a roof and they should be free from any decay or stains.

4.    Flat Roofs

See to it that there are no obvious patches, cracks, or splits. Blisters are permissible, but they have to be very minimal. If you see significant damage on the roof, use waterproof tarps as a temporary cover before it is fixed for good.

5.    Gutters

They should be installed properly and securely to the structure. There should be no signs of sagging and there should be no areas missing. Lastly, they should be cleaned thoroughly and if there are mud deposits, they have to be removed as well.

Windows, Doors, and Wood Trim

1.    Wood Frames and Trim Pieces Are Secure

They should be free from any cracks, rotting, or decay.

2.    Joints Around Frames Are Caulked

They should be sealed tightly.

3.    No Broken Glass
Windows and storm panes should be free from damage. Screens should also be scot-free and window seals should have proper insulation.

4.    Drip Caps Installed Over Windows

Drip caps allow water to run down the window, therefore, the water will not get behind it. See to it that they are properly and securely installed.

Structure

1.    Sides of the House

They should appear straight, nothing should be bowed or sagging. If there are any signs of sagging, inspect to see if it’s caused by a damaged floor and have it repaired immediately to avoid further damage.

2.    Windows and Door Frames

They should appear square and provide a nice look.

3.    Foundation in Good Condition

Inspect that the foundation of the house is in very good condition. It should be straight and it should be devoid of any significant cracks.

Electrical

1.    Visible Wiring

This should be in very good condition. It should be using a more modern type of wiring. Thus, it shouldn’t be using the old “knob-and-tube” wiring (although, some houses still use it for their attics). Make it a point to remove any exposed splices. Lastly, the cables should be secured and it should be protected from the elements (especially from water).

2.    Service Panel

The electrical service panel is a board with all of the wires attached from the electric post towards your home. This is where you control the electricity in your house. Inspect and see if it has adequate capacity and that the components are not overheating. The cable connectors should be in good condition, as well as the fuse and the circuit breakers. If you see that something is amiss, you have to call the help of an electrician or have it serviced by your electric company.

3.    Branch Circuits

See if they are using copper wires with the correct amperage. You should never use aluminum cables for branch circuits!

Heating/Cooling System

1.    Should be in Good Condition

Whether you’re using an insulator or a cooling system like an air conditioner, it should provide adequate airflow. Have it cleaned on a regular basis to ensure that the airflow is at its optimal efficiency.

2.    Flues

Otherwise known as the flue pipe, it should be correctly installed with no open seams. It should slope up correctly to the chimney connection. The purpose of flues is to exhaust any exhaust gases produced by the chimney or your home insulation system.

3.    Cooling Unit

For the unit, it should be devoid of any rust as it can prove to be dangerous to your health. If rust is present, be sure to have it repaired or have its parts replaced. Also, make sure that it is working in great condition.

4.    No Combustion Gas Odor

See to it that your insulation system is not emitting any combustive gas odor. If there are signs of the odor being present in the vicinity, have it repaired or serviced.

5.    Ensure that Filters Are Clean

The air filters in your house should be clean so that dust will not build up. Otherwise, it will cause more harm than good.

6.    Ductwork

The ductwork is responsible for the distribution of airflow from your cooling or heating unit. Therefore, it is important that it is in good working condition.

7.    No Asbestos

Asbestos was used before in heating pipes, but it was found that it can be hazardous to your health. You see, asbestos is a group of naturally occurring mineral fibers that are mostly found in rocks. They were widely used before, so you might spot them in older homes. However, its use is already uncommon in modern homes because of health risks due to the accidental inhalation of asbestos. Therefore, you should inspect and see if there is any asbestos on heating pipes, air ducts, and water pipes. If there is any, have it removed and replaced.

8.    Separate Flues

There should be separate flue pipes for all gas applications and wood/coal systems.

Conclusion

If you’re inspecting a house, the above checklist is a godsend. But, for the most part, just seeing that everything is in good and working condition is already a huge plus.

 

Source: Written by Megan Jones for the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI)

Please contact RJ Home Inspection to schedule a professional home inspection for your home or business: 800-253-4402 or email info@rjhomeinspection.com