Home Inspection Checklist: Problems Homebuyers Miss without a Home Inspection
Despite all the warnings and more horror stories than we could mention in one blog post, there are still individuals who decide not to have a home inspection before purchasing a house—likely the biggest investment they will ever make. These people often fall into two extreme categories:
- Those who know very little about a house’s components and how they work. These folks may be easily dazzled by the outer appearance of a home or its shiny interior without paying much attention to problems that may be hiding on the roof, in the attic, under sinks, or buried in the yard.
- Homebuyers who fancy themselves experts in all things about a home. To them, the mere idea that a home inspector would be required is an insult to their do-it-myself natures.
In today’s competitive seller’s market, a new group has been added to those who are foregoing home inspections: bidders who waive the home inspection contingency clause when making an offer on a home in order to stand out amongst those vying for the same property. While skipping the inspection requirement (and, thus, essentially buying the property “as is”) may catch the seller’s eye, it’s a misstep that more and more buyers are making…and later regretting once they discover problems with the home that an inspector would certainly have included in a detailed report.
Having inspected many thousands of properties over the past 27 years, A-Pro’s team of inspectors can tell you that skipping a home inspection, even if you’re the handiest guy or gal on the block, can be a huge and costly mistake. This is especially true when you consider the moderate price of a complete, 500-point home inspection compared to the cost of an out-of-pocket roof replacement or foundation repair.
If you’re on the fence about having an inspection even though your real estate agent strongly recommends one, here is a brief checklist to remind you of the many defects that can be easily missed without the trained eye of a professional home inspector in your corner:
Roof: While a roof may appear to be in fine shape, an inspector will be able to identify signs of cover degradation and damage; poorly installed or damaged flashing; roof penetration issues; amateurish, short-term repairs; gutter problems; past or active leakage; and issues with visible rafters, such as sagging, incorrect fasteners, missing or corroded hardware, and loose bracing—all problems that could cost you money in the future.
Plumbing: No homeowner wants to wake up to find five inches of standing water in the basement or learn that the home they’ve moved into needs a new plumbing system. The inspector reports on tell-tale and obvious signs of plumbing concerns, including slow draining sinks, tubs, and showers; corroded, rusted, broken, and leaky pipes; corroded water heater connections and missing pressure relief valves; leaky and poorly connected toilets; wrongly installed hot and cold faucets; and problems with the main sewer line (see below).
Electrical: The outdoor and indoor electrical system evaluation is one of the most detailed parts of a home inspection—and for good reason. In addition to making sure lights turn on as they should, the inspector will point out fire and shock hazards, such as improperly terminated wires, too few outlets, and too many extension cords, ungrounded receptacles, uncovered junction boxes, recessed lighting, non-working GFCIs, dangerously low service drops, missing breaker knockouts in the service panel, and a long list of other issues.
Foundation: A-Pro home inspectors are experienced in identifying signs of structural issues, such as wall cracks, foundation cracks, sloped and uneven floors, and stuck windows and doors, as well as defects that accelerate foundation problems, including an ineffective gutter system and negative grading. A-Pro takes this a step further by performing a free foundation level survey (a $150 value) with every complete home inspection. This service documents floor variations in every room of the home, identifying areas of immediate concern and providing a recorded baseline to be compared against future foundation level surveys.
Added Services: A-Pro home inspectors perform several critical inspections that go beyond what is included in a traditional roof-to-foundation assessment. These include video Sewer Scope Inspections (to check for damage or blockage to the main sewer line); and inspections for radon, carbon monoxide, wood-destroying insects, mold, asbestos, and lead paint.
Other areas in which inspectors find hidden problems include heating and cooling systems, exterior cladding, garages, attics, built-in appliances, crawlspaces, insulation, decks, porches, stairwells, exterior steps, windows, doors, venting systems, and many others.