Foundation Inspection Tips For Buyers and Sellers

Whether you’re buying or selling, the basis of your real-estate transaction depends heavily on the foundation of the home. Be prepared for the home inspection and buying/selling process with these tips:

Buyers

Read your Home Inspection report very carefully. Foundation settlement is a structural concern and can diminish the value of any home. If there is the slightest indication of a foundation issue, call a local, trusted foundation repair contractor for assistance. A reputable contractor will give you a fair and honest assessment of the property.

Examples of some of the warning statements in a home inspection report:

  • Some evidence of settling was observed.
  • Foundation movement may exceed FHA/VA standards.
  • Cracking of floor slab noted.
  • Cracks in brick/floor/wall/ceiling.
  • Fascia/trim separation.
  • Windows difficult to open.
  • Caulk separation at windows or doors.
  • Recommend contacting a foundation repair contractor.

Don’t be fooled by a Home Inspection report, which is typically written in more general terms and may occasionally gloss over foundation problems. Remember that the home inspector’s role is to report on the general conditions of a home not provide a structural report.

Sellers:

Here are some helpful things to remember:

  • A good foundation repair company can typically complete a repair within 1-2 days.
  • FHA/VA and conventional loan approvals are no problem when the foundation is properly repaired and backed up by a lifetime warranty (always check to see if your contractor offers a lifetime transferable warranty)
  • The best way to avoid last minute closing problems is to have the foundation inspected before you put the house on the market. A local foundation repair specialist will be happy to provide you with a no cost evaluation and assessment.
  • If you are owner financing the sale, you may sell the property without foundation repairs as long as you disclose what you know about the foundation. Homes that need foundation repairs generally sell at a discount far below the cost of repairs.

Home Inspection: Confirming Accessibility Requirements

Dear Home Seller,

Crawl spaces, attics, furnaces, electric panels… these are a few of the many places where a conscientious home inspector needs to venture, in order to perform a complete and accurate assessment of your house.

Please have your stairwell tidy and free of debris and obstructions, and leave plenty of clearance around the garage door, electrical panel and furnace. If your attic hatch is in a closet, we need to have clothing and other articles removed from the upper shelves, to afford access using a step ladder.

If you have a crawlspace under the house, and the hatch is not readily accessible, we ask that you move any furniture or other items away from this area, and if necessary, roll back the floor coverings to expose the hatch, just prior to the inspection.

No house is perfect, and a home inspection is not intended to identify every little blemish or minute imperfection – however, the conscientious home inspector tries to discover if there are major defects in a home that the purchaser, and perhaps no one else, is aware of – and should also point out the positive aspects of the house.

In the vast majority of cases, we find nothing remarkable, or nothing to criticize, in crawl spaces; however If there is no access to your crawl space, we may not be able to provide your Purchaser with any relevant information about important components, such as foundation walls, floor structure, electrical wiring and the main plumbing system.

Try to understand the purchaser’s point of view… “inaccessible” can mean “unassessable” and therefore may leave a big question mark in the purchaser’s mind.

How would you feel if you were about to make the greatest purchase of your life, and were not given the opportunity to view one of the largest, most important component parts of that purchase?

And remember, you ARE marketing your house – you probably wouldn’t try to sell your car without letting prospective buyers look under the hood. It just makes good sense, to have all areas accessible, so that your purchaser can feel comfortable in the knowledge that there won’t be any unwelcome surprises later on.

Sincerely,

The Home Inspector

To give your home a competitive edge when it’s time to sell, make sure it is in good physical condition. This not only makes your house more attractive and desirable, it also simplifies or eliminates the negotiation process when the time comes for the buyer’s pre-purchase inspection.

To identify which components are most in need of repair, many sellers now enlist the services of a professional home inspector before putting up the FOR SALE sign.

Older Home Inspection Tips – Replace Your Knob and Tube Wiring

One area of significant concern with older home inspection is the wiring. During the period between 1930 and 1950, when household demands for electricity were much lower, most home wiring included a type of wiring called knob and tube. Today’s homes use much more current to run all of the newer appliances families require to live a comfortable lifestyle. In older homes with this type of wiring fires are much more of a risk.

A simple trip to the basement of your house can reveal if you have this type of current system. If you see white knobs attached to the joists with wires running through them, chances are this is knob and tube wiring. The knobs acted as insulators from objects while the ceramic tubing provided the support for wires as they travel through floor joists.

Older home inspection today requires catching this type of wiring system with recommendations of complete replacement in order to avoid costly or life threatening fires. This includes replacement of not only the fuses but the wires as well. Simply put, If you upgrade the panel, then replace the wiring as well.

An important side note is that a lot of insurance companies will not write or renew policies where there is existing knob and tube wiring. Nothing can be more frustrating than finding out your proud real estate purchase will not be covered prior to closing.

Rather than hoping your house passes inspection, make sure your professional older home inspection includes the wiring system and recommendations for replacement before it causes undue headache.