Home Inspection Tip – Move Your Clutter!

When any self respecting housewife invites company for dinner, she cleans the house to impress her guests. If you’re selling your home and are having it inspected, as you should, you’ll need to do some house cleaning, too. That’s not so you can impress your home inspector, but so he can do his job.

Many times home inspectors can’t fully do what they’re supposed to do because certain areas of the home are inaccessible, due to clutter. When it’s time for your home inspection, you want to get your money’s worth. You don’t want the report to say, “Inspection limited due to the excess possessions blocking access and view.”

This isn’t about being a neat freak. The American Society of Home Inspectors ASHI┬«, Standards of Professional Practice, says inspectors are not to report on components or systems which are not observed. Your inspector isn’t required to disturb insulation or move personal items out of the way. If you’ve got furniture or plants in places your inspector needs to see, like the doorway to a utility closet, you’ll have to move that stuff. Clear off any snow and ice if necessary as well.

What if the water heater, electrical panels, or attic are places your home inspector can’t get to? Those are areas he must check if your home is to be inspected properly, and if you’re going to get the report you need. The bottom line: Don’t let junk ruin your home inspection.

In some homes water heaters are found in utility closets or garages. If the water heater is surrounded by clutter, your inspector can’t tell if there are possible problems, such as a fire hazard. If an electrical panel has been improperly installed, but is hidden from view, your inspector won’t know that, and neither will you. What if that panel causes a fire for the next home owner?

Walk through your home before your home inspection is to take place and make sure all doors and passageways are accessible. Move stored items out of the way or elsewhere altogether. If the home being sold is vacant make sure that the power, water and gas remain on so that all systems are operable and can be inspected. If items on the report can’t be inspected, you as the seller may be asked to have the home inspected again after areas in question have been cleared out. Similarly, if you’re the buyer, you can ask for another inspection. Another option is to request that the seller pay for a warranty if a certain component is not inspected.

Granted, if a home to be inspected is being lived in, there will be personal possessions throughout the house. Some areas will be less accessible as a result. If you’re the seller, make sure things can be moved out of your inspector’s way.

Show some common courtesy and make sure key areas around your property can be seen by your home inspector. You may not be trying to impress him at a dinner party, but you’ll make his job easier, and you’ll get a more complete report. That, after all, is what you’re paying for.

Home Inspection Tip – Five Home Maintenance Areas That Can Snag the Sale of Your Home

The last thing you want when you’re selling your home is to discover problems that could jeopardize the sale. While a home inspection will reveal the condition of your home, you won’t have to be afraid of issues that come up if you’ve kept your home well maintained. With good home maintenance you can avoid some of the most common imperfections and problems found by home inspectors.

Home maintenance tasks are often put off for various reasons, such as lack of time, lack of money, or simply lack of interest. However, when it comes time to sell your home and you know buyers are looking, it’s time to take care of business.

The little things that nag you may be major issues to a prospective home buyer, and they could cost you the sale. You can eliminate the vast majority of problems and stress by checking on five important areas.

1. Dirty filter and coils in the furnace, air conditioning or heat pump system. Having your heating and cooling system serviced by a professional once a year should take care of this problem. You should also clean or replace filters every one to three months, depending on the requirements of your system. This is important for long life of your unit, efficiency, fuel savings, and the assurance you’ll have proper heating and cooling in your home.

2. Poor Caulking of Ceramic Tile in the Tub and Shower Area. It can cost thousands of dollars to repair or replace a rotted shower wall. You can avoid this by caulking tiled areas for a few dollars. If you can see a crack in the calk or grout, you know it’s large enough for water to get in.

3. Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI) not Functioning properly. Those electrical outlets with the “Press” and “Test” buttons are GFCI’s. They’re very important in reducing or preventing the chance of electrocution. Push the “Test” button to see if the GFCI’s are working as they should. If not, they’re inexpensive to replace and should only take about fifteen minutes to install. If you have questions or concerns, call a professional electrician.

4. Wood rot. This is a big one, and it can snag the sale of your home. What inspector wouldn’t love to report that a home is free of wood rot and structural damage? Selling your home can be made simpler and more enjoyable if you are knowledgeable about preventative maintenance. For example, have a good moisture barrier under the crawl space. Keep an eye out for leaks around windows, doors and the roof.

5. Amateur Workmanship. Did you weekend handyman brother-in-law help you remodel the kitchen last year? When amateurs do home projects, often the materials used aren’t right for the intended purpose, or they’re of poor quality, or both. Inspections are seldom performed or permits obtained when such projects are done by amateurs. Unfortunately amateur work can complicate a closing.

Be sure to keep your home in good shape to make things go smoothly for your home inspector and for the selling process as a whole. You’ll be glad you did.

5 Home Inspection Tips For Open House Visits

Fortunately, prospective homebuyers do not have to be professional home inspectors to be able to identify certain problems in a home.

Regardless of whether you are the “handy” type or more of the “book” type, you will be able to spot certain problematic areas with a little bit of guidance. Thus, if you are going through the home purchasing process and you are viewing different homes, keep yours eyes open for some of the following.

NOTE: to better prepare you before heading to your next open house, go on the Internet to look up images regarding some of the problems noted below (e.g. water damaged ceiling, termite damage, flooded basement, mold, cracked foundation).

1) Discolored Walls and/or Ceilings

Discoloration on walls and/or ceilings is usually indicative of water damage or mold. Neither one is good for the home. If you see this, make a note of it.

Water damage could result from leaky pipes, broken pipes, improperly installed window flashing, or even a leaky roof. Each of these can be quite expensive to repair. Where there is excessive moisture, there is a chance that mold will grow. This is especially concerning since mold exposure is linked to certain health concerns. Mold can also cause structural damage to any property it inhabits.

2) Wood Damage

If there are hardwood floors in the house be sure to look for any signs of damage. More specifically, look for lines that resemble trails of some sort. This can be indicative of damage caused by termites or other wood-destroying insects.

In addition, if you can observe wooden beams in the basement, be sure to have a close look for any impairments. Damaged wooden beams can also be attributed to a wood-destroying insect.

3) Dampness in Basement

If the home you are viewing has a basement, look for any signs of excessive moisture while you are down there. Such dampness can mean that the basement floods or that there is water seepage during rainstorms. It can also lead to the growth of mold, which thrives in dark and moist environments.

4) Drafty Windows

While you are in the house, run your hands across some of the windows to feel for any air getting through. On a hot summer day this will be more difficult, not impossible to do, but try it anyway.

Windows can become a much bigger headache than most people think. Repairing windows can be rather expensive, depending on the type and quality you’re seeking. This does not necessarily mean you will have to repair the windows; there are some inexpensive remedies that work well. But, having this knowledge prior to making your purchase permits you to take it into consideration when deciding whether or not to place a bid.

5) Cracked Foundation

At some point before you leave the house, be sure to look around the exterior of the property for signs of damage to the outer structure or foundation. Sometimes there will literally be a large crack going across a section of the home’s foundation. Although this doesn’t always indicate a serious problem with the house, it is worth knowing about and looking into.

Closing

These are just a handful of home inspection tips that you should keep in mind when you are viewing different prospective houses. The benefit is that you can identify some problems on your own and possibly eliminate certain houses from your list that you weren’t too sure of in the first place.

Once you have found a home that you feel comfortable with, have a professional home inspector conduct a thorough inspection. This will ensure that you have all of the information you need regarding the actual condition of the home to make your final purchasing decision.

Best of luck!