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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!

Five Tips To Quickly Recognize Serious Structural Problems – Home Inspection Tips For Denver-Boulder

Five tips to quickly recognize serious structural problems

Serious structural problems in houses are not very common, but when they occur they can be difficult & costly to repair. These tips won’t turn you into a home inspector, but it will give you some of the common indicators of structural concerns. In these cases, a structural engineer should be called out to investigate further and provide a professional opinion.

Tip 1 – Leaning House

Take a macro-look at the home from across the street – is the house obviously tilting or leaning, or one edge of the home separating?

Tip 2 – Exterior Walls & Entries

Look for areas of wall separation greater than ½” in size
Check the Chimney area well – is the chimney separating from the home?

Tip 3 – Doors & Windows

Do doors and windows open freely? Look for cracks around the edges of windows and doors, and for sagging lintels on brick homes.

Tip 4 -Floors & Walls

Are there drywall cracks > ¼” in size? Are there uneven floors near corners?

Tip 5 – Basement Foundation Crack

Look for significant cracks both inside and outside on the foundation, particularly near corners, around windows, and any cracks that run the full length vertically or a considerable length horizontally.

Summary

o Tip1 – Is the house obviously leaning?

o Tip 2 – Are there large external cracks?

o Tip 3 – Are doors & windows sticking?

o Tip 4 – Are walls cracked or floors uneven?

o Tip 5 – Are there basement cracks present?

Any of these may indicate a structural issue that should be inspected or reviewed by a structural engineer. Structural concerns when selling or purchasing a home are the most costly items you can be faced with. Look closely at these areas, or ask you home inspector to focus on these areas in a separate walk through of the home. If you aren’t sure about something you see, have a structural engineer look at it. The cost of an inspection will be well worth the peace of mind in knowing the severity and extent of the concern.

George Scott, Scott Home Inspection LLC,

http://www.scotthomeinspection.com/

Home Inspection 101 For The Home Buyer

Why is the home inspector the buyer’s best friend? In a real estate transaction, there are many parties involved with different interests. The buyer, the seller, the real estate agent, the mortgage broker, the appraiser, the attorney, the title company, the insurance company and the home inspector. The inspector and the buyer’s attorney are the buyer’s best friend because they help protect the buyer’s interests. A home inspector is hired by the buyer most often to inspect the house he/she is buying to offer a professional and unbiased report on the condition of the house. So what is at stake here for the buyer? The money he is going to pay for the house as well as the future money he is going to pay for the house plus his and his family’s health

How does they buyer choose a home inspector? What are the fees associated with a home inspection? Since a home inspection is so important, a buyer should choose a inspector carefully. A buyer should not choose a inspector just based on the fee he charges. Ask questions about what he is going to inspect and how long his inspections take and how quick his report will be ready. There are home inspectors who charge $100 to $150 flat fee inspections, but whose inspection takes 1/2 hour to 1 hour and those inspections are not as accurate or has the quality as those inspections which require more time and equipment. A good inspection of a house can take 3 to 4 hours at a fee of $500 dollars. This fee is minuscule compared to the price of the house.

When should a buyer get a inspection done? Never use the home inspector your real estate agent refer to you even if the agent represents the buyer. This is obvious because the success of the transaction hinges on the outcome of the inspection. Nor use the home inspection an attorney refers you. To get the most unbiased home inspector, pick one who is not related to the other parties of the transaction. You should get the inspection done before you go into contract.

When should a seller get a inspection done? A seller should get a inspection done before he list his home for sale with a real estate agent.

What does a home inspector inspect? A general home inspection is defined by different home inspection organizations. One of the largest home inspection organizations is NACHI. Membership with one of the home inspection organizations is a good sign the inspector is following some standards of practice when he does his inspections. Click on this link to view the InterNACHI Standards of Practice.

How does a inspection help the home buyer save money? The answer is an inspection will most likely reveal a defect with the house you are buying that would cost some money to fix in the future if you are going to buy the house. You can save some money here by bringing up all the defects the inspection report reveals up to the negotiation process before you sign the contract, make the earnest money deposit, or the deposit.