let’s talk : HOME INSPECTIONS
Now, let’s move on to the real reason we are all here. Real like experience post #3 – HOME INSPECTIONS. Getting your offer accepted on a home seems to be like the most exciting thing ever, but honestly this is where the real work begins. As soon as the offer is accepted, it’s time to meet with your attorney, home inspectors, accountant, lenders, etc. This has been our process thus far;
Step 1: Figure out what you can afford via the pre-approval process
Step 2: Do your research, and run the numbers on what seems to be 1,000,000 properties
Step 3: Based on the numbers, make your offers (we made 8 between 2 towns)
Step 4: 2 of our offers were accepted – yay!!
Step 5 : Our attorney reviewed and approved the contract
Step 6: We set up our home inspections – and this is where we currently sit for our 2nd & 3rd properties…
Over the past two weeks we have gone through two home inspections, and through those I have learned A LOT (I think). I knew that getting a home inspection was all “part of the process” but TBH I had NO idea what I was looking for in the inspection reports. Let me tell you about it, and you tell me what I am missing on my “personal” checklist
So, as we do, let’s talk Real Estate, let’s talk HOME INSPECTIONS…
So, we get our inspection report from the inspector and I think – so, like what really matters here?
You do not want to see these two words listed together in ANY part of your inspection report. Rule of thumb I came across; if you put a golf ball down on one side of the room and it rolls to the other side of the room – walk away from the house. Every house “settles” which can cause hairline cracks. Often times these baby cracks are not an issue, the problem lies when / if these hairline cracks deepen causing structural weakness. Fixing foundation issues can run you thousands of dollars.
ROOF AND CHIMNEY
Fixing a roof can be costly. An inspector and appraiser should be able to tell you how many years you may have left with a particular roof. When assessing the roof, home inspectors typically look for movement, condition of roofing material, ridges, caps, drip edges, functionality of drains and gutters, flashing around roof pipes, chimneys and HVAC units.
Here is the issue with furnaces; if they break you simply need to replace them, and they are costly (average ~$6,000). It is helpful to have an expert inspect the chamber of the furnace to tell you exactly how many useful years they think the furnace may have left.
What should we try and avoid here? The old knob and tube systems. These are typically found in homes built before 1960. The issue is if they are found in an older home – they need to be replaced, as they are a huge fire hazard and do not meet code. Replacing these systems can be costly and may even force you to alter the structure of your home in order to fully replace the electrical system.
First and foremost, it is important to note that there is almost some element of mold in every home… so, what type of mold should I be concerned about? Toxic black mold. Toxic mold produces a byproduct called mycotoxins. Mycotoxins can cause health issues like memory loss, asthma, lung damage in even the healthiest people. On top of the health risks, the presence of this mold can be indicative of a much larger issue (i.e. foundation cracks or plumbing issues) and remediating these issues can potentially cost you big bucks.
Aside from the toxic stuff, you may commonly find non-toxic mold. This can still cause you problems, but it is much more easily fixed! Sometimes all it takes is some bleach, a sponge and a dry environment to get rid of the mold. It is important to note that if the mold does go un-treated, it can eventually eat away the wood / paper / drywall wherever it is lodged and can honestly be quite smelly.
Now, all that said, just because mold pops up in an inspection does not mean the deal is done. We just need to know how to treat and prevent it going forward. So, how can we prevent mold accumulation? Mold needs three things in order to survive; moisture, source of food and humid temps. In order to eliminate mold, we must eliminate at least one of those three things, the mold will not survive unless all three elements are present. To avoid mold damage going forward we should…repair and insulate leaky pipes, repair leaky roofs, add ventilation to bathrooms and laundry rooms, install dehumidifiers, install storm windows, and ensure any crawlspaces are well ventilated.
Mildew lets you know the room is too moist, and is often found, if at all, in the basement or in crawl spaces. Inspectors will evaluate the floor and walls for mildew and will often carry a meter with them that tells them how much moisture is in the air.
How can we prevent mildew? Plastic wrap! Cover any spaces were the earth is exposed and any crawlspaces with plastic wrap. Mildew often appears due to moisture which can come from water leakage and faulty drainage systems. Make sure gutters and drains are not clogged and are working properly.
If there is any water leakage, it is typically found in the basement or on the ceiling. Water travels down, so a leakage could be due to a number of different reasons including roof damage, tile damage, or a faulty plumbing system. Again, in the event the roof or plumbing system is to blame, you can expect to shell out big $$$ for repairs.
Aka mice, bats, raccoons, ants and worst of all…termites. Here is the thing with little animals like mice – even though they freak me out the most, they can pretty much be remediated by simply setting up a few traps. The real issue here are termites, who can very literally eat up your entire home over time. If there are termites, it is important to have a professional treat them, replace the wood they destroy and monitor the area to ensure they have not come back.
ANYTHING ELSE WE SHOULD LOOK OUT FOR?
- Faulty Wiring (Lack of nuts on wiring, mismatched amperage signs, etc.)
- Safety Standards (GCFI outlets, building codes, etc.)
- Faulty Gutters
- Poor Drainage
- Poor Upkeep
- Inadequate Insulation and Ventilation
HOW DO I APPROACH THE SELLER IF ANY OF THESE ISSUES ARISE?
Talk to your agent, however rule of thumb typically says the seller should (but is not required to) fix any warranted items that determine whether or not the house is livable. These items typically include issues with the foundation, plumbing or electricity.
What typically scares YOU on an inspection report? Is there anything else we should be looking out for?
Feel free to comment on the blog post HERE and let us know what YOU think!
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