It is often said that buying a home is likely one of the most important purchases you will ever make. However unlike most purchases, there is no return policy or money-back guarantee. Once you buy a home, it is yours to maintain, repair and of course, pay the bills. This is why it is critical to know as much as you can about any problems or warning signs your potential home could have, before making the commitment to purchase it.
A home inspection by a professional home inspector is probably the best way to assess the condition of a home. However like any service provider, you want to make sure you are getting an honest, professional and unbiased assessment of the home you are interested in. Doing a bit of homework up front will help ensure that the inspector you hire is not only worth the money you pay him or her, but most importantly, that you will get the proper information you need to make that big investment decision.
One of the most common questions people have about home inspections is what will the inspector inspect and is it worth it. To answer the last question, you probably need the perspective of the first part. The following is a list of some of areas a good home inspector will cover:
* Structural system – including foundation, framing, crawl spaces, floor, wall, ceiling and attic structure.
* Exterior – includes exterior wall covering, flashing, trim, exterior doors, decks, porches, steps, eaves troughs, soffits, facials, grading, surface damage, retaining walls, walkways, patios and driveways.
* Roof System – Includes the roof covering, drainage systems, flashings, skylights, chimneys and roof penetrations
* Plumbing System – Includes interior water supply, fixtures, faucets, drain, waste, vent system, water heating, fuel storage/distribution, drainage sumps, sump pumps and related piping.
* Electrical System – Includes service drop, service entrance conductors, cables, raceways, service equipment, main disconnects, service grounding, service panels, sub panels, conductors, overcurrent protection devices, lighting, fixtures, switches, receptacles and the ground fault circuit interrupters.
* Heating System – includes the installed heating equipment, the vent system, flues and chimneys.
* Air Conditioning Systems – Includes installed central and through-wall cooling equipment
* Interior – includes walls, ceilings, floors, steps, stairways, railings, countertops, cabinets, doors, windows, garage doors and garage door operators.
* Insulations and Ventilation – includes insulation and vapour retarders in unfinished spaces, ventilation of attics, ventilation of foundation areas and mechanical ventilation systems
* Fireplaces and Solid Fuel Burning Appliances – Inspect the system components, vent systems, flues and chimneys
Unless you know these systems well, it is highly recommended that you do get the services of a qualified professional home inspector. A good inspector is worth every penny and can save you thousands of dollars and plenty of hardship, with a small investment in their work upfront.