Thursday, April 2, 2009

Task Force

My dad is a home inspector and has been for the past 30 years. I have been going on home inspections with him since I was 3 years old. He remembers this time well as he would pack his briefcase with his necessaries and I would pack mine with my necessaries (IE: stuffed animals). Well, over the years, I've learned a thing or two about houses and what to look for so when a friend asked for suggestions, I was happy to help!

So for those of you who are also considering buying a house or condo, check out my list before you buy!

1. Before going in the house, look at the roof from the street and note what kind of condition it's in. If the shingles are warped or several are missing, it's a good indication you'll need a new roof. Usually this is a big ticket item as it can cost up to or over $10k depending on the materials.

2. Look at the condition of the wood on the exterior (such as trim). Does any of it look rotted out? Not such a huge expense but can be a pain to replace if there's a lot of it.

3. When you walk in the house, look at the ceilings for water damage. If there are stains, it's likely a bathroom is leaking or has leaked in the past. These repairs can get costly. If you find some, be sure to ask the homeowner about it.

4. Note pets in the house, or the smell of pets. If there are pets, it's likely the carpeting has been "targeted" and can get really moldy under the carpet pad if not taken care of. Can get really nasty!

5. When looking at equipment, check the water heater for signs of heat damage (burns above the access panel at the bottom) as this can be indicative of problems. Also, check the age. usually the manufacture date is in the serial number or sometimes you will simply find a manufacture date written on it. Water heaters typically last 12-15 years.

6. Check under all sinks for leaks. You can run them just to make sure they all work and that water pressure is good but checking for warped wood in the cabinets is more important.

7. Check the house for settling. You can see how much a house has moved by noting doors that don't close right (they rub or are out of level with the door frame). Also check the house foundation outside to make sure you don't see any major step cracks (looks like steps, naturally).

8. Tap on bathroom tiles with your knuckles in the shower to listen for water damage. A tub/shower with no water damage will sound solid; a shower that has issues will sound hollow and the tiles may be loose.

9. If the house has carpeting and you like hardwood, pull up a corner of the carpet to see if hardwood has been covered up. Sometimes you find a nice surprise like that!

10. The absolute BEST time to look at a house is when it's pouring down rain, or if it's been raining for several days. This will let you see if the basement leaks (usually due to a misplaced downspout) or the roof. This can also be caused by poor grading (how the soil slopes toward the house).

A random deviation from my usual posts but I figured it's a good time to post it.

Yay for tomorrow being Friday!!


Stephen Baird said...

great photos.

Marley said...

Thank you! Love your photos as well!