The single biggest purchase many of us will ever make is buying a home. Compared to the cost of a large repair bill or health care bill down the road the amount of money for these inspections is peanuts.
1. Home Inspection
It is mandatory in most states to have a home inspection done. Don’t expect a home inspector to give you cost estimate of any defects they may find. A separate contractor will give you those costs. These are basic things a home inspector will check out the condition of.
a) Structure – general construction of walls, roof, ceilings, floors and foundation
b) Exterior – sidewalks, driveways, fences, landscaping
c) Plumbing – sinks, toilets, drains, showers (does not include sewer/septic inspection)
d) Electrical – main panel, circuit breakers, grounding, light fixtures and receptacles
e) Appliances – dishwasher, fridge, stove, microwave, washer/dryer
f) Central Systems – Heating/Air, water heater, duct work, fireplace
g) Garage – main door, side entry door, firewall, lights, ceiling, roof
h) Roof & Attic – vents, roof construction, flashing & gutters (does not include guarantee of life expectancy of roof – you will have to hire a roofer for that)
2. Termite Inspection
Termites cause a lot of damage to homes. They can survive in all types of climates and have even been found in Alaska. A Termite Inspector will visually inspect all accessible areas of the home for evidence of wood destroying insects or organisms. When the inspection is complete you will receive a termite inspection report.
3. Mold Inspection
If you or one of your family members has allergies, a mold inspection is critical. Mold causes many health issues. Mold survives in dry and humid climates and for millions of years. The mold inspector will use a variety of techniques to gather samples. These samples will be taken back to a lab and grown for 5 to 7 days to check for toxicity. You will be sent a report with the results.
4. Radon Inspection
The US Surgeon General and the Environmental Protection Agency recommends all homes be tested for radon. What is radon? It is a natural odorless, colorless and tasteless gas that has been proven to be the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. Coupons for Radon Test Kits can be obtained from the National Safety Council for $15-$25 or from a local home supply store. Once you have completed the tests, you send them off for analysis free of charge. If you decide not to do this yourself you can hire an inspector.
5. Septic Inspection
If the home you are buying has a private septic system, hire a professional septic contractor to do the inspection. Home Inspectors as a rule will not do a septic inspection. To do a proper inspection the septic tank should be pumped out. It is common to have the seller pay for the pump out and you pay for the inspection. If you purchase the home, you will have the peace of mind that the tank is empty and has been inspected.
Having these key inspections done will give you peace of mind. It may also save you from purchasing one of those “money pit” homes. Don’t try to ignore doing these inspections. It isn’t worth the risk.
About the Author: Russie Weidl is a Graduate of the Real Estate Institute and currently works for Watson Realty Corporation in Lake Mary Florida. She is also an Accredited Staging Professional. Russie has been the recipient of many awards throughout the years for excellence in her profession. For the second year in a row she was recently awarded the FIVE STAR Best in Client Satisfaction Real Estate Agent in Lake Mary, Florida and the top Hot 100 Real Estate Professional in Orlando, Florida. To get some free and very informative reports from Russie visit her website at http://www.russiesells.com/content/reports.html