You’ve been searching and searching for the perfect home and at last, you’ve found the one. Before you get too excited, it’s time to bring in a home inspector.
Any current homeowner will tell you, an inspection is a necessity whether the house is a fixer-upper or in tip-top condition. In North and South Carolina, all homes are sold “as-is” and do not have to pass an inspection. However, most of the time Sellers will work with buyers to come to an agreement about repairs or a repair credit. A Home Inspection Report is for the Buyer’s Benefit and Education on their new purchase.
Typically a buyer will hire an inspector right after the seller accepts their offer (and before the appraisal). You’ll want to get your Realtor to schedule the inspection as soon as possible so if there are repairs to be made, there is still plenty of time; or if needed the Buyer can exit the Contract if Repairs are too daunting.
A home inspector will perform a non-invasive examination of the house and then report back to both parties with the results. Though you can trust your inspector’s expertise, it’s important that you too have a general understanding of what to look out for as to further avoid problems.
The most common issues a home inspector can find include:
Water & Moisture
Water damage and excessive moisture are one of the most problematic and costly issues an inspector can find as it can affect the home’s foundational structure and contribute to mold growth. Signs of water damage include basement dampness, water stains, powdery residue, mold, and mildew.
An inspector will look carefully at a home’s electrical system and wiring (including breakers, smoke, and carbon monoxide detectors, light switches, outlets, circuits, and boxes). Issues are typically found with worn and outdated systems or in homeowner additions. If a problem is found, it becomes a safety concern and will require immediate attention.
It’s important that water drains away from the home’s structure to prevent water damage and other issues. An inspector will do diligence to make sure this is the case. Clogged or bent gutters and poor grading can all be contributing factors, some easier fixes than others.
When an inspector heads to the roof of a house they often find small issues like broken, brittle, and curled shingles or missing flashing but they could also find that the roof has been improperly installed or aged and need to be redone entirely.
An inspector will assess the home’s structure (slab, foundation, beams, joists, trusses, staircases, subfloor, railings, etc) for any damage. Cracks in the foundation, sloping floors, sticking doors or windows, and missing structural components can all be tell-tale signs of larger issues.
An inspector will be able to tell if a home was well maintained or not. If the home needs repainting, has worn out carpeting, if the yard is overgrown and unkept, or if the driveway has cracks you’ll know the current owners didn’t take great care of the property and that there are likely other issues you haven’t found yet. Also, consider how much money you’ll spend bringing it back into condition.=
It is common for a home inspector to find plumbing issues like leaks and outdated systems. The inspector will look for inadequate water pressure, slow drains, and water marks on the ceilings. Very rarely does the entire plumbing system need to be replaced, only just parts of the system.
Ventilation and Insulation
Your inspector will check the basement and the attic for potential issues with insulation and ventilation. Inadequate insulation and ventilation can cause unnecessarily excessive utility costs and an extreme lack of comfort.
An HVAC system has several components, all of which are checked during an inspection. Improper installation, inadequate maintenance, and old parts can all be called out during an inspection.
An inspection is just one of the many things you as a buyer should be aware of during the home buying process. For more on what to expect during the buying process, check out our free guide, Home Buyer 101: Top Questions Your Realtor Will Ask.