What To Watch for in Your Home Inspection
Most home inspections will leave you with several things to consider or watch for. It's important to keep in mind that the seller is not responsible to fix all of these items for you. Essentially, you are buying a home at the price you are buying it at, because (and knowing) that it will have some defects, and things that need to be updated.
The inspection is important to identify or uncover issues or concerns that you may not have been previously aware of, in order to give you peace of mind as you close and move into your new home.
There is a possibility of going back to the sellers and requesting additional items be taken care of based on the inspection report, but don't be too heavy-handed, because again - if you wanted a brand new home with no issues whatsoever, you would be paying a different price for that. So keep an even keel, and be understanding, while also doing what you need to do to feel comfortable moving in.
There may be some outstanding concerns about your home, that you want to watch for. Here are top concerns:
1. Radon Gas
Radon is a radioactive gas that is moving to the forefront of concern as it is the leading cause of lung cancer in the US, estimated to be resulting in 21,000 deaths per year.
This can be tested for, and there are several solutions to take care of the problem. The greater problem is that too few homes realize they have radon, realize what radon is, and do not end up testing for or taking care of the solutions.
The EPA says, radon "comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water, and gets into the air you breathe. Radon typically moves up through the ground to the air above and into your home through cracks and other holes in the foundation. Radon can also enter your home through well water. Your home can potentially trap radon inside. Any home can have a radon problem. Nearly 1 out of every 15 homes in the United States is estimated to have an elevated radon level."
Interestingly, radon can be a problem for your home, but not your next-door neighbors. So on a home-by-home basis, it is important to test for it, and take care of it if it is detected.
The U.S. Surgeon General Health Advisory says, "Breathing radon over prolonged periods can present a significant health risk to families all over the country. It's important to know that this threat is completely preventable. Radon can be detected with a simple test and fixed through well-established venting techniques."
Mold can be harmful to your health, and it is important that it is treated and taken care of properly.
3. Insect or Rodent Infestations
Be sure that any serious problems with rodents or insects are disclosed, and were properly taken care of.
4. Foundation Stability
Cracks in lower level walls can be normal as the house "breathes," however look for cracks that run along the entire exterior walls or are too large to be safe. Also watch for any dips in floors on second or third levels to be sure that the proper support wall procedures were in place when the home was built.
5. Water Grading & Drain Tile
Depending on the age of your home, it is important to check for water grading around the home - this prepares for water run-off, and keeps your lower level or basement from getting wet in the case of heavy rains.
It is also beneficial to know if drain tile and a sump pump are installed and in working condition in the home.
It would also be good to know if there is any history of water damage in the home or basement, and if this problem has been resolved.
6. Expensive Updates Needed
Check on larger items of the home like when the roof was last updated, how soon the water heater or other items need to be replaced. All of these will give you a better picture of the costs going into the home that may be needed, and potentially give you negotiating power with the seller before closing.