Home inspections are incredibly important to the homebuying process. A professional inspector can pinpoint problem areas for a potential property and save you headache down the road.
Here are five things to look out for during your home inspection.
Electric wiring that is outdated or has seen better days can be a fire hazard in your home. If your inspector spots evidence of faulty or aging wiring, it might be worth talking to the property owner about before you sign any paperwork. Updating an old house's wiring can be an expensive undertaking. Have your inspector gauge the lifespan of the wiring and how much of it would need updating in the near-term to help make your buying and negotiating decisions.
If a house's insulation is damaged or poorly installed or appears to require an upgrade, it can lead to heavy costs down the road. A poorly insulated house means that warm and cool air will have an easier time escaping, potentially raising your electricity and gas bills. Make sure your inspector pays special attention to a home's attic—since heat rises, poorly sealed or insulated attics can leak warm air from your furnace during colder months.
One thing that your home inspector may be able to spot that you may not have noticed is how your property is graded—namely, how will drainage flow in a heavy rainfall? This is critically important to maintaining a safe and structurally sound home. If the basement shows signs of water damage or flooding, it may be the result of poorly graded surface on the ground level. Make sure your inspector checks for these sorts of warning signs.
It's often hard to tell how much life certain features of a house have left in them. The roof, for example, can be difficult to gauge whether it's time for replacement. If you notice a high number of damaged or curling shingles, it's a sign that the roof will likely need to be redone in the near future. If that's not something built into your budget, make sure to keep that in mind when it comes to buying decisions.
While the length of usefulness of the expensive fixtures in a house can vary greatly, there are general rules of thumb to abide by when it comes to heating and cooling elements. Furnaces that receive regular maintenance (typically on an annual basis) can safely last as long as 20 years. Check for documentation of regular checkups to confirm this in your own potential furnace. Central air conditioning units generally follow the same standards.