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Home Inspections: 8 Critical Areas to Look Out For

Posted by South Dakota Housing Authority on Jun 29, 2017 2:38:14 PM

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Buying or selling your home can be a big undertaking. Having your home inspected before you buy or sell can prevent delays in the selling process, get you a better price or prevent you from buying a home that might require costly repairs. Don’t underestimate the value of hiring an inspector to thoroughly review your home.

Here’s a list of important areas you should have inspected before making moves in the housing market.

Electrical Wiring

One of the most important reasons to have a thorough inspection of electrical work is due to the number of fires caused by electrical failures. You don’t want to come across exposed electrical wires, as they are more susceptible to physical damage and subsequently prone to starting fires. A licensed electrician should fix any electrical issues.

Other common issues, particularly in older homes, could include rusted service panels, panels with too many circuits or burnt wiring - all of which can cause a fire or power outage.

Foundations

It goes without saying that a home’s foundation is vital. Repairs are not easy to make once a home is finished. Foundation issues can cause big structural problems and be costly to resolve. Cracks by doors and windows or bowing walls can be signs of foundation issues.

One common cause of foundation problems lies in the “grade sloping” around your home. If the ground slopes toward your home, it can lead to drainage issues compounding into problems with foundation integrity. 

Heating Systems

Heating systems vary from home to home, but if you have a furnace that’s more than a decade or two old and poorly maintained, it’s a good idea to look at replacement options. Issues with heating systems can be dangerous, increasing the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning or fire. Though, sometimes issues can be as simple as replacing an air filter.

Plumbing

It’s no fun unclogging a toilet. It’s even worse when you have to deal with serious plumbing and sewage problems. Plumbing is vital, as it provides you with clean water and makes sure waste is properly disposed. Having the plumbing inspected before you buy can save you from a disgusting and costly problem. 

A sewage system expert can get an excellent look at your sewer system’s condition by deploying a camera into your piping and examining for breaks or cracks. It’s especially important to have this done on properties with established trees, as roots can crack and clog piping. Replacing a sewer system isn’t cheap, so putting in the extra effort up front can save you from a potential basement mess. 

Noxious Gases

The term “noxious gas” doesn’t sound pleasant—and fittingly so. One particular noxious gas is radon, a naturally forming gas that’s colorless, odorless and tasteless. Radon is radioactive and carcinogenic, making it very dangerous in case of long-term exposure. You don’t want to live around the second-most-common cause of lung cancer.

The EPA highly recommends testing homes for radon and is affordable at approximately $40. Typically, a canister is placed in the lowest part of the home for a period of time, and the results are processed within a few days.

Asbestos

If you’re buying an older home, specifically before 1980, you want to make sure the home is free from asbestos. Asbestos, a human carcinogen, is directly linked to lung and respiratory conditions, such as lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis. It was used in insulation construction for a long time to help in fireproofing buildings. Asbestos was used in a wide variety of products, such as heating pipes and shingles.

Geology

Properties located on hillsides or flood zones can benefit from geological inspections. Drainage and ground-shifting issues can cause problems down the line, especially if you’re in a flood zone.

Mold

It’s important to check for moisture in basements, crawlspaces and any other below-ground-level areas. Moisture buildup can be an indicator of mold problems, which can cause or agitate allergy and skin issues. This is particularly important if you live in a wet area, such as near a body of water.

 

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