8 Things You Need to Know to Pass Your Home Inspection.
Almost all buyers hire a licensed home inspector to inspect the home they plan to purchase. They want to be sure that they won't be facing any costly repairs after the closing that they could have negotiated beforehand. Some repairs are minor, others more extensive. Some sellers have a "pre-inspection" of their home prior to putting it on the market so they can address these issues before they could become an issue and delay or cancel a closing. In fact, we are recommending sellers do this more frequently.
1. Damp, Wet or Crumbling Foundation
A home inspector will look to see if you have evidence of a wet or damp basement or crumbling that could indicate a crumbling or failing foundation. Some foundations in certain towns in Connecticut built in 1983 and beyond have crumbling foundations due to faulty concrete produced by a specific quarry in Northeast CT. Potential buyers are required to do a concrete inspection of your home with a licensed engineer or a CFSIC-certified home inspector in order to be able to access future funding, should the basement show signs of crumbling post-purchase. As a seller, if you suspect you have a basement issue, you can contact a structural engineer familiar with this issue to evaluate your basement and if warranted, give you a severity code rating. Furthermore, if you have had a previous inspection or attempted repairs, you must disclose this in the residential disclosures provided by your listing agent. The best source of information on the topic of crumbling basements is CFSIC. Concrete disclosures are now widely used for both sellers and buyers to deal with these types of issues.
2. Roof Problems
Repairs or Replacement should be noted in your disclosures. Water staining on your ceiling caused by a leak or ice damming in the winter will be noted by an inspector. Old and worn shingles will also be noted and the inspector will render an opinion on the remaining life expectancy of the roof .
3. Water or Plumbing Problems
The inspector will inspect for visible signs of leaking or clogs in your plumbing. Water discoloration and odor are also observed and can indicate an altered PH or high mineral content. Your water will be tested for potability and at the buyers request, radon and/or lead in the water.
4. Electrical Deficiencies
Your home should have at least 100 amp service. A home inspector will note all un-grounded plugs as a safety issue and fire hazard. You are required to have GFI outlets with 6 feet of water anywhere in your home. DIY electrical repairs and connections not to code will be deemed unsafe.
5. Furnace Condition
Replacing a furnace is a costly event. A typical life span for a furnace is 15 to 25 years. Inadequate heating in a home is usually the result of poor or insufficient insulation and an inefficient furnace. A clean furnace, without rust on the heat exchanger is usually viewed by the home inspector as having an acceptable life left in it. If you have cleaned your furnace annually be sure to make those records available if the oil company has not made that obvious by installing a service tag or some identifying sticker on the furnace to show the date of the last cleaning.
6. Masonry Work
The home inspector will visually inspect the chimney either by getting onto the roof or by using binoculars from the ground. Damage to a chimney can cause water & moisture penetration or a chimney that could collapse on the roof. Re-building and re-pointing the chimney may be required to if it is deemed beyond repair.
7. Damp Attic
Ventilation problems, insulation and vapor barriers can cause mold and mildew to form in the attic. This is the likeliest place that mold would be found in your home. If, upon inspection, you discover mold you should attempt to find the source of the moisture and cure the problem. This is something that will probably be asked of you by a buyer if it the home inspector notes this problem in his report.
8. Rotted Wood
Any wood surface such as decking, trim, door & window frames can also fall victim to moisture & old age. The home inspector will usually probe these surfaces for rot, including recently painted or stained ones.