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Buying your first home? Ensure that you have an inspection checklist

When it comes to judging the value and condition of a home, it is essential to thoroughly investigate the house by using a home inspection checklist. With the use of a home inspection checklist, you can identify major areas in need of attention and improvement to make sure the home provides the best value possible. It’s important to note that home inspections normally do not include certain hazards that require a specific license to investigate and identify, including asbestos, lead paint, toxic mold and pest control. To help you better understand the home inspection process, we’ve provided an overview of what components are common in such a procedure. Remember that it’s always best to contact professionals like us to get your home inspection done the right way, so you don’t miss any major flaws that could cost you gravely later on in the future.

Basic procedure

The first place to start is usually the exterior of the home. A common strategy is to work around the house clockwise or counter clockwise, and visually scan the outside of the house from top to bottom, in a systematic way that ensures no area goes unchecked. After looking through the exterior for problems, the interior follows suit. Many investigators will begin at the bottom in the basement or first floor and work their way up, checking floors, walls, and then the ceiling of each room. Appliances and other items within the room are also inspected. No door should go unopened or unchecked. Furnaces, hot water heaters, electrical panels, plumbing systems and other infrastructure must all be checked. Electrical outlets, switches, fireplaces, closets and other features are all important to inspect.

Going beyond

Rotaru Building Consultants goes above and beyond industry standard, we test all of your interior and exterior walls for moisture concentration. Our analysis of the building/property issues is based not only on the exterior and interior conditions of the home but also the connection between two. Having the latest technology on the market available, Rotaru Building Consultants is able to provide a realistic evaluation of the property’s true condition quickly and efficiently.

Problems to watch for

There is a vast array of problems that an inspection needs to keep careful watch for.

The roof. Is there sagging in the roof, or is it straight and level? Check between the rafters and trusses for sagging. Make sure the shingles of the roof are not in poor condition, showing rotting, warping, breaking or wearing. The roof must be sturdily connected to the wall and cannot show looseness. Are there roof vents or openings that shouldn’t be present? Chimneys. If the house has a chimney, make sure it isn’t cracking or broken. Bricks should not be flaking or missing, and all mortar should be intact. The chimney should not be leaning.

Gutters and downspouts. It’s important to make sure there aren’t leaks or broken sections. They should always direct water away from the foundation. Check wall coverings for rotting or absent siding, and make sure it conceals the foundation wall. There should be no missing mortar. Windows and doors must be intact and sturdy, check for proper waterproofing at glazing and wood frame connections of the window panes.

If there are decks or porches, always check for rotting and contact with earth. Always check the underside of the deck or porch if possible. Make sure the foundation looks solid. There should be no deformities like bowing or bulging, check foundation for cracks. Modern inspectors have the way of scanning foundation if needed. Driveways should have minimal or no cracks and always slope away from the home, check for proper drainage of the driveway. Basements should be free from water penetration and mould. Floors should not slope or sag, and should be free from water damage, check moisture concentration on floors especially in basement areas or areas below level of the ground.

Walls should not show physical damage and the inner wall should not be exposed. Check for fire rating compliance especially between garage and living space. Similarly, the ceiling should not have cracks of sagging parts. Stains or visual damage can indicate the need for repair. The kitchen and bathrooms should have secure fixtures and all tubs and showers should be properly tiled and caulked to prevent leaks, all grout lines must be sealed and waterproofed. Faucets also should not leak and water pressure needs to be sufficiently strong. Check below countertops for rotting and make sure all the cabinets and drawers work with ease. Heating and cooling systems are crucial to check. Find out if they were recently inspected and serviced or not. Check for corrosion, rust and other wear and tear. All visible wiring should be in good condition. All wires must terminate safely inside electrical boxes.

Remember, these are just some basic examples. Always call professionals like us if you want to ensure nothing gets missed. Every house is different, and calls for a professional eye that knows what to look for in each case (image courtesy of City of Hamilton).

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