Home Inspection Basics – Why You Need One And What It Covers
If you are planning to purchase of piece of Charlotte real estate, it is highly recommended (not mandatory) that you get a home inspection before making the decision whether or not to buy a particular property. The cost of a home inspection in the Charlotte NC area should set you back $450 or more depending on the type and size of the home you plan to purchase, but it’s worth every penny so don’t skip it! Buying a home is a big decision and you will want to make sure that the home you want to buy is in good condition.
The type of home inspections available vary depending on the type of property you intend to purchase. For example, a home inspection for a historic home will require a different type of home inspection than a brand new home would require. During a home inspection, a home inspector will check the various home components and systems and produce a written report for your review. We recommend that you meet with the home inspector during the home inspection and be prepared to ask questions about the condition of the property. Below is an overview of the home components and systems the home inspector will check during the inspection. For additional information about home inspection, visit the American Society of Home Inspectors.
Basic elements of a home inspection
Exterior: The exterior of a home includes, but is not limited to sidewalks, driveways, steps leading to the home (if any), windows, doors, siding (vinyl, brick, stone, wood, stucco, shingle, etc…) and any exterior structures such as porches, desks, balconies, detached garages and fences. If a septic system is present, the home inspector will briefly inspect the outside of the septic tank. If you wish to have a septic system fully inspected, you should hire the assistance of a company specializing in septic system inspections. Surface drainage will also be checked to determine if corrective actions are needed for proper drainage. Note that a home inspector will not inspect for termites, but may point out that a termite inspection should be performed to further investigate suspicious areas.
Structure: The home inspector will inspect the home structure, which includes the foundation and the framing. The home structure affects how the property stands up to weather, gravity and the earth. The home inspector will look for settlement cracks in the foundation and other issues that could indicate an that the home structure has been compromised.
Plumbing: The water supply, drainage systems, water heating equipment and fuel storage systems will be thoroughly inspected. Drainage and sump pumps are also included in the inspection. Rust spots, inadequate water pressure, corrosion and banging pipes could be an indication of a problem with the plumbing system.
Roof: To prevent water damage from rain and snow, a roof needs to be in good condition and leak-free. Flashing, roof drainage systems, shingles, gutters and downspouts, skylight and chimney will be inspected. Watch for loose shingles and flashing as they are the major source of water infiltration through the roof. To verify if water has penetrated through the roof, the attic will be inspected for signs of water damage. The home inspector should be able to determine the approximate age of the roof. Keep in mind that a good qualify roof should last between 20 and 25 years, so if you are buying a home that is 20 years old and the roof was never changed, try to negotiate the seller’s asking price down and be ready to invest in a new roof in the near future.
Heating: The heating system including the vent system, flues and chimneys will checked. You should try to determine the age of the water heater and ask the home inspector if the water heater size is adequate for the home. An under performing water heater is a guarantee that somebody in the house will be taking cold showers more often than desired!
Air Conditioning: A thorough inspection of the air condition system will be conducted to determine if there are issues preventing the air condition system from operating normally. The home inspector will check for leakage, as well as differential in temperatures between the thermostat and output from the vents.
Electrical: The electrical system of a home must comply with code requirements and be safe. The home inspector will check the entrance wires, service panels, breakers, fuses and disconnects. You personally should check the number of available outlets in each room. A bedroom without any outlet would be a major inconvenience.
Interior features: Inspecting the interior of the house will reveal plumbing leak, insect damage, rot, construction defects and other issues. The walls, ceilings, floors, steps, stairways, railings, counter tops, cabinets, garage doors and garage door systems, appliances, closets, ventilation and insulation, fireplaces and lights will be checked.
A home inspection will help you discover hidden defects with the home you wish to purchase. Keep in mind that no home is perfect and that home inspectors are paid to find issues. Even though a home inspection report may contain many items which in most cases can be repaired very easily and inexpensively.