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Why is it important to do a property inspection before buying?

When purchasing a property, one of the most critical actions to address is the thorough inspection of the entire interior and exterior of the residence. Inspection helps to identify possible issues and evaluate the homes condition and prior maintenance as well as performance issues. As possibly the biggest investment a buyer will make, it’s important to have a qualified home inspector identify and examine all major house systems, from top to bottom, including the roof, plumbing, electrical and heating systems, foundation, and drainage as well as any unpermitted work that has been done. In addition to the inspection you should get a seller’s disclosure statement beforehand to utilize and to pinpoint any areas that require special attention. The value of a home is essentially tied to its performance and how well its maintained, so buyers should be fully aware of what they are buying before hand in the case that costly repairs, renovations need to be completed to add value.

Inspections are an integral part of the home-buying process but usually no home is completely pristine or exactly the way a buyer may want it. When a buyer prepares to have a property inspected it’s important to have a checklist that identifies the areas that will require examination. According to Zillow the following items should be considered in inspection:

Foundation: Look at the base of the walls and the ceilings in each room. Are there obvious cracks or apparent shifts in the foundation? Do the same around the outside. Are there any trees encroaching on the foundation?

Lot: Does the drainage appear to be away from the house? Are there any obvious soggy areas?

Roof: What is the overall condition? When was it last replaced?

Exterior: Does the house look like it will need repairs or repainting soon? Are gutters and downspouts firmly attached? Are there loose boards or dangling wires? Is there asbestos in the exterior material, which would require added costs if it needed to be repaired or replaced?

Attic: How does the interior of the roof structure look? Are there any signs of leaks?

Interior evidence of leaks: Check ceilings and around windows in each room.

Basement: Is there dampness? Adequate insulation? (If there’s a crawlspace instead of a basement, you might want to leave this for the professional home inspection.)

Electrical: Do the switches work? Are there any obvious malfunctions? Have the outlets been grounded? Is the panel updated and expandable for additional appliances or a potential remodel?

Plumbing: Any unusual noises or malfunctions? Has the sewer line been scoped to check for potential cracks?

Appliances: If these are included, what is the age and condition of the stove, dishwasher or refrigerator?

Heating/cooling system: Does it seem to do the job? How old is the furnace? If the system has been converted, are the old systems or tanks still in place?

Odor: Does the home smell? Can you detect what it might be and whether it could be fixed? Beware of musty odors which could signal a wet basement.

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