By Anica Oaks
When you fall in love with a house to buy, don't rush to sign the purchase agreement. First, take time to get a professional inspection. This will help you to find out about any problems you might have to negotiate with the seller or take care of after the purchase.
A home cannot survive without a stable foundation. The structural support of a solid base is critical to maintaining the house's integrity along with all its attached features, such as a garage or patio. A professional home inspector will determine whether the foundation is solid and secure both inside and outside. Crumbling mortar, gaps or deteriorating blocks are warning signs that the structure may start to lean or shift. If the ground slopes toward the foundation, that means water runoff could collect around your home and seep into the structure.
Basement and Attic
Inside, the basement should be looked at for any suspicious moisture or mold growth. The floor, whether dirt or concrete, should be intact without signs of damage or erosion. Beams in the basement ceiling will be evaluated for indications of termites or other destructive pests. For an expert evaluation, contact pros like those at 1-800 BusyDog Basement Technologies for a comprehensive analysis. Sweating walls could suggest a problem that will need further investigation. Likewise, the attic will be examined for evidence of dry rot, dampness, roof leaks and pest infiltrations.
A home's water lines need to be evaluated to ensure they are in good condition and aren't leaking anywhere, including at the joints. The drains should be clear and free of debris. Water stains or wet spots on the home's ceilings, walls or floors will need to be assessed for possible interior, unseen damage from a water leak due to problems with the plumbing or coming from outside due to leaks in the home's siding or roof.
The heating and cooling system should be in good working order and preferably not very old. An inspection of both systems will reveal whether they are fully operational or will need to be replaced within the next few years. You might check the current owner's utility bills to see if the systems are energy efficient, and if not, you may want to consider installing new ones.
The roof is another area to be examined carefully since repairs or replacements are costly. Have the home inspector check for missing or damaged roofing elements as well as any problems with the gutters or downspouts. The chimney should be checked to ensure it is working properly and in good condition.
A knowledgeable home inspector can help you determine the best price for the home you want and point out issues you will have to consider. Get a full report before making your final purchase offer on the home.