How to Make Your House Pass a Home Inspection

Buying a new home is the single most important purchase most of us will ever make in our lives. Most prospective home buyers, therefore, want to make sure that everything in the house works perfectly, so that they will not be saddled with expensive bills later. A leaky roof, inadequate plumbing, or faulty wiring can definitely prevent you from selling your home. By performing a pre-inspection yourself, you can avoid paying dearly to fix these problems later. Building inspectors are trained to look for as many as 33 possible physical problems with your home.

Here is a list of the 10 most common issues, and what you can do to prevent them from getting in the way of selling your home:

1. Check for defective plumbing.

Leaks and clogs will usually inform an inspector that there is a larger problem at hand. Usually, the building inspector will determine how strong the water pressure is in a home by turning on all the faucets and then flushing a toilet. If the inspector can hear the sound of running water, that means the pipes in the house are undersized. And if the water is dirty when it first comes out, that usually means that some of the pipes are rusting, which means that there are serious problems with the quality of the water.

2. Check for adequate  security features.

While a monitored security system can definitely add value to your home, most building inspectors are concerned with basic features such as adequate locks and deadbolts on doors and windows, and working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in every bedroom and on every level of your house.

3. Check for inadequate electrical wiring.

The minimum amount of electrical service for your home should be 100 amps, which should be clearly marked at the circuit breakers. In addition, all wiring must be copper or aluminum. Using multi-outlet adapters, often referred to as “octopus plugs,” may indicate to a building inspector that the circuits in your home are defective or inadequate, and could pose a fire hazard.

4. Check your heating and cooling systems.

Poor heating in your home can be caused by inadequate insulation, or a faulty furnace. Check to see if your furnace is clean inside, and that the heat exchange is not rusty. Typically a furnace needs to be replaced every 15 to 25 years, so check to see if your heating system has outlived its useful lifespan. Heating issues are treated very seriously by building inspectors, since a crack in a heat exchanger in a forced-air gas system can leak deadly carbon monoxide into your home. Heat exchangers cannot be repaired if they are damaged...they must be replaced immediately.

5. Check your roof for damage or leaks.

Damage to a roof can be caused by the physical deterioration of the shingles, or by severe weather conditions. One of the first things a building inspector will look for is evidence of water damage on your walls and ceilings, especially if they have been painted over. Also, you will need to check your rain gutters to see if they are operating properly. A clogged rain gutter could make water flow into your walls, causing serious damage.

6. Check for a damp attic.

Water and moisture can wreak havoc in your attic, causing such problems as mold, mildew or premature wear to the roof. Repairing water damage to your ventilation systems, vapor barriers and insulation can cost as much as $2500.

7. Check for rotting wood.

Building inspectors are trained to check for rotting wood conditions in doors, window frames, siding, trim and decks, especially if these areas have been recently repainted.

8. Check for faulty masonry work.

Damage to masonry in your home can cause serious problems, such as allowing excessive moisture into your home, or allowing a chimney to crumble and damage your home. While rebricking can be expensive, fixing these problems before they become serious can help you prevent much more expensive damage later.

9. Check for unsafe or overfused electrical circuits.

If more amperage is drawn on a circuit than it was designed for, a fire hazard can occur. Typically, 15 amp circuits are used in homes, with larger service designed for bigger appliances such as washers and dryers. It can be costly to replace a fuse panel with a circuit panel.

10. Check for structural or foundation problems.

One of the first things a building inspector will check is to see that the foundation and footing of your home is strong and secure and without damage. The structural integrity of your home is the inspector’s priority.  By checking on these concerns before you put your house up for sale, you will avoid excessive repair costs, not to mention embarrassment!

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