Tips From a Home Inspector when looking at houses.

I realize there’s stress, excitement, confusion and exhaustion when you’re out and about trying to find your next home.

#1. It stinks if it’s raining cats and dogs, or it’s extremely cold or hot or in our case we had an early dose of snow. Use that to get a feel for how the house performs. At first you might not look for rain gutters but when you’re getting soaked standing outside the door you will. Watch to see if the rain washes away from the house and not towards the foundation. Look for frosted up windows on cold days or condensation dripping off the vent work by the furnace if the A/C has been running nonstop.

Early ice dams forming from the October snow at my daughters hone in Brainerd, Mn.

#2 When looking at a home pay attention to little details about the electrical. Are there missing faceplates on light switches and outlet receptacles or are they missing screws. Are there missing or unmatched screws in the electrical panel (breaker box) or open slots where breakers used to be? In the garage or under the deck are there wires twisted or hanging down? All these things are a clue that the home owner or a non electrician has probably been installing his own electrical or doing his own repairs. Licensed electricians do things “ The right way.” Everything that should be secured down is and done properly. No short cuts when installing new circuits or fixtures. Electricians take great pride in their work and hiring one if needed is money well spent.

#3 Checking the pipes. Plumbers, like Electricians, are professionals and after they put their tools back in their trucks take solace the problem is now gone. So what to look for? Under sinks, look for flexible white drain pipe Plumbers never use it. Check to see if there are stoppers in the sink and bathtubs or if they’re functional. Maybe a sign it’s old and corroded or maybe never installed in the first place. Something plumbers don’t do, they finish the job completely. Any green pipes? That’s moisture causing that. Does the water heater have a smorgasbord of materials and fittings connecting it? Again all clues and should be noted.

#4. When going though the interior check the curtain rods. Are there five more sets of holes where curtains used to be? If there’s newer laminate flooring check around doors that it’s under the trim and looks professional. Now a professional doesn’t have to install your flooring but there’s a right way and a fast way….you get what I mean. Sides of trim around doors and windows is there paint ? Sometimes many different colors, it’s another sign of the care people took when finishing off things. If they always slopped paint here what else have they rushed through?

#5. On the exterior my first suggestion is to walk a distance away from the house looking for loose or hanging siding, soffit or trim. Are the posts and railings on the deck straight? The roofing material ( shingles or metal) should all be the same type and running the same way.

Summing my random thoughts up here. Many of the things I’ve wrote about wouldn’t make it into a Home Inspection report. They would be considered cosmetic and nobody wants to read a 100 page report. They do however show the need to hire a professional Inspector to give you a report of solid facts to give you comfort and confidence in making a new home purchase. That rain water running towards the house ran down the basement wall and the foundation wall bows in 3 inches. The Home Inspector when looking at the wiring inside the service panel finds the homeowner used whatever wire he had to wire the new circuit and is dangerous. Water is the biggest threat to a home. From moisture in an attic from poor insulation and lack of ventilation to substandard plumbing practices that give you a surprise flooded basement. Home ownership means you are constantly up keeping the interior and exterior of your home. If no one been doing the upkeep, well it’ll be an uphill climb till your on top of it.

I’m Jeff Kahl from Your Place Inspections LLC. I can help you by doing a professional inspection on the home you want to purchase. You can come along and be at my side as we go through that house together. Email, text or call me Yourplaceinspections@gmail.com 715-931-8494

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