Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Home Inspection Pt 4

In the previous posts about home inspections, I discussed a lot of the typical business aspects, how to choose your inspector, what t o expect etc.  

I had left off with a quick discussion of the roof inspection.  As I continue to work on the exterior, I'll examine the gutters, downspouts, look at the siding etc.  Many times it's important to view the vegetation around the house; trees and shrubs can add to the ailments of a home if overgrown or placed poorly.  A good inspector might mention that that beautiful old tree may be a few years from needing a very expensive removal.

Grading around the house will also receive scrutiny as it can contribute to basement and foundation moisture problems.  The Garages and sheds will get thorough inspections of all components during the exterior inspections.  

Once on the inside, most inspectors set up shop in the kitchen.  From there, we'll head out to the attic, living spaces, and basement.  Furnaces will be run, hot water tanks will be examined, as well as air conditioners, and filters etc.  A note about air conditioners.  The outside temperature must have remained above approx. 62 degrees for the previous 24 hours to safely test a central air unit.  There is oil in the system that can thicken in cooler temperatures, and if run at temps below 62 degrees F the system can be "slugged"  causing damage.   

It's fairly common to recommend cleaning and further evaluation, as it seems most people just don't take care of their furnaces.  I can't tell you how many filthy filters I see.  Such a simple performance and health effecting component to maintain, and yet they're not (so stop reading and check that filter!  Mark the install date with a Sharpy!)

Inspectors need to access the attic.  If they can fit, and the space is safe, ie. no possible asbestos, raccoon, etc, then they need to get inside.  On some houses, much can be seen from the access holes, and that may suffice.

Same applies to the roof.  If it's safe to walk, then I walk it.  Some roofs aren't safe- the pitch is too steep, it's wet, shingles are loose, slate and wood shakes can't be walked.  If I can't walk the roof, I use binoculars and really take my time looking.  If possible, I ask for any documentation on the roof.   Many homeowners will display everything they've spent money on, which is great for the buyers knowledge.

Be sure to understand the things the inspector is telling you.  I ask clients to tell me if I'm talking above or below them.  I want you to know and understand.  It's typical for me to make a lot of sketches to illustrate comments.  

In the next post, I'll talk about what happens at the end of the inspection.  This is another very important time for everyone involved to understand what has been reported.


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  2. A good inspector might mention that that beautiful old tree may be a few years from needing a very expensive removal. Now I know, thanks for this good information.-home inspectors Manhattan-

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