Home inspections are an integral part of a home buying or selling process. A home inspection and report done by an accredited home inspector may cause a buyer to back out of the deal especially if issues presented are major.
Most sellers have lived in the home for some many years and have done upgrades to suit their needs and most were done without permits. And they put it on the market without having a pre- inspection and now deal after deal falls through, because too many issues come up in an inspection
Realtors and sellers like to get a home sold quickly hence it is important issues found in a home inspection can be fixed before the home goes on MLS. No one likes a deal to go sour.
A pre-inspection is the best bet as the home inspector will inspect your home and point out areas of concern and give a report and pictures of all the issues observed. If you are the seller, you can then decide which issues that you need to repair. You will be surprised that most issues can be easily fixed. It will also give the seller enough time to source for contractors to repair things beforehand.
Many sellers refuse do a get a pre-inspection done, it’s the usual excuse- why should I pay for an inspection? I’m selling not buying. Well, you’ve read this saying many times “penny wise and pound foolish”
Whether you want to get a pre – inspection or not, it’s good to be aware of some common issues found in home inspections. If you want to Do It Yourself, go through the list below. If you are a Mr Fix it, you can save time and money if you plan ahead to complete the repairs before listing your home with a Realtor.
SOME OF THE MOST COMMONLY FOUND ISSUES:
Number one on the list is are electrical issues reported by Home Inspectors. All electrical receptacles should be wired correctly. Reverse polarity, open grounds are very commonly detected. GFCI’s are now recommended as upgrades near water sources (i.e. kitchen sinks, bathrooms and exterior- just to name a few) . All electrical outlets and switches should work properly. Replace burnt out light bulbs and make the home look presentable before showing starts.
Your home may have an older electrical panel which may need to be upgraded to meet current safety standards. Missing screws on electrical panel indicate work has been done and panel tampered with- which may present a red flag on an inspection report. Remember – electrical panel boxes should only be opened and repaired by a licensed electrician – who has applied for a permit to do so.
All electrical work should only be completed by a licensed electrician.
Plumbing and Moisture Issues
Fix those small leaks, loose faucets and shower heads before listing. If yours is a rental property – good idea to look under kitchen and bathroom sinks to see if there are any active leaks and damage caused. Even if you are not selling, you still need to get it fixed -right?
Plumbing and moisture issues can be nerve racking as most people relate moisture to MOLD. And that is always a DEAL KILLER.
Microbial growth can colonize very quickly under the right conditions and remediation can be an expensive fix. If you smell those “musty odors” and unable to determine the source, get an Indoor Air Quality Testing to ensure you do not have any MOLD issues.
Unless you are competent in plumbing, you should get local plumber to complete such work. Home Inspectors will note when DIY work is done and depending on your sale, you might be tasked to get this professionally redone.
As a seller, you are required to fill the Property Disclosure Statement by your Realtor. A PDS can reduce the chance of a misunderstanding by allowing sellers to advise buyers about the condition of the property. If you don’t disclose past water damage, and the Home Inspector finds it, the potential buyers may think that are more skeletons buried in the closet (meaning you are hiding things).
If your water heater is more than 12 years old and still working – disclose it. Do the right thing- if there is water damage, repair it and disclose it.
You want to sell and move on.
Roof, Exterior drainage and landscaping
You have a roof with moss/algae? Looks like it not been cleaned in a long time.
Damaged/loose gutters/downspouts? Overflowing? Planters and storage clocking the foundation wall?
Mildew on the sidings? Time to clean it honey- that what the wife is gonna say for sure.
The more the Home Inspector points out, the bigger the headache becomes – literally.
Boiler, Furnace or Electric Heat
When was the last time you got your boiler serviced? See rust on your pipes? Flushed those pipes before?
You need to get those certified by a licensed HVAC Technician.
Older furnace but works well in your opinion? Ensure it has been serviced. Filter and surroundings should be kept clean. Keep all records.
Boiler and furnaces should be operational at time of inspection.
If your home has electric heat- test all baseboards/wall heaters are working. Repair or replace damaged baseboard fins
Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detectors
BC Fire law passed in 2010 state that your home needs to have working smoke alarms. Home Inspectors may note older detectors that need to be replaced or batteries that have been taken out.
Ensure you have smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors on every floor. These are really inexpensive but life savers.
It’s a good idea to get these detectors tested often. If these are not working anymore- get them replaced. You can pick the newer types from Home Depot or Canadian Tire
Windows should open and close properly. Some windows have never been opened and may be stiff.
Dirt around the window must be cleaned. If you have black stuff around the windows that looks like MOLD, it may be dirt that needs to be cleaned and room ventilated.
Windows should be caulked from the outside and inside. If the caulking is hard and flaky it time to re -caulk.
No one likes cracked windows, some people are superstitious. Replace cracked windows as they present a safety hazard. If your windows are foggy, it means the seals are damaged and should be replaced.
You do not want the potential buyers to ask you to replace the damaged windows or even ask for price reduction. That can be frustrating
Adjust stiff doors and replace any damaged doors and handles. The hinges on closet doors should open and close properly. Weather stripping around the doors should be replaced if old or worn out
When was the last time you re-grouted your shower tiles? If the enclose looks discolored, get a tiling contractor to professionally re-grout and re-caulk and shower area. If the bathroom floor is stained or shows darkened spots- it is time to fix it.
With a moisture meter, an accredited Home Inspector can easily pick up moisture behind the shower stall.
Clean or vacuum the bathroom fan- if it is noisy, replace or disclose in the PDS
Peter is an accredited and experienced home inspector serving Vancouver and the Lower Mainland. He is also a Certified Level 1 Thermographer and Indoor Air Quality Inspector. Visit his website for more info