Before you sign papers to your first home, it's in your best interest to thoroughly inspect the home or have an inspector do it for you. A professional will be able to identify problems you may overlook with your potential home—and if so, what the cost of fixing them might be.
In fact, a thorough inspection will save you time, money, and frustration in the long run. What should one inspect before purchasing a home? A good inspector will check these items:
First, make sure the fundamental structures of the house are sturdy and intact.
Check for Mold
Mold can be harmless and easy to clean, but some kinds are extremely hazardous to the health of your family. It’s important to know about any potentially harmful mold in a house before you purchase. That being said, a good mold removal company can take care of it for you, and often if it is found, the homeowners are willing to rectify it before the purchase goes through.
Some places to make sure to look are:
Check for Hazardous Materials
Depending on when the house was built, hazardous materials may have been used in buildings that have not been removed. The most common culprits in old houses are asbestos and lead paint.
Asbestos was commonly used in insulation many years ago and still lingers in some older homes, usually in the attic. The risk of asbestos is that when you breathe in the tiny fibers, they have microscopic barbs that attach to your lungs. They can lay dormant for years before developing into lung cancer.
Once you know about asbestos in the home, you have two options. You can get it removed, which can be costly, or you can just leave it undisturbed, since it only presents a problem when it’s disturbed, then inhaled.
Lead paint is only harmful if ingested, but for a family with young children, that can pose a very real risk. It was banned in 1978, although some homes newer than that can have it as well. Homeowners are legally obligated to tell you if they are aware of the presence of lead paint in the home. If they aren’t sure, the inspector will be able to identify it.
Geographical Area Survey
Being aware of what type of land the house is built on can circumvent potential issues before they arise. Some of the geographical issues to find out are:
If the house is in town, the water is most likely up to code, but it is still worth making sure.
Rural houses are a different story! Does the house have a cistern with hauled water, a dugout, or a well? All of these should be inspected thoroughly, and the water quality tested to rule out the presence of harmful elements.
It’s also a good idea to become familiar with the plumbing system on a rural property, so you know what to expect when a problem arises in the future.
The goal when getting your house inspected is not to have a problem-free inspection report, as those are almost impossible! The important thing is to have the information in front of you so that you can decide if the issues that need fixing are worth it for your situation. It also helps you prepare for your future in the house and what you can expect to fix, maintain, or keep an eye on to avoid issues down the road.
Most items found during the inspection are not make or break issues and can be corrected simply by replacing an appliance or hiring a professional. With just a little bit of due diligence now, you can soon be comfortably living in your new home!