Buying a Home
Buying a home can be one of your most significant investments in life. Not only are you choosing your dwelling place, and the place in which you will bring up your family, retire to, or age in place, you are most likely investing a large portion of your assets into this venture. The more prepared you are, the less overwhelming and chaotic the buying process will be. The goal of this page is to provide you with detailed information to assist you in making an intelligent and informed decision. Remember, if you have any questions about the process, I'm only a phone call or email away!
Inspections are designed to help you understand the overall condition of a property, potentially saving you considerable time with the purchase process and hundreds or thousands of dollars in repairs. You can request a home inspection after making an offer on a property, and if major issues arise, you can get out of the contract within a given time period. Some of the inspections which may be required or recommended by your real estate professional are:
Standard Home Inspection - The areas which may be covered include lot and grounds, roofs, exterior surfaces, garage/carport, structure, attic, basement, crawl space, electrical, heating and air conditioning systems, plumbing, fireplace/wood burning devices, and appliance condition. Remember that your inspection rights are clearly stated in the Contract For Sale and vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In some cases homes can be sold "as-is" even though an inspection may take place.
Radon Inspection - Radon levels are detected and measured. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that between 15,000 - 22,000 deaths per year result from radon exposure, therefore they recommend that all homes be tested for radon. EPA recommends that homes containing 4.0 or more Pico Curies per liter be remedied.
Termite Inspection - A termite inspector will inspect the property for the presence of wood-destroying insects (WDI) or wood destroying organisms (WDO, i.e. fungus) and conducive conditions that exist. Inspection requirements vary by state.
Lead Paint Inspection - Painted surfaces of a home can be evaluated to determine the presence of lead paint. Homes that were constructed before 1978 may contain lead-based paint. Lead exposure can be harmful to young children, babies, as well as adults. Children with lead in their bodies can suffer from damage to the brain and nervous system, behavior and learning problems, slowed growth, hearing problems, and headaches.
On-Site Waste System Evaluation - If the property contains a septic system, an evaluation is performed by an on-site waste management professional. It involves accessing the cover of the septic tank to examine the fluid level inside the septic tank. The tank is then pumped to check the condition of the tank and its baffles. The leaching field is probed to check the level of sub-surface liquid waste (effluent). This test alerts the buyer to a wide range of potentially costly septic system repairs or failures. This inspection and pumping step is most often paid by the Seller.
Pool/Hot Tub Inspection - Determines the overall condition and operability of a pool and/or hot tub's equipment. Additionally, the condition of the pool deck will be inspected for deterioration and/or other noticeable defects.
Private Well Flow and Potability Inspection - Designed to determine whether or not a private well adequately supplies water to the house. Samples are sent to a lab for potability (drinkability) analysis.
Stucco Siding Inspection - There are two types of stucco siding to be aware of: cement-based "traditional" stucco and synthetic stucco. An inspection of the siding's application according to manufacturer's installation specifications is recommended. Synthetic stucco siding is commonly referred to as Exterior Insulated Finish System (EIFS).
In considering a home with stucco exterior, we recommend an inspection be conducted to determine the condition of the siding.
Synthetic stucco is predominately found in the Southeast but it is present in homes in other areas of the country as well.
Hidden structural damage has been documented in synthetic stucco homes in 34 states.
Moisture readings are taken to determine if the system has already experienced water intrusion.
Underground Storage Tank (UST) Inspection - The most common methods for testing a UST, typically used to store oil for heating homes, are either the soil test or vacuum test. The soil test consists of random core samples taken around the location of the tank and submitting them for lab analysis. This will determine if any product has contaminated the soil at that particular area and to what extent. The vacuum test consists of having a technician seal off and place the tank under a vacuum. Readings are periodically taken to determine whether or not the tank is losing its vacuum. With this test immediate results are available for the buyers.
Since USTs are predominately made of metal they rust and corrode over time, causing hazardous materials to contaminate soil and potentially aquifers that supply drinking water to surrounding communities.
The majority of UST problems occur in the northeastern states due to the older properties located there.
Obtaining the proper inspections for a home prior to purchase is one of the best ways to make a smart purchase decision and protect your investment. The above is not meant to be an exhaustive list of all of the types of inspections that may be necessary on a particular home, but it is meant to provide general information on some of the most common types of inspections.
Obtaining the proper inspections for a home prior to purchase is one of the best ways to make a smart purchase decision and protect your investment.