Preliminary Home Inspection

by Dual Income No Kids on August 13, 2008 · 0 comments

Hi Folks,

A friend of my was looking for what things to look for on a preliminary inspection of a place you are interested in. Here is the best of what I found in my research. Also keep in mind to check exterior issues when buying a condo or coop, as you will be liable for part of these expenses as well.

Exterior
Work your way around the perimeter looking at structural integrity – roof, chimney, gutters, exterior wall (brick, aluminum, wood), windows & doors.

Look at railings, porches, and decks down to the foundations.

Examine any outdoor features such as flower beds, walkway’s, interlocking brick, and driveways.

Repeat this for all sides of the house, both up close and from a distance.

Interior
Start with basement and work your way up in a systematic manner.

Examine walls, ceilings, and floors.

Check all appliances and fixtures.

Check the furnace, hot water heater, electrical panel, plumbing system, etc.

Examine the inside of windows, A/C units, heating, electrical outlets and switches, fireplaces, closets etc.

In bathroom or kitchen, notice the floor, walls and ceiling, then the plumbing fixtures.

Checking the Condition

While performing the inspection, whether at the exterior, the interior or one of the mechanical systems, note the system first, then its relative condition. For example, if you were inspecting a wall on the interior of the home you would first note that the wall is plaster, and then examine the wall for cracks and irregularities.

These tips are condensed from the American Home Inspection Directory, so you can check out their site for the full spelled out details.

Below are the best sections of the website, including what questions to ask and a checklist to take with you:

ROOF

Libertyville roofing suggests checking the following:
Is the ridge (peak) showing a sag, or is it straight and level?
Is the roof sagging between the rafters or trusses?
Are there any signs of deterioration of asphalt shingles, such as curling, wasping, broken edges, rounded corners or key holes (slits) becoming wider that normal?
Any loose flashing’s, at the chimney, roof-to-wall connection or elsewhere?
Does the wooden roof deck appear rotten or delaminate under the last row of shingles?
Are there any roof vents visible?

CHIMNEYS
Is the masonry cap cracked or broken?
Are any bricks flaking or missing? Mortar missing?
Is the chimney leaning?

SOFFIT’S AND FASCIA
Note whether the soffit and fascia are wood, aluminum or plastic
Any loose or missing sections?
If wood, are there any paint problems? Any visible rot?

GUTTERS AND DOWNSPOUT’S
Ensure gutters slope down toward downspout’s
Any rust or peeling paint?
Apparent leaks or loose/sagging sections?
Are the downspout’s extended away from the foundations?

WALL COVERINGS
Look for missing mortar
Are the bricks flaking or cracking?
Look for loose, missing or rotten siding, deteriorated paint.>
Does the siding appear new? Does it hide the foundation wall?
Exterior walls bowed, bulged or leaning?

WINDOWS AND DOORS
Look for problems with paint or caulking, and rotted wood components.
Are the windows new or older? Are they the original windows? How old are they?

PORCHES AND DECKS
Cracking or flaking masonry?
Check for paint problems, rotted wood, and wood-earth contact.
Note any settlement or separation from the house.
Inspect the underside, if accessible.

FOUNDATIONS
Check for cracks, flaking or damaged masonry.
Note any water markings and efflorescence (whitish, chalky substance)
Any bowing, bulging or other irregularities?
Soft mortar?

LOT AREA
Does the grade slope away from the house?
Any settled/low areas next to the foundation, or cracked walks/driveway?
Is the property lower than the street or neighboring properties?

BASEMENT
Note any evidence of water penetration (stains, mildew/odors, efflorescence, loose tiles etc.)

FLOORS
Check for deteriorated coverings or cracked ceramics.
Any water staining or other damage?
Sloping or sagging?

WALLS
Randomly sample to check that the windows and doors work.
Are the walls straight vertically and horizontally?
Look for cracked or loose plaster.
Look for stains, physical damage or previous repair evidence.
Any drywall seams or nails showing?

CEILINGS
Check for cracks in the plaster or loose, sagging plaster.
Look for stains, mechanical damage or evidence of previous repair.
Seams or nails showing?

BATHROOMS AND KITCHENS
Check that all fixtures are secure.
Are there any cracks in the fixtures?
Note the condition of the tiles and caulking in the tub/shower area.
Are the faucets working? Do they leak? Sufficient water pressure?
Look for staining and rot under the counter-tops
Randomly sample the operation of the cabinet doors and drawers.

ELECTRO-MECHANICAL CONSIDERATIONS
Type, style and age of heating & cooling systems. When were they last inspected or serviced?
Type of water supply piping and drains – any visible rust and corrosion?
Size and age of electrical service – are the outlets grounded? Visible wiring in good condition?
Have there been any upgrades?

 

THE HOME INSPECTION CHECKLIST

Address:___________________________________________________

Style__________ Construction__________ Reno?__________ #BR_____ #Bath _____

ITEM NOTES Good Avg. Suspect Poor
ROOF
CHIMNEY
SOFFIT/FASCIA
GUTTERS
CLADDING BRICK
WOOD
VINYL
WINDOWS WOOD
METAL
PLASTIC
DOORS WOOD
METAL
DECKS
PORCHES
LOT AREA
HEATING FAG FAO FAE AGE
AC/HEAT PUMP Y N AGE
WATER G O E
EBB
PLUMBING COPPER
GALVANIZED
LEAD
HWT G O E AGE
ELECTRICAL CO AL
60 100 200
PLUGS
FIXTURES
FLOORS CARPET
HARDWOOD
VINYL
CERAMIC
WALLS DRYWALL
PLASTER
WOOD/PANELING
CEILINGS DRYWALL
PLASTER
WOOD/PANELING
BATHROOMS FIXTURES
TUB AREA
KITCHEN FIXTURES
APPLIANCES
CABINETS
COUNTERS
FIREPLACES
SKYLIGHTS
FOUNDATIONS
BASEMENT FINISHED
DAMPNESS
ATTIC
OTHER

Please keep in mind that these are good things to inspect before you hire an inspection, so you don’t waste time and money on a place that doesn’t warrant further looking in to.

Good luck house hunting!

Miel

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