When it comes to your home, it’s important to get all of the details. You want a place that looks and feels like home – and a space where you can feel safe and secure for years to come.
For buyers, that’s what a home inspector brings to the table. Your home inspector will be an objective eye, providing an impartial and experienced look into one of the biggest purchases you will likely ever make.
It’s important to keep in mind that when buying or updating your home, what you see isn’t necessarily always going to be what you get. As your eyes are drawn to the antique fireplace and beautiful molding, you may end up missing what lies beneath. Many homes contain shortcomings that the average homebuyer won’t be able to see, from hazardous cracks in the foundation, to old and malfunctioning plumbing, to bad electrical wiring. We could go on.
At Windy City Home Inspection, Inc., our home inspectors don’t just provide reports, but also education. Our visual evaluation will provide a solid foundation of knowledge about your home’s components and systems. In addition to reporting any deficiencies or potential failures, our home inspector will include maintenance tips and other information to help you protect your investment.
Along the way, we can help give you the knowledge you need to make an informed decision – including helping you to prioritize maintenance and updates. In most cases, inspections will uncover both major and minor issues. Some severe problems will need to be addressed immediately, and some you may be able to relegate to the backburner.
With that being said, remember that every part of a home inspection is important. But there are some areas that will demand more focus than others. In our experience, here are a few inspection items that deserve immediate attention and concern from buyers, as well as a few that are more minor, in many cases:
The Most Serious Home Inspection Items
Broadly speaking, your inspector and real estate broker will highlight the most major home inspection findings and problem areas on your report. These are the sort of significant issues that may impact your decision to purchase a home, or could influence how much you may be responsible for out-of-pocket after negotiating remedies with the seller. A few common examples may include…
- Water Damage & Disbursement
One area where buyers should pay a lot of attention? When left untreated, water leaks and damage can cause issues to the structure and foundation of your home, create rot and mold, and result in costly fixes down the line. Your inspector will look out for common problems, including evaluating the grading and sloping around the property, which could lead to wet basements, crawlspaces, and rot in the foundation and walls.
- Foundation Issues
The structural integrity of the home is closely tied to its foundation. You want a home that will be safe and stable. As a result, foundation issues should be high on your inspection list. They can be costly, and ultimately prove to be a major hurdle for homebuyers. If there are problems or issues with your home’s foundation, it’s important to get them up to code immediately.
- Problems With Roof/Roofing Materials
Your roof is one of the most important protections your home has. This spot works hard to keep the systems of your home high and dry. As your roof ages, it can degrade. This might lead to water intrusion, which can ultimately force you to deal with costly repairs down the line. Like the foundation, roofing needs to be brought up to par immediately. It’s an expense today that could save you from an even bigger payout down the road.
- Electrical Wiring
Faulty electrical wiring can cause your appliances to perform poorly – and even more importantly, they can cause electrical fires, a serious safety hazard. Some more “old school” wiring systems may need to be replaced. In other cases, electrical systems that are poorly designed or no grounded properly could lead to unexpected shocks, or worse.
Many of us take our plumbing elements for granted, until something goes wrong. Some of the most common defects in plumbing systems are leaks; in other cases, these systems can be old, outdated, or inefficient. To prevent further damage and keep your home comfortable, it may prove important to repairs quickly. Sometimes, a complete overhaul of the plumbing solution may be the most effective solution to avoid further costs and damage.
- Heating and Cooling Systems (HVAC)
Remember that heating, ventilation, and cooling systems (HVAC) are a critical part of a home inspection. After all, heating and cooling generally make up about half of your energy bill, so ensuring that all of your systems are working efficiently is crucial. The inspection will consider the age of the system and maintenance history, the location of an indoor unit (and/or outdoor unit), the type of refrigerant, and the design and functionality of ducts, vents, and so on.
The More Minor Home Inspection Items:
As the old saying goes: “Don’t sweat the small stuff!” Here are some of the home inspection findings that won’t prove to be “make or break,” for most homeowners:
- Easily and Affordably Remedied Items
Something like a non-working GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlet in the bathroom or kitchen may seem scary to a new home buyer, but something like this can be replaced with a twenty-dollar purchase at your local hardware store, and twenty minutes of an experienced handyperson’s time. Don’t let these small items sour your excitement.
- Minor Damage
A few tiles missing from the kitchen floor? One hanging exterior gutter? One or two fixtures that are aged past their prime? A single faulty window seal? In most cases, these minor repairs can be relatively inexpensive – and perhaps even manageable via DIY methods.
- Cosmetic Landscaping or Yard Problems
A few overgrown bushes in the yard? They may not be to your taste, but they don’t pose a risk to your home. Landscaping is very particular and personal, and it’s expected that most homeowners will make the yard and garden their own. Unless there is a pressing issue (such as a tree that poses a substantial risk to the home, for example), landscaping is something that buyers and sellers won’t normally negotiate on.
About Windy City Home Inspection
At Windy City Home Inspection, Inc., we perform inspections to the highest standards – yours. Backed by a consulting team with more than 60 years of experience, Windy City Home Inspection is committed to excellence. Have a question? Let us help.