Before purchasing a home, it is strongly advised to have it professionally inspected.
A professional will conduct a visual inspection of accessible systems and components of the home including:
- Structure and foundation
- Electrical systems
- Plumbing systems
- Roofs and Attics
- Basements and Crawl Spaces
- Gutters and Drainage
- Walls, Floors and Ceilings
- Porches and Decks
- Air Conditioning systems
- Plumbing Fixtures in Kitchens and Baths
- Water Heaters
- Windows and Doors
The inspector will go through the property and perform a comprehensive visual inspection to assess the condition of the house and its systems. Inspections are intended to provide the client with a better understanding of property conditions, as observed at the time of the inspection.
It is highly recommended that the purchaser plan to attend the inspection. An inspection may typically require about 2 to 3 hours depending on the size and age of the building. The inspector should provide a written report of the property’s condition.
Plumbing defects rank high among the house problems encountered, and include the existence of old or incompatible piping materials, as well as faulty fixtures and waste lines. Old water heaters may not be able to provide an adequate supply of hot water for a large family. Another consideration is the fact that lead piping was used once and may still be found in some old houses, as well, even new plumbing, if installed by an amateur may have been assembled with lead solder.
Roof leakage, caused by old or damaged shingles or improper flashing, is also a frequent problem. Find out how old a roof is and you'll have a good idea of when you will have to replace it. A tar and gravel roof is good for about 15 years, asphalt & wood shingles typically last 15 to 20 years.
Ventilation systems must also be carefully examined. A house can be made energy efficient but it must also breathe. "Over-sealing" will cause excessive interior moisture, allowing the growth of moulds, fungi and bacteria, creating an unhealthy environment for the home occupants.
Second only to water penetration in basements and crawl spaces, improper electrical wiring is one of the most common home defects. This includes such situations as insufficient electrical service to the house, inadequate overload protection, and amateur, often dangerous, wiring connections. If the electrical system has not been modernized, or if modernization was done by amateurs, a sizable expenditure may be anticipated.
Basement water infiltration is often the most common problem encountered in home inspections. Improper surface grading/drainage are responsible most of the times. If the soil around the foundation is saturated, the excess water will find its way into the basement through cracks in the walls and floor, or by seeping through untreated walls.
Gutters must be clear of debris so that the rainfall is not overflowing and running down the wall of the house. Downspouts should direct the runoff from the roof and discharge it well away from the foundation. If the downspout is not doing its job properly, water will pool up along the foundation wall and eventually find its way into the basement.
As you can see, before buying a property, it is best to get it professionally inspected.
To find a licensed inspector in your area, visit www.inspectionpreachat.org (site in French only).