Home inspections are a must when buying a home. It’s easy to see the things on the surface that needs fixed, but it’s the things in the walls, in the attic, on the roof, and in the crawl space that aren’t so obvious. Home inspectors look “under the hood”, so to speak, to discover any hidden problems.
Once the home inspector completes the inspection, they write a report of what they’ve found. It’s important that buyers realize no home is perfect, and everything on that report doesn’t have to be repaired for this to be a great house.
I ask buyers to focus in on the sexy six – the big ticket maintenance issues. These are structural issues, HVAC, roofing, plumbing, electric, and extreme health and safety issues. If problems in these areas are non-existent or the seller takes care of them, the other small things on the home inspection report are easy for the buyer to handle themselves.
Sexy Six Inspection Items
Structural Issues: The most common structural issues are the foundation, floor framing, wall framing, bearing walls, and beams. These are important issues for the seller to take care of before the sale is finalized.
HVAC: Regular maintenance of a home’s HVAC helps extend it’s life. Since HVAC systems are expensive, it’s always important to make sure the currrent system is working effectively and well maintained.
Roofing: Roofs have a long life, but can incur damage from storms that shorten it’s life. Sometimes it’s hard to see the damage from ground level. Again, this is a big expense, so it’s important to make sure the roof is still in great shape.
Plumbing: The older the home, the more likely it will have plumbing issues. Plumbing issues become apparent when living in the home, but prior to that, an inspector will discover these issues for you. Since some repairs require the ground to be dug up for repairs in pipes under the yard or house, this is another big issue the seller needs to handle.
Electrical: Again, these issues are most often found in older homes. The most common electrical issues found are exposed wiring and splices: wires spliced or taped together and not in a junction box; or an uncovered junction box, exposing the wires. These are dangerous, requiring correction by a licensed electrician.
Health and safety issues: Heath and safety issues include things like the presence of mold, any electrical problems, active leaking from plumbing, tripping hazards such as loose steps, absent or loose railings for a staircase. These issues can also be broken windows, missing water heater, electrical wires exposed, no heat, windows painted shut, bar on outside of windows with no escape lever in case of a fire, and more. All of these are important repairs to the buyer.
After reading through these, it’s easy to see why these are really important, but may also be expensive for the seller. The inspector will also mention lots of routine maintenance items on the report. Those are ongoing maintenance items that the buyer will need to keep up with for the future, not something the seller needs to do before the sale closes.
By focusing on these big items, the sale can move smoothly to the closing day. That’s the end goal that both the buyer and seller are looking forward to, so both need to agree to be reasonable throughout this part of the process.