ReSET Blog
Ask An Agent / Blog · August 23, 2018 · AUTHOR: Udi Dorner

Ask An Agent: What Are Some Red Flags to Look For During a Home Inspection?

A home inspection is a vital step in the home buying process. It’s the best way to access the condition of a home that you are considering buying in order to estimate how much work you will have to do once you have moved in. The information can also give the buyer some negotiating tools regarding the price of the home or having the seller pay for repairs before closing.

Your home inspector should inspect the structure, exterior, roof, electrical, plumbing, HVAC, interior, insulation and ventilation. It can also reveal whether any renovations or additions were completed without the proper permits or whether they are up to code, which will affect the overall value of the home.

The challenge for many buyers is determining which inspection revelations should be deal-breakers, or how to quantify the amount of time or effort it may take to bring the house up to their standards.

Fortunately, a realtor can help a buyer better understand the inspector’s report, and draw their attention to certain red flags.

Chad Wimberly of the LimitlessVet Home Team recommends a sewer scope and a radon test to help buyers ensure that they won’t face costly repairs or a dangerous situation in their home.

“A sewer scope will check for possible sewage line damage caused by settling or tree roots, ensuring sewage does not back up into the home,” Mr. Wimberly said. “A radon test will ensure that their future home is safe to reside in. Radon is the second leading cause for lung cancer right behind smoking in the United States.”

Annie Tatarian of 209 Home Sales agrees with the importance of safety when it comes to determining what parts of the inspection report should be dealbreakers. She cautions buyers to look for mold and mildew, which may come from leaky faucets or plumbing issues within the home.

She also cautions buyers to take special care if they are buying an older home.

“Although older homes have more character and charming built-in cabinetry in them, they also are prone to have termites and beetles inside the walls,” she said.

Some findings of a home inspection that seem simple by themselves can be a sign that the home has not been properly maintained. Shawn Shackelton of The Shackelton Group and REMAX Platinum Living cautions that things like marks on the interior walls, landscaping that has not been kept up, and plumbing leaks can be red flags.

“General deferred maintenance is a good thing to look for, this tells buyers that the current owner has probably not done the required work that every home needs over time,” she said. “The big thing for buyers to know is that all can be fixed - you just have to decide how much you are willing to take on.”

Another significant consideration is the HVAC system, which can be expensive to repair. If the initial inspection turns up any signs of damage to the HVAC system, Cindy Cosby of Century 21 recommends bringing in a licensed HVAC professional to make sure that there aren’t any issues.

“When the system is running, there shouldn't be squeaking, clanking or any other strange sounds, other than a smooth sounding engine running,” Ms. Cosby said. “Otherwise, check out the system further.”

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