The inspection is a cost that usually comes out of the buyer’s pocket. It’s not surprising many will think twice if they have the option. But a home inspection is your best way to protect yourself.
Without an inspection, you could find yourself out thousands of dollars in earnest money when you learn, too late, that there are worrying problems with a property.
Worse, you could move in only to find something seriously wrong.
What An Inspection Tells A Buyer About A Home For Sale
An inspection discloses all these issues and many others:
- Electrical problems, such as faulty grounding that can create a fire hazard
- Sewer and septic issues that may make clogged bathroom fixtures more likely
- Pest infestations, including termites, rodents, and everything in between
- The presence of mold, mildew, fire damage, or water damage of any age
- Roofing problems, including symptoms of the roof, the attic, and insulation
- Foundation damage, which can put the whole structure at risk if untreated
While most homes are in serviceable condition, the majority of homes for sale at any one time are more than 30 years old. This is around the age when structures start developing maintenance issues that could lead to problems in the future if not taken care of.
As you walk around a home, keep an eye out for these signs:
1. Seller Offers Property “As-Is” Or “For Sale By Owner” (FSBO)
Both of these conditions are red flags that warrant an immediate inspection. Offering a home “as-is” is a seller’s way of making it clear, upfront, that no concessions will be offered for repairs. On the other hand, FSBO sellers are often inexperienced and in a rush. Be cautious.
2. You Notice Cracks Along Doors Or Down Walls
As foundation damage becomes serious, it creates characteristic jagged cracks that extend diagonally from door frames, usually pointing in the direction of the roof. A qualified contractor can often repair these issues, but it may require a substantial investment.
3. Multiple Windows Or Doors Are Warped
Windows and doors have a tendency to become warped with age, especially in humid climates like Florida. However, if several windows and doors are difficult to open and close, it suggests shifting of the house. That, again, points to structural damage.
4. Wooden Elements Are Worn Down
Florida has both subterranean and drywood termites. The latter requires no contact with soil to survive, so colonies can completely infest a house. Check out wooden elements for damage and look at window sills for characteristic pellets or lost termite wings.
When all is said and done, a home inspection is the number one way to protect yourself against surprises. That includes seller misrepresentation.