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Preparing for your Home Inspection

Originally posted 2009-01-02 12:01:00. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

 

This first section will deal with home owners who are still living in their homes and will be having a home inspection to have condition removed from Real Estate Offer.

 

Ensure your annual maintenance items have been done, which are not limited but can include the following:

  1. Check all eaves troughs to ensure not blocked, splash pads are installed correctly, downspout supports are intact, no low areas in area of discharge, gutters are well supported and not sagging.
  2. Basement window wells are debris free, drains are filled with clean stone or covered with screen, screens are intact and correctly installed.
  3. Exterior siding is secured. Re-secure any loose pieces of siding, this can sometimes be as simple as snapping back into place or sliding siding into neutral position to cover gaps from expansion or contraction.
  4. Re-caulk any exposed holes on doors, windows, exterior   electrical fixture, flashing and any area where water entry may be a concern.
  5. Re-level any patio stones that have heaved from frost.
  6. Replace any rotted boards on wood decks and porches. Ensure all hand rails are secure with all guards being secured.
  7. Check your attic to see if any problems have occurred from last inspection or if any work was done, that insulation was properly replaced.
  8. Test your GFCI outlets and ensure they trip and reset. These will be located on exterior outlets and all bathrooms in newer homes. Newer homes will have arc fault protected devices in bedroom and kitchen, which should also be tested.
  9. Open and close all your doors and windows to ensure proper latching and operation. Check for door stops and any holes created by door knobs hitting drywall. Repair and Replace as required. Most problems can be fixed with minor adjustments.
  10. Check all your lighting fixtures to ensure proper operation.
  11. Check your sump pump to ensure it has a proper fitting cover and will operate when tested.
  12. Check your furnace filter and replace if dirty or ripped.
  13. Check all your visible wiring in basements to ensure cables are not touching any hot air ducts.   There is no issue with wires touching cold air returns.
  14. Make sure your electrical panel and attic hatch will be both accessible by home inspector.   Most professional inspectors will definitely inspect both.
  15. You might want to have mason or siding installer repair any visible cracks, missing, chipped, damaged or loose brick or siding. This cost will be taken into account by any prospective buyer and having done prior to selling only improves your homes look and value.

 

This section will list some of the more common issues usually found.

 

Water and Moisture Problems

 

Most new home purchasers in the Barrie area place water and moisture damage high on their list of items they want identified. It would only make sense to look for any visible concerns and have them repaired prior to listing your home. Covering sump holes and removing any source of water and moisture will usually also eliminate the unpleasant odour associated with moisture problems.

 

Remove any old stains that might be present from past leaks or renovation projects. Installing new drywall and painting is preferable to leaving water marked material or rotted drywall material exposed to view.

 

Inspect your bathrooms and look for any mildew or water staining. Check caulking around bathtubs, showers, sinks and floor joints. If your bathroom window is in your shower area, inspect for rotted wood and missing caulking. Replace and repaint as necessary.

 

Garage Inspection

 

Two items that pop up during inspections is the fume barrier and door closure in the garage.  Newer homes are required to have fume barrier between shared walls separating living area and garage. Most homes have drywall which is required to be taped but not painted. Check your walls and ceiling as patch any holes or gaps that have occurred. The other item that is required when newer homes are built is the automatic door closure on the interior door.   This is required at construction but can be removed by home owners at their own discretion. This item will be noted at time of inspection.

 

Attic Inspection

 

The attic will be checked for adequate insulation and proper ventilation. Many home owners will enter their attic to install pot lights or ceiling fans etc and fail to replace insulation when finished. Even some in-experienced home inspectors will tramp around the attic and compress or move insulation without replacing.

 

Soffit baffles should be installed in any attic where the insulation can block soffit ventilation area between sheathing and installed insulation. This can lead to ice dams and premature shingle replacement.

 

Furnace

 

Check furnace filter and replace if dirty. Look at flame on gas furnace and if there is a lot of visible orange and yellow flame during operation have serviced by qualified technician. Look for signs of leaking water in furnace cabinet or excessive rust on exterior or interior of cabinet.   If you have a humidifier installed on duct work, check to ensure it is working and the filter is in good condition.   If humidifier is not in working condition I would recommend replacing or removing.

 

Electrical Panel

 

Check your panel for neatness. No visible open holes in panel, wires neatly stapled and circuits clearly identified. If you are un-sure about any of these items I would recommend having a certified electrician inspect and make any necessary repairs.

 

Renovations

 

Have any inspection and building permits that were taken out for renovations. If any work, maintenance, service or upgrades were performed on any of your homes systems; it is a good idea to have these items available for prospective buyers. This will allay any fears that your home had work performed by un-qualified personnel.

 

Real Estate Agent

 

Your listing real estate agent can be one of your best resources for identifying items that will cause concern and affect the sale value of your home. Take the time to thoroughly inspect every part of your home with your agent and repair all questionable items prior to listing.

 

In-Complete List of Items

 

This list is not a complete list of items that can or should be checked. The average home can have countless more items that could and should be repaired prior to listing your home, this is just a brief overview that lists some items found during an average home inspection.   My Pre-delivery inspections of new homes would probably average out at thirty items per inspection, with most items being found in most homes but some items unique to that one particular home.

 

Caveat Emptor – Buyer Beware    Experience and training can not be accomplished over-night, always verify who your hiring.

 

 

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Mould / Mold – Is It an Issue

Originally posted 2009-04-30 04:54:18. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

As a professional home inspector I find most people are un-educated on mould and whether or not it is affecting their home. There is a lot of hype on mould right now and people are walking around their potential purchase property sniffing for musty odours and looking for tell tale traces of mould. I would like to address some of the more common items found during a home inspection, which although might be a form of mould, should not scare away prospective buyers.

These items of in no specific order, just ranked as they come to mind:

Cold Rooms – These rooms are usually located under porches and are always below grade. The ceiling of cold rooms often contains the wood used to form the concrete porch above and is of no issue.  Value of wood was not significant enough to justify labour to remove.  Any, back on topic, these rooms are meant to be cold, hence the term cold room, and they should contain at least on screened vent to the exterior for ventilation.  Plugging up these vents will lead to your cold room eminating a must odour which may spread to the rest of your basement.

Attic Exhaust Fans – Wish I had a dollar for every bathroom exhaust fan that vented directly into attic or was just put close to roof vent.  When you are venting warm moist air, being close to a roof vent doesn’t cut the mustard.  When warm air comes into contact with the cold air of your attic it meets its dew point and turns to moisture, which then stays in your attic. this occurance also applies to attic exhaust ducts made of wire and plastic, ( your know the cheap dryer duct that is not rated for use with most dryers) well it performs just as well in your attic. Once again not being insulated allows the warm moist air from your home to turn to moisture as soon as it hits cold air.  I have heard stories of these ducts collecting so much water and ice that they become blocked.

Some exhaust ducts discharge down from your vented soffit. When your louvers of the exhaust cover are pointed towards the building which directs the warm moist air against wall where it usually will rise and re-enter your attic, especially if there is any wind.  It is always better to vent out a gable end or use a roof vent. I have seen many cases where the sheathing directly above the vent discharge has the beginnings of mould growth.

Where your attic exhuast duct discharges the warm moist air into your attic is usually a great place for mould to start growing.  Usually this just a localized area and can be easily corrected by the home owner.  Just ensure proper venting of your ducts and clean area with javex or specialty cleaner.

Windows – When dust and dirt are allowed to accumulate on windows there is often a black mould like growth that forms on the windows. This occurance is especially more noticeable since the advent of interior screens which means the homeowner has to remove screen to clean window.  Actually a lot of people who have central air now remove their screens on windows they are not using and store them in garage or basement.  This potential mould growth is simply removed during cleaning and is of no consquence at all.

Basements – This area of your home, unless fully insulated and heated, will always be a source of dampness.  If you have a damp basement and you do not use a dehumidifier you will always notice the dampness and even mildew odour.  A basement is naturally cooler than the rest of your house and can have many sources of moisture,  such as; open sump, washer and dryer, condensate lines from furnace and a/c, laundry tubs and lack of heat and insulation. On older homes that only have partial insulation I usually detect a heat difference of 10 degrees where the insulation ends and bare concrete starts. Concrete will allow moisture to wick through into your home, so the more moisture in the soil the more moisture in your home.

Sump pumps keep the water from collecting against your foundation and are designed to remove the water and discharge it away from your home. Make sure your discharge is leaving and there are no low areas that trap the water and just allow it to re-circulate back to your sump hole.  I was in a house a couple months ago that had a crack in the foundation professionally repaired by injection.  There was a crack that was larger located at the front of the house which had not been repaired as there was no water issue.  On my exterior inspection I had noted that the sump dischage was directed to a patio stone that was in a low area and actually tilted back towards foundation, effectively directing water right back down to the crack.  This was still happening even after the crack was repaired.  I would assume the foundation “specialist” had seen the cause but did not want to mention it and lose the repair job. Some times a little investigation can resolve small issues without the need for expensive repairs.

If you have a mould problem I would recommend you use a company that also performs mould remediation for your initial testing. I personally do not do mould inspections, although I am qualified and have level one mould course, because I believe it is a conflict of interest to suggest a mould test or sample, and then charge extra for that service.  If you do have a mould problem you would then have to bring in a mould remediation company anyway so you might as well start out there.  The company I refer has gone to some clients homes and looked at their problem and told them how to clean it and did not charge them for this service.  That is the benefit of dealing with a professional company.

Remember, if you have had a water leak in your walls, your roof or finished basement, chances are you have mould.  Bring in a professional company as soon as possible to limit the spread of damage and mould.

Roger Frost

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