A Guide to Engineered Wood Sheathing for Inspectors and DIY-ers by Fran J. Donegan for The Home Depot The use of engineered wood sheathing has grown dramatically in residential construction over the past 30 years. Engineered wood products are often used for sheathing...
Home Inspections in Alabama – What You Need To Know
What is a Home Inspection and Why do I Need One?
Purchasing a home is often the largest financial transaction many of us will make. Would you buy a new car without a test drive? Chances are your home purchase will dwarf the cost of a new car. So, you want to protect your investment by working with an Alabama certified home inspector. Home Inspections are non-invasive examinations of the home. They are conducted by a professional inspector, and usually involve the sale of a home. Home inspectors have special training and we must maintain proper certification in order to perform inspections. An inspector will prepare and deliver a written report of the findings. At AB Home Inspections, we typically deliver your report at the time of inspection. We actually have the ability to print your report from the truck before we leave. Buyers use the knowledge gained from a home inspection to make a more informed decision about the property. It is very important to order an inspection before deciding if you want to purchase a home.
Home Inspections: What do they cover?
We’re generally looking at the condition of the home or property at the time of inspection only. An inspection does not consider the life expectancy of appliances or components. We also can’t guarantee the future condition or efficiency of your appliances, but we will make observations as appropriate. So, if your microwave stops working in three years, it’s not something that can reasonably be caught in an inspection since appliances do wear out over time. However, if the microwave is faulty at the time of inspection, a good inspector will discover it and include the problem in their report. We’re looking for things like improper wiring, non-functioning appliances, signs of water damage, mold, and other current issues with the property. A professional home inspection is all about peace of mind at the time of purchase.
One thing a home inspection often gets confused with is an appraisal. Appraisals determine the value of a property while inspections are simply looking at the condition. An inspection report does not take into account market conditions or other things used to determine value. Think of your inspection like kicking the tires and going on a test drive before you buy a car. The appraisal is more like doing your research on Kelly Blue Book to make sure the dealership is charging fair market value.
What are Home Inspectors Looking For?
Inspection requirements can vary from state to state. However, there is a minimum standard set forth by the American Society of Home Inspectors. You should expect at least the following to be checked by your inspector, no matter where you live:
1. Roofing: Your roofing and home inspector should check for properly functioning gutters where applicable. They should inspect the condition of shingles or the integrity of your metal roof. Any patches or repairs to flat roofs should be inspected, and damage to chimneys or vents will be documented.
2. Structural Conditions: The condition of your foundation that is visible will be inspected for evidence of sagging or bowing. Window alignment should be checked as it could indicate settling.
3. Exterior Surface Inspection: We’re looking for the correct clearance between ground and siding material. We want to make sure the condition of paint or siding is sufficient to protect against the elements. This is where we also check exterior outlets and lighting against defects.
4. Condition of Grounds: Your inspector will check for signs of a leaky septic system, proper drainage around your foundation, and the condition of sidewalks, driveways, and fencing.
5. Attic: The two primary concerns here are water and proper insulation. We are checking for signs of roof leaking and also making sure there is enough insulation. In Alabama, this is especially critical due to our hot summers!
6. HVAC: We check the current condition of the furnace, split unit, or heat pump. If your home has a fireplace we also inspect that as well. If we see things like a dirty coil or malfunctioning thermostat, it goes on the report. HVAC repairs can be costly, so you want to know what you are buying.
7. Electrical: Making sure your wiring and circuit breakers are up to code is a very important step in the homebuying process. We check for proper function of outlets, lights, fans, and verify that your GFCI outlets trip and reset correctly.
8. Garage: We want to make sure you have a solid foundation, framing and roofing. A working garage door opener and up to code electrical system is important, so we check all that as well.
9. Appliances: Does the timer on your stove work? Is there a leak in the washing machine hose? When you use the dishwasher is it draining properly? These are all questions you do not want to answer late at night when you’re exhausted from moving into your new house. A proper inspection ensures your appliance are working properly before you move in.
Those are the main areas covered by a professional home inspection. If you’re considering buying a house, be sure to have a licensed inspector check out the property before purchase. Find someone you trust or work with your agent to schedule an inspection. We’re here to help get you through the process. So, reach out to AB Home Inspections if you need help during the buying process.
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