Inspectors vs Realtors
Realtors typically know a lot about houses. We know where to look to see how old the windows are. We can tell from the driveway if the roof has asphalt shingles and fibreglass ones. Realtors can approximate the age of furnaces by the pipes and venting and the age of kitchens’ cupboards and cabinets and the flooring by the style and materials. We might know a lot about the age and condition of the components of a house but we know nowhere near as much as a qualified and experienced home inspector. Before you buy a house, hire an inspector. Here are some things he/she will look at and why.
Home inspectors will open the panel to ensure that things are copasetic. I’ve been at home inspections where the inspector has found things like overloaded circuits and two circuits going into one breaker and/or mixed material (aluminum and copper) into one breaker.
The lifespan of a deck can be as short as 15 years. Because they are made of wood which will weather and rot and shift and bend… and because many decks are home made, they often start to come apart leading to sudden collapse.
The bricks at the top three or four rows often deteriorate.
The early generation of plastic piping (Kitec) tend to fail over time leading to flooding.
Insurance companies do not like aluminum wiring. Although on its own it is safe, most fixtures and switches are copper and the problem happens when copper is connected to aluminum. Over time, since the metals heat up at different temperatures, they come apart and that is when sparking happens. Sparking can lead to fire.
Buried oil tanks
Who thought this was a good idea? Buried oil tanks are sometimes found next to the foundation of old homes. They leak and contaminate the soil around them which makes for an expensive clean up.
Home inspectors will alway go up into the attic. There he is looking for broken roof trusses, evidence of mould, airflow issues and the R-value of the insulation.
Furnace and A/C
Home inspectors will open up the front of the furnace and check for rust and wear. Once I was at an inspection where the home inspector found a cracked heat exchanger. For safety reasons (leaking CO2) he had to condemn the furnace on the spot.
Older A/Cs use a different kind of gas which we no longer manufacture which means any future repairs will be impossible.
Foundation cracks and moisture in the basement
Wet basements can lead to mould
Redon, asbestos, mould, lead paint, termites…
In conclusion: get it inspected
Realtors know a lot about houses. But as you can see from the list above, there are a lot of things that we simply cannot determine during a one hour visit to a home. Get your home inspected.