Why an Interior Home Inspection Is Important
by Bob and RodMan, of The Bob and RodMan Home Show on 920 AM-WGKA
The exterior inspection, properly done, can give a good indication of the structural integrity, condition and maintenance concerns for the home under consideration. Interior inspection, however, can go even further in establishing the safety and livability of the home. My home inspection report contained right at 100 line items for the interior inspection.
Some are structural. Determining if the structure is plumb, square and level is step one in confirming the durability of the home. Corner cracks and binding doors can be indications of a flaw that could require thousands to correct. Uneven or tilting floors often point to hidden damage to major support members. Ceiling discoloration can disclose persistent roof leaks not obvious in the exterior inspection. Deterioration of interior surfaces might reflect through-the-wall moisture invasion or the hungry work of pernicious critters like termites.Use of a line-item inspection report helps guarantee that each area and every component is reviewed. The condition of floor, walls, windows, doors, ceiling and trim for every space needs to be noted in the report to confirm observation of any potential defect. The inspection is not inherently cosmetic in scope but cosmetic flaws may have a cause grounded in problems that do affect the safety and livability of the home.
Operational and mechanical considerations are the other vital portions of the interior inspection. Every electrical outlet should be tested, every switch checked for proper operation, the power panel reviewed for adequate capacity and lights and electrical devices observed in action. Operation of appliances in the home should be noted. Every part of the plumbing delivery and disposal system requires inspection and notation. Each toilet flushed and refill observed, valves at every sink, tub or vanity exercised and the drainage confirmed. Showers must be operated and potential problems at tub, shower, tile and grout recorded. Accessibility of operating cut-off valves at ever supply line confirmed.
Visual inspection of the heating and cooling system can disclose potential problems based on age and condition. As temperature allows, the HVAC system should be tested for proper operation and the distribution portion – ducts, vents and filters – looked over to determine condition, operation and neglect. Filthy ducts and overloaded filters are a barometer of other neglected maintenance.
A properly conducted home inspection is a bargain compared to the cost of repairing potentially undiscovered problems but it is essentially a visual inspection. Supplementing the standard inspection with special inspection by trained professionals in specific areas is a prudent choice. Having a licensed electrician go into the power panel may disclose problems not seen by the inspector’s superficial observation, heating and cooling technicians can get into the guts of the system in a manner beyond the normal inspection, licensed plumbers can provide a more detailed view of one of the most complex mechanical systems in the home and professional fireplace and chimney techs can find otherwise hidden dangers.
All-in-all, the inspection may run little more than the cost of a qualified mechanic’s review of a used car. Not a bad bargain, considering the difference in price. Just a reminder, select your own inspector; that’s part of “due diligence” too.