Getting a home inspection is a crucial part of the home buying process and is not something that should ever be skipped. This is a huge investment and you should know as much about the property as possible whether it's a condominium, Villa, townhouse, or single-family home. Inspectors see a lot and have the most interesting stories to tell but there are some things they wish you as the homebuyer would know. Here are 10 things home inspectors wish you knew about the home inspection process and the home you're buying.
#1. If you know your water heater is connected properly.
There should be a drain line connected to the TPR valve on your water heater. If it overheats, this valve will open and drain the water otherwise the water heater could blow up but surprisingly, many homeowners don't realize this and inspectors have run across a lot of water heaters installed improperly. The drain tube should be visible within 6 inches of the floor.
#2. Too much water near the foundation.
Six-foot downspout extensions are recommended to move water away from the foundation of your house. It doesn't matter whether you have a slab, crawlspace, or basement. Water too close to the foundation it can cause rotting, erosion, mildew, mold, and pests.
#3. Anti-tip brackets should be used on your range.
Anti-tip brackets are crucial to prevent your range from tipping over if weight is put on the door. If you can open the oven door, put a little weight in the entire range moves, it doesn't have these installed. These brackets have been required from appliance manufacturers since 1991 but most people don't use them.
#4. High drain loop to the dishwasher.
Dishwashers, with the drain loop to up at the side of the dishwasher but the installation requires this high loop underneath the sink. The drain tube should go above the bottom of the sink and down into the drain or garbage disposal. If this is installed improperly, it can clog the tube and cause bad odors and improper draining.
#5. Cover electrical wires and switch boxes.
Any electrical wiring that's not a factory-installed cord less than 7 feet long should either be inside a wall or encased in a conduit. Outlets and switch boxes should also be covered and if not, it can reflect negatively on an inspection report. [Source]
#6. Check your own stair handrails
If you have more than four steps both indoors and outdoors, is required to have a handrail. If your stairs don't have this, the home may not pass inspection.
#7. Clogged dryer vents.
Whether you are having your home inspected or not, you should always clean out your dryer vents. Clogged dryer vents are responsible for about 7000 fires every year. Check the vent for obstructions, tears, and make sure it's up to code.
#8. Properly stored wood.
This is one of those things a lot of homeowners don't even think about but if you have a fireplace or wood-burning stove, the wood must be stored a minimum of 3 feet from the side of the house. Firewood can attract wood-destroying pests and be a fire hazard if it's too close to the house.
#9. Check for leaks ahead of time.
This could mean water leaks and air leaks. If you have air leaking from somewhere in the house this could mean you have a draft and this can lead to problems in energy efficiency later on. Also check for leaks under bathroom sinks, on any water-using appliance, and on outside faucets.
#10. Home inspectors are not appraisers and cannot offer advice on buying the home.
Home inspectors are typically not alarmists. They have no investment in the property so they are there to give an unbiased report of the condition of the home and property. However, they cannot appraise the home, negotiate the price, or offer advice on whether buying the home is a good deal or not. They are simply there to give their expert opinion on the condition and integrity of the property.