If you have completed a real estate transaction in California, you likely experienced a home inspection. Home inspections occur to protect both buyer and seller. When purchasing a home, buyers want to know they are making a sound investment—and a thorough home inspection can provide assurance. For home sellers, an inspection verifies the condition of the home at the time of sale, which makes it difficult for a buyer to hold a seller responsible once the sale is closed. The purpose of a home inspection in California is important, but knowing what to expect from an inspection is equally as important. No home is perfect—not even recently constructed homes. All structures have flaws, so buyers and sellers should be prepared to see some recommended repairs on the report. The inspection process will weed out which flaws are normal, and which defects could become issues in the future. Below are five areas you should pay particular attention to on a home inspection report. If you see these or similar notations on the report, you may want to do further investigation of the issues before continuing with the deal.
Ideally, when a home is built the lot is graded to allow water to drain away from the home and off the property. If the land isn’t properly graded and the water doesn’t drain as it should, standing water near the foundation is likely. This can cause several problems ranging from rotting wood frame to the shifting or cracking a home’s foundation over time. A good inspector will notice possible signs of foundation movement. If this is noted on a home inspection, understand that repairs are quite likely to be costly.
A structure’s roof ages along with the rest of the house in California. The effects of aging will vary depending upon the roofing material that was used during construction. If a home inspection notes any signs of aging such as cupping, curling, blistering, lifting, splitting, hail damage, insect damage, cracking, rotting, and missing sections, be aware. These are warning signs of future water intrusion unless a new roof is installed. Having a new roof installed can be quite expensive.
Defective electrical wiring is one common cause of residential fires, so building codes are always being updated to improve safety. Take note of the number of electrical outlets present in a home. Too few outlets can lead to the overuse of extension cords, which strains the electrical system. You should also be wary of exposed wires. Typically, this is most often seen after a homeowner has taken on a home improvement project in their basement, garage, or attic. A licensed professional should be called to remedy the issue, if any wires are exposed.
When a home has effective plumbing, the entire system is virtually invisible. However, when faulty plumbing is present, the problems can be substantial. Because plumbing is hidden behind the walls or under the structure, it can be difficult to spot a problem. However, the most commonly found issues are pipe leaks or outdated systems. Even the smallest of leaks can lead to serious water damage over time. A second story bathroom or utility room with even a tiny leak can lead to serious and expensive damage below. If the whole system is outdated, certain repairs can be made to replace portions of old materials, but sometimes the entire system must be replaced. Re-plumbing an entire home can run into the tens of thousands of dollars.
Furnace and A/C
A good inspector will point out and read the furnace and boiler maintenance sticker. If it’s had many service calls in a short interval or if the system itself is old and greasy, that’s a bad sign—and you should expect to replace it. Also, be aware of the lifespan of furnaces and air conditioning units. Mid and high-efficiency furnaces last about 15 years, and individual A/C units last about five to seven years. Look at the sticker, and then calculate how long until you have to replace each unit.
Since you’re about to spend a few hundred dollars on a home inspection, it’s wise to be prepared; listen, observe, and take notes. Do this and you’ll be able to ask the right questions and get the answers you need to determine if the property is a sensible investment, or a potential money pit.
Golden State Mortgage Can Help
Golden State Mortgage is a California-based mortgage company specializing in new home purchases and mortgage refinance. Whether a FHA, VA, or USDA Loan, we have you covered with loan options for almost every lending need. With in-house underwriting, we can make fast decisions—and, we strive to close all loans in 28 days or less. Low Rates. Low Fees. Fast Closings—Call Golden State Mortgage today at 1-800-585-6886 or fill out the quick contact form to speak with a mortgage loan consultant to get a free good faith estimate.