How to Conduct a DIY Home Inspection

In 2007 Alone, close to 1.4 million homes were sold without an inspection, according to an article I read in Popular Mechanics. Many people are now finding out that allowing the removal of such things as inspection and termite clauses from bid contracts have turned out to not be a good idea after all. Many people’s new homes are fine, but there are also many that have issues that the new owners knew nothing about when they agreed to purchase the home. These issues can be costly, and in today’s market, it is not always better to buy a fixer-upper.

Do not be worried about what the real estate agent thinks when looking into a house, they will understand, and if they don’t, then I guess they don’t want to sell the house after all.

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Having an inspection is a good idea when you are buying a home, but it can be pricy when looking at several houses. You may also want to do an inspection on the home that you already own, but don’t want the hassle or the expense of hiring an inspector. Do-it-yourselfers rejoice, here is yet another thing that you can easily do.Here is a simple guide to conductiong your own home inspection.

While you are inspection you home or potential home, you will need to bring a few things:

A checklist including everything I mention in this article plus anything else you personally feel may be necessary.

Rubber gloves(you never know what you are getting into)

Rubber soled shoes(for traction and in case of electrical shock)

A flashlight

A Phillips screwdriver

A flathead screwdriver

A ladder

Now that you have all of the tools of the trade, it’s time to begin the inspection. Ster outside with the roof, if you can get on it. Check asphalt shingles for any kind of damage, including curling, wear, blistering, and even missing shingles. Check metal roofs for loose panels, screws, or any other type of damage that may cause leaking. While on the roof, also check gutters for clogging or damage. Any damage to the roof needs to be fixed immediatly, but if it minor damage, then the house may still be buyable.

Check for gaps around doors or windows, cracks in brick walls, or cracks in the foundation.These can indicate problems with the foundation of the house.

Check for plants that are too close to the house. They can help the growth of mold and mildew, cause damage to the foundation (usually trees will do this), And trees that can serve as a bridge for underisable creatures to get into your attic.

Check that the caulking around the doors and windows is good. Bad caulking can allow moisture to get in and heating or cooling to get out.

Check the extrerior paint. If it looks bad, or is peeling and chipped, the house is in need of a new paint job.

The last thing that you need to check outside is the grading around the house. The soil need to slope down about three inches for every five feet away from the house. This gives plenty of drainage away from your house and helps keep water out of your basement.

Now go inside the attic and check the trusses. If there is any signs of tampering in them, the structural integrity of the house can be sorely compromised. Tampering has happened. Any Damage here needs to be fixed immediately.

Check for any roofing leaks from inside of the house. The best time to do this is in a really good downpour.

Check that the insulation is not overused or underused. Underused insulation can leak heating or cooling, raiseing bills. Overused insulation can include things like blocking vents and covering recessed lighting (which can be a fire hazard).

Inside the living space, check things like a shaky toilet, which can leak and cause damage. Check that dryer vents vent outside, and that The wiring of the house can support all of today’s gizmos. The easiest way to check the wiring is to use a hair dryer in each room of the house with the lights on, and if any lights flicker when you turn it on, the wiring could be bad.

Mildew and peeling walpaper are an indication that your bathroom has venting problems. If this is not fixed, you could wind up with health problems.

If you have stains on the ceiling or the walls, do not cover them up until you have found the cause and repaired it, unless the cause has already been repaired. You can check for loose bathroom tiles and leaks in the bathroom by hitting the tiles softly with something metal like your screwdriver and listening. You should get a clink cound when doing this, but a deeper sound is usually a loose tile, and those could have a wet backing. Clean out older grout thourougly, replace it, and put a sealer on it.

If you have stair railings, give those a good yank. Tighten all of the loose screws if there are any.

Check the floor joists from the basement or crawlspace. Poke at them with the flathead screwdriver to check for rot. Soft spots are not good. Check fot the holes and notches that are commonly put into the floor joists for use. There should be no notches or holes at the ends of the boards., holes toward the center could be ok, but only if the timber is sound, but no notches in the center, at they make the boards break easier.

Check the foundation. Hairline cracks are nothing to worry about right now, but make sure that they do not get any bigger, or that two cracks intersect.If the cracks do get worse or intersect, you may have to call in a professional, as this job could be bigger than you.

Check all over the house for termite damage. The damage usually looks like tubes in the wood. Break a few tubes in each spot that you see them. If you see termites in the tubes, or if the tube is fixed after about a week, you need to get an exterminator.

In some cases, you may want to call in an inspector anyway, just to be safe, but for most homes, this is all you really need to do. It is recommended that your home be checked over like this once a year to catch any damage early. More often if you like, but catching the damage early can save you a lot of time, money, and frustration.