Before buying a home, it would be a good idea to find a professional home inspector – but this should not be the only time you inspect your home. You need to perform an annual home inspection to ensure that everything is in good working order.
Outside the House
You should start by inspecting the exterior of the house where most problems tend to be. You can use a pair of binoculars to scan any high walls, roofline, and the chimney. Walk slowly around the house and look for problems – make sure that the roofline is not leaning and looks solid.
You should also look at the following:
Downspouts and gutters – make sure that you look for clogs, damaged elbows, and cracks. Such problems usually allow water to get into the foundation and cause extensive damage. To avoid this, you should use a ladder to investigate grass or twigs growing from the gutter.
Roof – you should check for missing or busted shingles that could compromise the weather protection in your home. Get rid of large tree branches that might be resting over your roof thus allowing pests to get in. Moreover, big branches can break away from a tree and cause major damage to your home.
Paint – look for peeling paint because it signifies water damage. Flaking and cracking paint is caused by surface deterioration, which means that the siding needs repair or replacement.
Windows – check whether the caulk is peeling or flaking away. This might result in heat loss when cold air enters your home thus overworking your AC.
Garage and driveway – cracking and loose asphalt can be a tripping hazard and creates a point of entry for water and this might result in damage.
Foundation – you should look at the grade around the foundation and confirm that it is at least eight inches below the siding and sloping away from the house. If there are hairline cracks around the foundation, you should have an expert investigate their root cause.
Inside the House
You should use a flashlight to investigate the home’s interior. This will allow you to take note of problems in hidden areas such as behind dressers and underneath sinks.
Here are some areas that you should inspect:
Walls and ceilings – blotchy and dark stains can be mildew while brown rings might indicate problems with the roof or water leaks from a broken pipe.
Tub surround – cracked tile and damaged ground create an entry point for water to get inside your walls. To avoid this, you should feel around for loose tiles and have them fixed. You also need to inspect your home pipes at least once a year to avert water damage.
Kitchen backsplash – you should look for spaces between the kitchen counter and backsplash near the sink area. Such spaces might allow water to drip behind the sink or cabinet.
Stairs and railings – the interiors stairs and railings need to feel solid beneath your feet and hands. To prevent accidents from occurring in future, you should check for wood rot under the staircase. Moreover, if railings are too wide, they might pose a hazard for young children.
Interior paint – all the wall surfaces should be smooth to the touch and clean. If a wall has vertical cracks, this could mean that there is drywall separation. If a home was built before 1978, it might have lead paint and you would have to take special care during renovation to prevent lead poisoning.
When you conduct your own home inspection, you will save on money instead of paying exorbitant rates for a professional to do it for you.