In the current super competitive housing market it surely feels like a relief for buyers once an offer is accepted and a property is under contract. Of course, there are still several steps remaining in the buying process. One crucial step is the home inspection. Even if you are a cash buyer in this highly competitive market, it is always recommended that you have an inspection period and use this time wisely to fully inspect the property. Below we will discuss five key areas to focus on during a home inspection.
5 Critical inspection areas
- Foundation: A stable foundation is critical to maintaining the integrity of any structure. A typical home inspector will look for cracks in the flooring or walls along with crumbling mortar or gaps in blocks as signs of leaning or shifting. Ideally, the ground on the perimeter of the house should slope away from the home. Since water collection can be devastating to a foundation, it is extremely important that this is inspected. Oftentimes, the garage is a great opportunity to see signs of foundation issues or shifting in the home. Typically, cracks that are 1/4 of an inch wide or greater are cause for concern. As a best practice, a structural engineer should be consulted should these items be observed.
- Plumbing: As mentioned previously, water can wreak havoc on a home. Whether it is a leaking water line inside the walls of the home or a failing sewer line underneath the home, these issues can cause a lot of damage and be quite costly to repair. If you are purchasing an older home with cast iron sewer lines, it is strongly recommended that you have a plumber inspect these lines with a camera. It is best to identify these items during the inspection period so as to have the opportunity to negotiate these repairs or possibly even cancel the contract. Plumbing issues down the road will likely also lead to other expenses such as flooring, cabinetry, counter tops, or all of the above.
- Roof: Perhaps the inspection item that often garners the most attention is the roof. Needless to say, roofing repairs and/or replacements can be significant costs for homeowners. Furthermore, a roof leak will also lead to other interior repairs that will add even more costs to the homeowner. Although water stains in the home are an obvious sign of issues, it is important for a home inspector to also examine the roof in the attic and by walking the entire roof. If roofing problems are observed during a home inspection period, the cost of the repairs or replacement can be negotiated by the buyer and seller so as not to delay the closing.
- HVAC: An efficient and functioning air-conditioning system is an absolute necessity in South Florida. In the event that the HVAC is older, the buyer may want to request to see some recent electricity bills for the home. In some cases, it may be worthwhile to replace an older, inefficient system for a newer, more efficient system. In addition, it is recommended that the air ducts are also inspected. Older air ducts that may have leaks will end up costing you a lot of money even with a newer HVAC system. Oftentimes, replacing the air ducts is more practical than simply having them cleaned.
- Attic or basement: Although we typically do not see basements in South Florida, attic spaces are certainly common. Inspecting the attic is a very important step in the home inspection. In doing so, the inspector will be able to notice signs of water damage from a roof or water pipe leak or even signs of pests such as rodents, termites, or other wildlife. In addition, it is also recommended that home buyers have a wood destroying organism (WDO) inspection performed on the property. Termites can be quite common throughout South Florida and also cause significant problems.
Although it may be tempting for some buyers to forego a home inspection in order to have their offer accepted, this is not advisable. Depending on what is found during this inspection, it may possibly result in a significant costs savings for the home buyer. As difficult as it may seem, sometimes the best approach after a home inspection is to simply cancel the contract and continue searching. At the very least, a thorough home inspection will provide you with peace of mind as a buyer. With home inspectors being extremely busy in this market, it is highly recommended that a home inspection is scheduled as soon as a property is under contract. The sooner the inspection can take place, the better. Keep in mind, some home inspectors may require several days before they can send you the full report. With this said, major observations from the home inspection can typically be verbally communicated immediately to the home buyer or their real estate agent. In the event that a home buyer would like to attend the inspection, it is recommended that you allow some time for the inspector to begin the process as opposed to looking over their shoulder the entire time.
At Live South Florida Realty, Inc. we have assisted many clients with their real estate needs. Are you looking to buy or sell a property in South Florida? Now more than ever, it is critical to have a qualified real estate team and the proper search tools behind you. Live South Florida Realty, Inc., has been a leader in the South Florida market for many years. Let our team of professionals assist you with buying or selling your piece of paradise today! In addition, our recently launched “Florida Home Search” app is now available on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. With real-time MLS feeds, this app lets you set your own alerts to notify you as soon as a property meeting your needs hits the market. Furthermore, it will also let you know of recent closed sales in your area so that you may be even more educated on the market. Be sure to download this app for your smartphone or tablet today!