One of the most prevalent issues home inspectors find are problems and modifications to the house electrical systems. Homeowners seem to find it necessary to make changes and add wiring where it does not currently exist. It amazes me that we do not hear of more electrocutions. I am going to explain how to safely inspect your own electrical systems and share what the red flags are when the home inspector comes to call.
A good home inspection is like a good college research paper. It should be long, detailed, and cite evidence. A good college student will take the extra time to draft a careful, well researched, and organized document. A good home inspection will take the time to crawl around, get up in the attic, take lots of pictures, and prepare an organized and lengthy document.
Another very common problem that is always written up is exposed wiring. When a report note says: “Note: Exposed wiring was noted at…” it is an automatic concern for your buyer.
Many inspectors offer what they call a “walk-through” inspection. Though inexpensive, the inspector is not going to go on the roof, or in the attic or crawlspace. Unfortunately, these are the very places where major (read expensive) problems are likely to occur. The inspection may be cheap, but you’re probably not going to find out anything about the house you don’t already know.
Ask if the inspector has had any formal training from an established school. Always make sure you check on the school they attended and see if it is credible. Many inspectors are simply electricians, framers or some other skilled laborers who are trying to subsidize their income by doing home inspections.
You should have the option to walk away from the deal if you find out during the inspection that the seller has misrepresented the condition of the home. Some state seller disclosure laws allow the buyer to receive documentation from the seller which discloses the known problems with the home. You can get out of the deal if the disclosure didn’t disclose items that you find before the closing.
Sound confusing? Regardless of the windows in the home to be inspected, there are general things your inspector will check for, such as the condition of their frames, sills and sashes, and their overall operation and fit. He’ll carefully examine the glazing compound or putty around glass panels in older sashes. This is often the most vulnerable part of the window and repair can be time consuming.
It’s well known that many accidents occur at home, and this article has only touched on a couple of the items a qualified home inspector will check when he prepares his report for you.