Home Inspections

Buying a new home is probably the biggest investment you will ever make, and it is a decision that will affect you for years to come. There is always considerable risk involved when making such a large purchase decision, but a professional inspection will significantly reduce your risk and help make the entire home buying process easier and less stressful.

 

When should you get an inspection?

  • Before closing on any home purchase or investment property purchase

  • When thinking of selling your home so you will know what issues buyers will want repaired

  • For an overall inventory of your home's condition

 

We strongly encourage all of our clients to accompany our inspector during the inspection.  Please feel free to ask the inspector any questions you may have during the inspection process. The inspector will point out problems and explain them to you. The inspector will also show you the good points of the house as well. Plus, he will explain what routine maintenance is needed to keep the house in top condition. This will help you to get the most benefit from the inspection and gain the most understanding of the systems that make up your home, and how to maintain them.

You will get a comprehensive report that is easy to understand. Everything identified during the inspection will be included in the report.

Armed with the information our report will provide, you can make your decision with confidence.

Inspection vs Appraisal

Inspection vs Appraisal

Do I need a house inspection when my bank is having the house appraised?

Yes! A house appraisal is an independent evaluation of the current market value of a house or property. In general, the purpose of an appraisal is to set the current value of a house so that a lender may determine how much it can loan to the buyer. The appraiser looks at similar properties in the area and the prices at which they were sold to set the value of the house.

A house inspector conducts a thorough evaluation of the houses' major systems and structural integrity. Whereas the appraiser is typically working for the bank, the house inspector is working for you. The house inspector identifies items that need replacement or repair prior to closing, which can save you thousands of dollars.

U.S. Department Of Housing And Urban Development (HUD) requires buyers sign a �Consumer Notice� advising them to get a house inspection in addition to a house appraisal before purchasing a house with a FHA mortgage. Additionally, HUD now allows homebuyers to include the costs of appraisal and inspection in their FHA mortgage.

Common Defects

Common Defects

No house is perfect. Even the best built and best maintained homes will always have a few items in less than perfect condition. Below are some of the items we most commonly find when inspecting a home:

Roofing:  Problems with roofing material are the single most common defect we find. Usually it doesn't mean the roof needs replaced, simply that it is in need of maintenance or repair.

Ceiling stains:  Caused by past or present leaks, ceiling stains are very common. It can be difficult to tell whether the stains are from leaks still present, or were caused by leaks which have since been repaired.

Electrical hazards:  Most common in older homes, but often found in newer homes as well. Electrical hazards come in many forms, from ungrounded outlets to wiring done incorrectly by the homeowner.

Rotted wood:  Caused by being wet for extended periods of time, most commonly found around tubs, showers and toilets inside, or roof eaves and trim outside.

Water heater installations:  Many water heaters are not installed in full compliance with local plumbing code.

Gas furnace:  Most gas furnaces seem to be in need of routine maintenance such as new filters or gas company certification at the least. Many have other issues such as faulty operation or inadequate fire clearance as well.

Plumbing defects:  Plumbing issues commonly found include dripping faucets, leaking fixtures, slow drains etc... Even in brand new homes, it is common to identify minor plumbing defects.

Multi Stage New Home Construction

New Home Inspection

There are good reasons to have a professional inspection performed on the brand new home you are buying.

Buying a new house is likely one of, if not the largest purchase decision you will ever make. The whole process is fraught with emotion and stress. A professional home inspection will substantially reduce the risk for your large investment in a new home. It just makes sense to learn as much as you can about the quality of your new home, before signing off on everything.

Building a new home is a tremendously complex endeavor. It involves many people, usually split up into sub-contractor groups, each working on different parts and systems of the house. Even for the best builders, it is nearly impossible to complete this process without missing something. Maybe it is a plumbing fixture that didn't get tested for leaks, maybe it is an electrical box that is not working, or any one of dozens of minor problems that can easily be overlooked in such a major undertaking. We will find such problems while it is still early enough for you to bring them up with the builder and have them corrected before you sign-off and start moving in.

For the relatively small cost, a professional inspection of your new dream home can pay big dividends in peace of mind and getting any problems identified and corrected before they can become an unpleasant surprise.

Environmental Concerns

Environmental Inspections

It seems that we hear a lot about environmental concerns these days. Much of it is simply the result of a greater awareness than in the past. And even though there isn't anything to be concerned with in most homes, there are still a number of potential home environmental issues that buyers should be aware of.

Water quality is probably the most common concern and the one most often tested for. Typically, a basic water quality test will check pH, water hardness, the presence of fluoride, sodium, iron and manganese, plus bacteria such as E-coli. Additionally, water may be tested for the presence of lead or arsenic.

In homes built before 1978, lead based paint may be present. Generally, if the lead based paint is in good condition, not cracking or peeling, it is not a hazard. If the condition is hazardous, the paint will either need to be removed or sealed in such a manner as to eliminate the hazard.

Another common environmental concern with the home is radon. Radon is a radioactive gas that comes from the natural decay of uranium in the soil. Pretty much all homes have some radon present, tests can determine if the level present is higher than what is considered safe. If the level is too high, a radon reduction system will need to be installed.

In older homes built more than 30 years ago, asbestos was used in many types of insulation and other building materials. If the asbestos is releasing fibers into the air, it needs to be removed or repaired by a professional contractor specializing in asbestos cleanup. But, if the asbestos material is in good repair, and not releasing fibers, it poses no hazard and can be left alone.

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 301-797-4115 

Larry V Hammond: Certified Home Inspector since 1999

International Assoc. Certified Home Inspectors#03092909

Maryland Home Inspectors License #30329

Pennsylvania Compliant Home Inspectors

Pennsylvania Registered Contractor License #PA104054

MHIC, Maryland Home Improvement Commission #7851

CMRC - Certified Mold Remediation Contractor #62963

IAQ - Indoor Air Quality EMSL Analytical, INC. #06-0411-MD

IAC2 - International Assoc. of Certified Indoor Air Consultants #1AC2-00-1185