Do Your Own Investigating

Do a Visual Inspection

When purchasing your new home, it’s always recommended you hire a licensed home inspector. However, you can start getting familiar with your future home by doing a visual inspection. Pay attention to the electrical, plumbing, heating and cooling aspects of your new home. Any items of concern can be discussed with your professional home inspector.

•Start at the Bottom

If the home has a basement, make sure it’s in good shape. Look for signs of water damage and cracks in the structure.

•Check Outside Plants

Make sure outside plants are trimmed at least 30 inches away from the house. Insects can make their way into the structure with the help of plants.

•Too Much Water?

Does water seem to be flooding around the foundation? This indicates a need for better soil drainage around the structure. Walk through the house and look for water stains in the ceilings, the wallpaper, the carpet, and hardwood floors. Check the faucets, check below the sink, and flush the toilets. You can check water pressure by turning on the shower etc. Water is one of the biggest causes of household damage.

•Get on Top of Things

Check the roof. Is it in need of repair? Are there any cracked tiles or missing shingles? Check the roof for any sagging. If you have concerns, talk to your professional home inspector.

•Knock on Wood

If you are purchasing a home with hardwood floors, inspect the floors for elevated wood and rotted wood.

•Foundation Hazards

All houses settle over time. However, when checking the interior of your future home, look for warning signs that could indicate structural foundation problems. Look for cracks in the walls, especially over doorways, over windows, and where the walls meet the ceiling. Also, check the interior floors for open cracks in ceramic tile or vinyl flooring that was installed over a concrete floor. Check doors and windows. If doors jam or fail to latch and if windows stick or won’t close properly, there could be an issue. When checking the exterior of the home, stand at each corner of the house and look for leaning walls. The walls should appear straight, both up and down and side to side. When checking the exterior concrete foundation or block foundation, look for signs of a bulge or curve. This could be a warning that the foundation has sifted or the soil around the foundation may be expanding and contracting and therefore, putting pressure on the walls.

•Check for Termites

Termites feed on dead plants and trees as well as dead parts of living trees, including wood and wood in the soil. Subterranean termite homes are usually formed in soil. Within these mounds, termites build elaborate tunnel systems and mud tunnels through which they access above-ground food sources. Drywood termites live within the wood they consume and oftentimes infest walls and furniture.

 Termite Warning Signs and Identification

A temporary swarm of winged insects in your home or from the soil around your home.

Any cracked or bubbling paint or frass (termite droppings).

Wood that sounds hollow when tapped.

Mud tubes on exterior walls, wooden beams or in crawl spaces.

Discarded wings from swarmers.

To help protect your home from termites, eliminate moisture problems. Repair leaking faucets, water pipes, and A/C units, divert water from foundation, keep gutters and downspouts clean, remove excessive plant cover and wood mulch, get rid of standing water on roof, keep all vents clear and open, seal entry points around water and utility line or pipes.