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What to Check Before Hiring House Inspectors

April 17th, 2009

The professional fees paid to licensed house inspectors have increased, so in order to save on home inspection costs, do your own home inspection first before hiring house inspectors. Besides, if you hire house inspectors for each of the house you are interested in, you would spend a lot.

First, view the overall appearance and structure of the house from the street. Is there something not aligned that should be aligned? Is there a part leaning that should not be? Go around the house and view the house from a short distance.

When inside the house, check again the structure. Are the walls 90 degrees at the corner? Do the ceiling and the walls meet at 90 degrees? If you step heavily on the floor, does it move and screech or does it stay strong?

Examine the electrical system by checking out the lights, electrical appliances and electronic devices. See that receptacles are spread around the house in strategic places. Check if the circuit breaker is capable of controlling at least 100 amperes.

Check the water heater and plumbing. Does the water heater use electric or gas? Gas-operated heaters are more efficient. See also that the water pipes used to transmit water from the heater to the fixtures are made of copper.

Next, focus on house heating and air-conditioning. Note the location of the furnace or space heater and its design. Check the monitors to see if the furnace is adequate to heat the whole structure. Are there spaces or rooms which are not heated? Check also the air conditioning system.

Another aspect to check is insulation. Good insulation will ensure your comfort, especially during summer and winter, and will control your utility costs. Go up into the attic and check fiberglass thickness. Ask your agent or the seller how you can check wall insulation without damaging anything.

Check fixtures at the kitchen and in the bathrooms. Just like good house inspectors, turn on the lights and the faucets. Flush the toilets. Observe the water pressure. Are the sinks and tubs clean and durable?

To complete the house inspection, go again outside and examine the roofing system. Is the roof newly replaced or is it in good condition?

Examine also the ground surrounding the house. Does it slope downward away from the exterior walls? Check the gutters and downspouts. Where does water go? Are the downspouts connected to the drainage pipes or are they left open to allow water into ground?

Finally, if you like what you saw and you did not see any major defect, then it is time to hire house inspectors to make the final home inspections. It is to your benefit if you also hire special house inspectors for the swimming pool, the roof, the septic system and other crucial parts of the house.

Home Inspectors

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