What to Check Before Buying a Home: Part 1

By Michelle D. Formica, Manager, Marketing Services, The Long & Foster Companies.

Sep 201715

What to Check Before Buying a Home: Part 1

By Michelle D. Formica, Manager, Marketing Services, The Long & Foster Companies.

Considering buying a home? From the foundation to the roof, a home inspection will provide you with essential information about all of the home’s components, interior and exterior. In this two-part blog, we’ll share suggestions and insight from home inspectors firsthand.

What items should you check before officially calling it home?

Is the house structurally sound and safe? Checking the foundation is critical. If there are horizontal cracks, diagonal cracks or water coming into the home, you should be concerned. “An unsafe foundation is a red flag and could be a deal breaker,” said Ray Montminy, Area Manager and inspector with US Inspect, a partner of Long & Foster’s Home Service Connections.

Is mold, radon, or asbestos present? Harmful environmental issues, such as mold, radon and asbestos, can be easily overlooked within homes. “Moisture is the home’s biggest enemy,” said Dean Heim, a home inspector with US Inspect. Moisture can cause mold contamination, leading to extensive and costly damages. In some cases, new technology allows home inspectors to quickly and easily spot harmful environmental issues. For example, US Inspect uses infrared thermal imaging (IR) technology to find moisture issues within the home during all home inspections. To detect the radon level of a home during a radon test, continuous radon monitors (CRM) are recommended. Radon levels are extremely high in various parts of the country. You can find out if you live in a “high” radon area by looking at an EPA map. Radon is not a red flag as long as high levels are identified with the CRM and a mitigation system is installed.

 What is the condition of the roof? If possible, find out the age of the roof because it is an essential component of the home. Montminy explains that an asphalt shingle roof’s average lifespan is 16 to 20 years depending on material type. Copper roofing can last 80 to 100 years, but is much more expensive to replace than asphalt shingle roofing. If you purchase a home with an older roof, expect to replace or repair it in the near future.

What brand is the electrical panel? According to US Inspect, there are unsafe electric panels in service such as Federal Pacific and Zinsco. These panels should be replaced before moving into a home.

Next week, we’ll share more suggested items to check before purchasing a home.