If you’re a first time home buyer, or even if you’ve bought a home before, you should make sure you get a property inspected before you buy it. Here is a list of some of the most important inspections that should be performed.
The septic tank
About one-quarter of American homes use a septic system. If you buy a home that has one, you need to get it inspected. Your septic system has a tank and leach field. This is where the solid waste settles and the grey-water is discharged, respectively. You want to make sure the system is in good working order before you make a purchase. You should also consider getting the tank pumped so you start fresh when an empty tank when you move in. This inspection can cost around $700.
The electrical work
Depending on the age of the home you are looking at, the electrical work could be in great or horrible shape. An inspection can tell you how old the electrical box is and whether or not it is in compliance with current codes and regulations. The inspection will also tell you what kind of shape the electrical panels are in. If the electrical work in a home is outdated or out of code, it could pose serious safety issues. Once you make the sure the electric is ready to go, ask if the current owner uses LED lights. They use 15% less energy than conventional bulbs, and they are capable of producing 85% more light.
The radon levels
Radon is a colorless, odorless gas that is a natural byproduct of the breakdown of certain chemicals. While it is more common in certain areas of the country, radon can be in any home. It is the second leading cause of lung cancer in America today, according to the Surgeon General. You want to make sure you know if the home you’re looking at has high levels of radon gas. It is possible to get rid of it. A mitigation system costs between $800 and $2,500, according to the EPA. So, if you have your heart set on a home, you can also get rid of this cancer risk.
The possibility of mold
Mold is something that a lot of newer home buyers don’t think about being an issue, but it can be. Mold can accumulate anywhere where moisture builds up. It’s important not to freak out before you know the severity of the problem, though. Some mold problems can be a simple fix, while others can warrant a mold removal company to come in a fix the problem. The inspection will be able to tell you if there’s mold and how bad it is. Another thing you should figure out during the inspection is how often the owners got their upholstery cleaned. It should be done every 12 to 24 months, and more frequently if the own had children or pets. Dirt, mildew, and even mold can build up in carpets and other upholstery if not cleaned enough.
The possibility of pests
This is another thing that can depend on the age of the home, but it is still important to inspect. Pests can destroy a home and cost homeowners thousands of dollars. You want to make sure the inspection looks for anything from termites to rats. They can compromise the integrity of the foundation, and cause other types of damage. Without an inspection, it’s very easy to buy a home with a pest problem and not know until it’s too late.
Finally, you want to perform an inspection to check the home for lead-based paint. The federal government banned the used of lead-based paint in 1978, so newer homes don’t have that issue. However, if you’re buying a home built before 1978, there is a possibility that the paint might contain lead. If the inspection reveals that there is lead-based paint in the home, you’ll need to have a certified lead abatement contractor come and remove it.
If you’re ready to buy a house, don’t sign on the dotted line until these inspections have been completed. Remember, some of these things can be expensive and life-threatening, but none of them are permanent. If you’re in love with a home, you can also remove the lead-based paint or update the electrical work. If you’re not willing to put the money in to fix the issues, though, it’s time to move on to the next house.