Red Flags to Look Out for if you Forgo an Inspection
In this bustling sellers market, where homes are a hot commodity and bidding wars are very much a reality, it’s possible you’ll be tempted to waive the condition of a home inspection in order to appeal to sellers. In this case, it’s important to be made aware of what to look out for during a showing, so you know how to identify any red flags before you make an offer. By doing a thorough walkthrough with your agent, this will potentially save you a ton of home improvement hassle down the line, should you purchase the home and forgo an inspection.
The Roof: You may not have the added benefit of a professional roof inspection, but you can tell a lot about the quality of a roof by simply taking a good look from ground level and asking a few questions. Upon examination, do you notice any missing shingles or if any shingles are curling or lifting? If so, this may be a sign you’ll have to budget for a new roof in the near future. Inquire about when the roof was last replaced and whether there is an ongoing warranty for the repairs. Be sure to never overlook this part of the pre-inspection, as extensive roof repairs can not only be costly, but also wind up being a great deal stress down the line.
Outdoors: While outside, be sure to also check the surrounding area of the home for any water pooling, and ensure water is draining away from the home so that there are no drainage issues. Also inspect the siding and the porch area, looking out for any warping or peeling that could be sign of water damage.
Walls, Ceilings & Windows: Pay extra close attention to the finer details of the walls to ensure no areas of concerned are being covered up. Look for evidence of cracks or stains on the walls and ceilings and touch the surfaces for signs of any moisture. Wall trimming is a key area to examine for clues of water damage or to check for any patchy repairs that appear suspicious, painted over, or are not properly primed. You should also be checking for signs of condensation between the panes, which is a sign that the windows may need replacing.
Test Light Fixtures & Check Appliances: Walk through each floor of the home and test out the light switches to make sure electrical is in working order, and if possible, inspect the electrical panel to ensure there are no wiring issues. You should also examine any appliances that are included with the home to ensure they are in working order and inquire about potential warranties. This way you know exactly what you are offering on.
Test out Plumbing: In order to make sure plumbing is in working order, you should test out each plumbing fixture on every floor. Slow water pressure is an early sign there may be underlying issues with the home’s plumbing situation, so run the faucets and flush every toilet to check how well the plumbing appears to be running. Also check the pipes and surrounding areas of the fixtures for any visible leakage. Now would also be a good time to locate the water main and shutoff points, to know exactly where to find them in case of emergency.
The Electrical Room: Go into the electrical room and check to make sure everything is working properly. An immediate indication that something may be wrong is if there are any loud noises coming from the furnace. Inquire about the age of the furnace, the AC and the water heater, and how long it’s been since any updates were performed on each appliance. If it appears that maintenance for these appliances has been delayed for some time, then the responsibility and cost of these overdue repairs might very well befall you.
The Basement: The first thing to look out for in the basement is the smell. If you notice a musty smell in the basement, this usually indicates moisture, which worsens the potential for mold. You’ll notice right away whether basement is finished or unfinished. If the basement is unfinished, look for any visible cracks or water staining on the concrete walls or ceilings and inquire about these issues with your agent. While there are some issues to be expected in an unfinished basement, it’s important to understand how hazardous or burdensome these issues (if any) will be, should you decide to offer.
Remember that while offering on a home without conditions is becoming more of a common practice in this hot sellers market, it is not compulsory. If you are uncomfortable offering on a home without an inspection, then don’t do it. It is only recommended you offer on a home without conditions, after you’ve done you’re due diligence in your pre-inspection, and feel completely confident and comfortable in doing so! I hope this list provided a clearer picture of what to look for in your pre-inspection and if need any more guidance on how to perform a thorough pre-inspection during a showing, I’m here to help!