If you’ve already read our report entitled, “Home inspections and why you should certainly have one,” you know that I recommend the use of a professional home inspector with every purchase. This list of interior concerns, together with the report entitled, “Home inspection – exterior concerns” is offered as a resource to help buyers roughly determine how much attention a home may need. Knowing this information will be valuable in helping you determine an appropriate amount to offer on your new Calgary home. Again, we encourage buyers to write their offers “subject to a professional building inspection that is satisfactory to the buyer”. Please, do not attempt to use these reports as your only guide in determining whether or not a property is sound. While they may provide a good guide for pre-inspection, only a professional that is fully trained in home inspection is qualified to spot the more inconspicuous problems that can occur in homes.
It should also be noted that most home inspections would reveal some problems in virtually every home. Therefore, the primary purpose of home inspections is to protect the buyer against major hidden defects, as well as create awareness of outstanding maintenance issues to guide you in decisions related to property value.
Check all bathroom fixtures carefully for cracks, chips, leaks, etc. Do you notice signs of rust or other water damage on or around fixtures? Is there adequate caulking around sinks, toilets and tubs? Are tub enclosures firmly attached or loose?
How is the general condition of the flooring? Is it relatively current or is it badly dated? Are there seams showing? Is there lots of obvious wear in higher traffic areas? Is there any apparent damage caused by pets? Check all vinyl floors for signs of wear. Look for signs of moisture under linoleum (dark spots) could be mold. Look for seams to ensure a good seal. Are there cuts or tears in the linoleum?
Open appliances and look for signs of rust or other corrosion. Is the seal on the door soft or has it become hard and brittle? You should probably run the dishwasher to see if it makes strange noises or leaks.
Cupboards & vanities
What types of materials were used in their construction? What type of finish is on them? Will they be easy to care for? Are all of the hinges and hardware intact and functioning properly? Are the counter tops in good condition or needing attention?
Check the wiring to try to determine what type it is. Copper is generally known to be the best but aluminum is ok is done properly. What is the amperage rating of the wiring? Is it adequate to meet your needs or will it require upgrading? Does the panel box have breakers or fuses? Are there an adequate number of electrical outlets in various rooms throughout the house? Are the light fixtures all functioning properly? Are they current or dated? Are there smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors present? Are they wired in or battery operated?
Find out if the unit was professionally installed, or at least if the seller is aware if it meets current fire insurance standards. When was the chimney last cleaned? Does the fireplace have a fresh air intake? Is the unit well sealed or drafty? Is the chimney insulated to prevent back flow of air?
Heating & Cooling Systems
When were these units last serviced? Are the monthly heating costs comparable to other properties of this type? Is there a fresh air intake on the furnace? Is the inside of the furnace clean or filthy? Does the furnace filter appear to get changed regularly? Do the units operate without a lot of noise? Has the air conditioner been recharged lately? Is pilot light in the furnace burning blue or orange )Orange means it needs cleaning).
The Insulation is difficult to see in most properties. Check the attic insulation to determine if the amount is adequate. While you’re up there, check for evidence of moisture damage in the attic. Do you notice any black marks on the roofing material? Remove some outlet covers to try to determine that the walls are insulated and with what material. You may be able to tell what kind of material was used.
Check to see what kinds of water pipes are being used. Copper or PVC is the current standard, while galvanized steel pipes are outdated. Check all water taps for drips. Flush all toilets to ensure proper operation. Check around toilets and tubs for signs of water damage to floors and walls. Check under all sinks for signs of leaking. Check ceilings directly under bathrooms for signs of moisture damage.
Check miter joints on door and window trim, and baseboards for construction quality. Open and close all interior doors to ensure they are working properly.
Check exposed basement walls for signs of major cracking. Where possible, examine floor joists for sagging or cracking. Do the floors on the main and upper levels seem to be fairly level?
Check the home’s lower level for signs of past moisture problems. Examine nails in baseboards. Are there any that are rusty? Check paint for signs of peeling. Examine drywall for loose seam tape. Check wood trim and drywall boards for signs of water staining or wicking. Again, most basements will take some water if the conditions are right, but if there has been water, you’ll want to ensure that the problem has been solved.
What type of windows are they? Are they aluminum, wood or PVC? Do they appear to be efficient? Is there a good seal when they’re closed? Is there evidence of moisture damage on the windowsills or drywall around the windows? If so, can it be repaired and subsequently maintained to avoid future damage or do they need to be replaced? Is the hardware functioning properly? Do the windows open and close? Is there moisture between the pains?