6 Tips to Help You Think Like a Home Inspector

While many homes look perfect in the glow of a first showing, the problems lurking beneath often don’t surface until it’s too late — when your offer’s been accepted and you’ve just paid for professional inspections.

That’s why we’re sharing six tips from Nate Thompson of A Closer Look Home Inspection — to put you ahead in the home inspection game long before you consider submitting an offer.

Watch for signs of water.
One of the biggest (and most expensive) issues found in home inspections that buyers simply don’t see is water damage. Why? Because past water issues in a home can sometimes be simple to cover up cosmetically.

Look for areas (particularly on ceilings, and around places like large bay windows where roof flashings could cause water to collect) with yellowing or staining that could signal water damage.

Be just as cautious if you see spots that appear to be painted with a brighter or fresher-looking white than the rest. That could indicate a place where a previous owner made a poor attempt to mask past water damage.

Open a window.
Walking through a showing, it’s easy to get distracted by finishes and furnishings. But in-between the “oohs” and “ahhs”, crack a few windows open.

Check the age and condition of the windows, along with what materials they’re made of. Pay special attention to how well (or how poorly) they lock and latch, and whether you notice any rotting around the frames. You’ll thank yourself when you’re not replacing a home full of windows you hadn’t budgeted for.

Use your sniffer.
Follow your nose through a showing as much as your eyes. As much as staining can be a visual sign of water damage, so can a musty, wet dog smell.

Stay alert, and use all your senses to scope out the home. Take notice if the seller has staged each room with strongly scented candles or air fresheners; they could be meant to distract you from a bigger issue at hand.

Check out the guts.
Be on the lookout for signs of knob & tube wiring or galvanized piping. These might not be evident to the untrained buyer’s eye, so be sure to ask your realtor if you’re unsure. Both can mean expensive home insurance issues down the line.

Know the age of major items.
When checking out the basement, don’t get caught up in your plans for a home gym or extra playroom for the kids. Stick with your realtor and scope out that less-than-desirable storage room, where big-ticket items like your furnace and water heater lie.

These items, along with others like your roof and air conditioner, can mean big bucks if they need to be replaced in short order — and may affect how much you want to offer for the home. Be sure to check their ages and research the life expectancy of the brand and model before moving forward.

About Our Guest Blogger:
Nate Thompson is the Founder & Owner of A Closer Look Home Inspection, a home inspection company serving West Michigan for nearly a decade. He was born and raised in Holland, and currently lives in Rockford with his wife of 10 years and his 3 sons. Before founding A Closer Look Home Inspection, Nate was an electrician, and has worked in various areas of the construction industry for over 15 years, giving him the insider industry knowledge to go above and beyond in serving his clients.

Contact Nate directly at nate@inspectionsbyacloserlook.com or (616)304-6243 to learn more about the free warranties included with every A Closer Look Home Inspection (including up to $11,000 worth of repairs for unexpected issues and a 5-year no roof leak guarantee).

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