What to Look for When Checking Out a Home

Searching for a new home to purchase can be a very exciting time, especially when you find one you love. Maybe the house looks amazing in the photos online, it feels like a good fit when you walk through it, and it starts to feel like it could be ‘the one.’ But sometimes, houses can hide some unfortunate secrets that aren’t immediately obvious when looking at photos or even when walking through them. While some surprises can be fun and exciting, surprise problems with your new house are not so fun. They can also be very costly and stressful.  

Here are 6 of the most important things to keep an eye out for when you are walking through your potential new home:  

Damp/Water/Mold – This is one of the most important things to watch for when touring a home that you may be interested in buying. Water damage or excess moisture can result in toxic mold and damage to the structure of the building. Look for watermarks on the walls and ceilings, and check the floors for any signs of warping. The basement is the area where you’re most likely to find signs of water damage or excess moisture, so pay special attention when looking at that part of the home.  

Structural Integrity of the Building – Keep your eye out for any big cracks in the walls, floors, and foundation but keep in mind that some hairline cracks are normal. Also, keep an eye out for door or window frames that appear tilted or off center as that can be a sign of a sinking or unstable foundation.  

Which Direction Does the House Face – The amount of natural light that a home receives can make or break how the house feels to those who live in it. If you can, tour the house on a sunny day so you can get a good idea of how much natural light you can expect the house to have. In the winter, the direction the house faces can be the difference between dealing with tons of icicles and frost (or not!) 

Windows and Window Frames – Look at the state of the external window frames, as they can be a great indicator in terms of the condition of the rest of the house. If the windows have been well cared for and maintained, odds are the rest of the house has been cared for in a similar fashion. If you can push your finger easily into the wood of the window frame that indicates the wood is rotten. If you notice condensation between the two panes of glass, that is a good sign that they are faulty and need to be replaced.  

The Age and Condition of the Roof – Having a roof replaced can be a very expensive endeavor, and one you probably don’t want to experience with your newly purchased home. Newer roofs have a life expectancy of between 15 and 20 years, depending on which materials were used. If the home you’re considering has a flat or nearly flat roof, find out what material was used to seal it. Most roofs today are sealed with a waterproof membrane (as opposed to asphalt and gravel) which is effective at sealing all the seams and edges of the roof.  

Check for Dodgy Wiring/Number and Placement of Outlets – Bad wiring can be really dangerous, and having your new home rewired can be a very expensive undertaking. Make sure to pay attention to how many outlets are in each room and where they are placed. You should also make sure to check out the fuse board as it can give you a good indication of the state of the wiring in the home.  

While it is very important to keep these things at the top of your mind when you are looking at a potential new home, your best resource for ensuring the safety and quality of your new home is to have an experienced professional home inspector inspect the home. A licensed home inspector will know exactly what to look for and will be familiar with all the warning signs and indicators of possible issues. They will also be able to advise you on the maintenance costs and responsibilities of the home and what to keep an eye out for down the road. At Building Insights, we are uniquely qualified and bring a wealth of knowledge, experience, integrity and quality of service to each and every home inspection we do. Contact us for a free quote or to book your home inspection today!  


Things that Will Help Protect your Roof this Winter

While we look forward to spring, winter is still very much here with us. If you reside in Ontario, you are probably aware of the implications and effects that winter can have on your home and property. Snowstorms can cause significant damage to a roof, and this is why it’s important to take the necessary steps to protect your roof during the winter and prevent damage from occurring. There are a few things you can do to protect your roof and ensure it doesn’t suffer significant damage over the winter months. While these tips can be helpful, not everyone is able to conduct the appropriate visual inspections and subsequent preventive actions. In this case, contacting a qualified building inspector to advise you on the condition of your roof is a good option.  

Ensure your Attic is Properly Ventilated 

The long-term health of your roof depends greatly on the proper ventilation and insulation of your home, especially the attic. Effective insulation regulates the temperature in your home, which in turn helps to decrease heating costs and keep the outdoor winter temperatures at bay. Proper ventilation works to prevent moisture from building up, which can cause damage to the structure and interior of your home, as well as the materials that make up your roof. When you inspect your attic, ensure that all vents and other ventilation elements are in good working order and are not blocked by any items in the attic.  

Clean your Eavestroughs 

Your home’s eavestroughs (also known as gutters) protect your home from damage caused by water. They keep water away from the foundation of the home by controlling the flow of water during a rainstorm or thaw. If the eavestroughs are clogged, the flow of water will freeze, forming icicles around the home and potentially leading to damage to the foundation.  

During the fall and winter seasons, leaves accumulate in the eavestroughs. When the water can not drain properly, it overflows and can potentially result in damage to the roof, siding, and trim of your home. In some cases, the gutters might even fall off if they have collected too much snow or water. Ideally, the eavestroughs should be cleaned every spring and fall before winter sets in, as once the temperatures are below freezing, clearing them can be much more difficult.  

Clean your Roof 

Even if winter has already set in, it is never too late to take the time to remove debris from your roof. Cleaning your roof is as simple as climbing a safe and steady ladder and sweeping it with a broom as best as you can. There are some products available that are specifically designed to help with this process, such as a “Roof Rake.” This is something that should be done regularly (twice a year) to minimize the build-up of debris and help to keep your roof intact during the winter months. For some people, this task is too challenging, and they choose to hire a professional to clean their roof, which is a great option and will ensure that the roof is cleaned properly without causing additional damage.  

When heavy snow builds up on the roof, it can cause the roof to collapse, especially when the roof in question is flat. When snow isn’t removed and continues to build up, or should it melt and then refreeze, ice dams can start to form. As these ice dams appear and then melt as the temperatures warm up, significant water damage can result. To prevent the buildup of snow and ice on your roof, use a broom or rake with a telescoping handle to remove snow as it accumulates. Using chemicals to melt the snow is not recommended as they can cause major damage to shingles and other roofing materials on your roof. 

Do a Visual Inspection of your Roof Valleys and Shingles  

Once your roof has been cleared of excess snow and debris, you will be able to conduct a thorough visual inspection of the condition of your roof. Watch for cracks or damage to the shingles, and pay extra close attention to areas of your roof that are more prone to damage or leaks such as the areas around the chimney, vents, or skylights. If you do notice signs of damage, the shingles or entire roof may need to be replaced. If you manage to discover the damage before late fall, hire a professional to come and inspect the roof for you and repair any damage before the arrival of winter.  

Most roofing professionals recommend inspecting the condition of your roof and shingles every 6 months. It is a good idea to keep a record of all roof inspections that are done to protect the warranty on your roof and keep track of how often they are being conducted. A good rule of thumb is that if your roof is 15 years old or older or if your shingles are broken or missing, your roof probably should be replaced. 

Schedule a Routine Roof Inspection 

If doing all of this yourself sounds like more than you are able or want to do, you’re not alone. Many people feel uncomfortable cleaning their roof and eavestroughs as well as conducting a thorough visual inspection of their roof twice a year. This is where the professionals come in! An experienced and qualified home inspector is your best resource when it comes to inspecting and maintaining the condition of your roof, as well as preventing damage to your home during the winter. If you want to learn more about how to protect your roof for the winter and how Building Insights can help, contact us today! 


Should I Skip my Home Inspection?

Is it Bad to Skip a Home Inspection? 

Buying a new home is typically a lengthy process, and the stress that comes along with finding the perfect place to live can be overwhelming. By the time buyers find a new home that they love, they often feel exhausted with the market and the process and are ready to finish the sale as soon as possible. While it may be tempting to expedite the process and eliminate steps, cutting corners when it comes to your new home isn’t a good idea. One of the most important elements of the closing process on a home is the home inspection.  

Many people wonder: Are home inspections really necessary? The answer is pretty simple, while everyone has different ideas and preferences, everybody would agree that living in a safe and secure environment is highly important. Skipping a home inspection means you risk buying a home that may not be safe to inhabit or up to your standards, since many common issues within a home are easy to miss without a thorough inspection from a reputable building inspector. 

What are the Risks of Skipping a Home Inspection? 

Unknown Health & Safety Hazards  

The biggest risk that comes along with skipping a home inspection is that the home may have serious issues that could pose a health or safety risk to its inhabitants. Without conducting a home inspection, you lose the opportunity to learn about urgent safety issues that should be addressed before closing on the sale of the home. Concerns such as electrical hazards, fire hazards, possible mold or moisture, or carbon monoxide hazards could be identified. It is not uncommon for a home inspector to uncover major safety concerns when inspecting a home, oftentimes needing to be remedied immediately due to potential danger. Everybody wants a safe home, and leaving the safety of your home a mystery isn’t a great idea.  

Expensive Repairs or Replacements  

While some people might think that major structural or maintenance issues would be obvious or jump out to the untrained eye, the truth is most of the issues discovered through a home inspection are a surprise to the buyer (and often the seller as well.) 

Many of the problems that might deter a buyer from purchasing a home are hidden or disguised either by nature or by design. Because of this, it takes an experienced and knowledgeable home inspector to identify them. There are any number of deal-breaking problems that might be uncovered during a home inspection, with some of the more extensive issues (such as foundation problems) that might cost as much as $100,000 to fix or replace.  

The art of inspecting homes and buildings is actually a form of forensic analysis and it takes years and years to develop and hone these skills. Home inspectors possess a wealth of information and expertise who will provide information that would not otherwise be accessible.  

No Maintenance Plan / Preventive Maintenance for Home 

Unlike cars, homes don’t come with instructions or a maintenance manual. A home inspector can give you great advice about the preventive and future maintenance needs of the home which helps to ensure that the new owners are well informed.  

Knowing what big repairs or replacements may be coming up in the next several years can make it easier to plan financially and be ready when the time comes. Things such as roof repairs or replacements, or a new furnace can be costly, and being surprised by these costs is never fun. A home inspector can help you understand the entire home, inside and out, as well as equip you with what to expect down the road. This can be just as valuable as the discovery of major problems or defects with the home. 

Is it Smart to Buy Without an Inspection? When is it Okay to Skip a Home Inspection? 

In today’s hot real estate market, it is becoming increasingly common for buyers to put an offer on a home with no conditions, meaning they will take it as is and forgo any home inspection. With such a competitive market, many buyers wonder if they should waive the home inspection if it means securing the home you want. Experts agree that it is never recommended to skip a home inspection when purchasing a new home. When you buy without a home inspection, you are surrendering any legal contractual out should any major issues be detected. This means that the cost of any repairs or replacements falls only on the new owners.  

By skipping a home inspection you are also eliminating a powerful bargaining tool. Often inspection results are used as leverage during negotiations for the selling price and/or closing costs, resulting in a lower offer when defects are uncovered. With no inspection, the buyer is actually giving up what is often a very important bargaining chip.  

If you want to learn more about why you should never skip a home inspection or to schedule a home inspection, contact us at Building Insights today!  


Is My Foundation Failing?

When looking for a new home on the market, it’s always important to remember that there is no such thing as a ‘perfect’ home. Every home, whether it is a century-old or a brand new build, is more than likely to have some issues, ranging from cosmetic, to minor to major. However, one thing you definitely don’t want to encounter when you’re buying a home is issues with the foundation. It is very important to understand the most common signs of existing foundation problems, and a reputable home inspector is the best resource for identifying issues related to a home’s foundation. 

What are the Most Common Foundation Problems?  

Bulges and Curves – The presence of bulges or curves within block foundation or concrete walls are a good indicator of foundational movement. In Canada, our climate and extreme temperatures cause soil to contract and expand, which in some cases puts pressure on the foundation walls in turn. 

Cracking – Post-excavation, the soil surrounding the foundation of a home is loose. When the soil eventually settles causing nearby vibrations to occur, cracks in your foundation can happen. 

Leaking – If there are cracks in the foundation of your home, this can cause major problems. In most cases, plastic perforated piping (also known as weeping tile) is installed on the outside of the foundation footing to trap accumulating water. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always prevent moisture from getting in. Ultimately, when too much water gets into these cracks, you’ll find yourself with a leaky basement that becomes a damp, wet, and poorly ventilated space that has ideal conditions for mold to grow. 

What are the Warning Signs of a Faulty Basement or Foundation? 

During a pre-purchase home inspection, the home inspector will pay special attention to the foundation and will thoroughly inspect for signs of foundation problems. Ignoring these issues and hoping they go away is not a good option, foundation problems don’t disappear or resolve overnight! In fact, foundation problems will worsen over time, and while they may not pose an immediate threat to the safety of the home, they will likely become dangerous over an extended period of time if left uninspected and unaddressed.  

Some of the most common signs of foundation problems are:  

-Cracking of the Interior/Exterior Brickwork 

-Bowing or Honeycombing/Flaking of the Walls 

-Imbalanced, Uneven, or Sloping Floors 

-Gaps or Cavities between the Walls and the Floor or Ceiling 

-Dampness in the Walls or the Presence of Mold 

-Cracked Floor Tiling  

-Doors and/or Windows that no Longer Fit in their Frames  

It is normal and common for shrinkage cracks to appear in most poured concrete foundations, which are a result of the concrete drying and curing. These cracks typically are less than ⅛, of an inch, and are generally regarded as par for the course. That being said, taking the time to seal any crack (even the tiny ones) can be a great way to guard against water damage or leakage.  

What Causes Foundation Problems? 

Problems related to a home’s foundation can affect all types of foundations, whether it is poured concrete, pier and beam, or another type of foundation. Any type of structure can be affected regardless of how old or young the house is, so it is very important to understand the causes behind these types of problems and how they can be prevented.  

Foundation issues most often occur when there is movement of the soil beneath the structure. As movement occurs, the building will also be forced to move. This usually results in settlement cracks, which in turn can result in a water or moisture issue because of poor drainage. Sometimes, this movement is caused by extreme weather events such as an earthquake, hurricanes, or extreme temperatures.  

How Much does it Cost to Fix a Falling Foundation? 

The cost of repairing foundation issues can depend on the severity and extent of the problem. Repairing minor cracks, for instance, will cost a whole lot less than repairing a home that has settled or sunk into the ground. Generally speaking, crack repair in a foundation can cost between $500-1000 per crack. Fixing a foundation that leaks can cost as much as $8,000 or more. When there are major issues with the foundation of a home it can be very expensive, difficult, and stressful to fix. 

How Can a Home Inspection Help with Foundation Problems? 

Whether you are hoping to purchase a new home, or are concerned about foundation problems in your existing home, having a reputable home inspector conduct a thorough examination of the foundation is very important. The findings from the home inspection will help to inform you about your next steps and how the issue can be resolved. Just as you wouldn’t want to buy a car with faulty steering, you won’t want to buy a home with significant foundation problems either. A home inspection equips you with all the information you need to make the best decision about your home, or potential new home. If you want to learn more about foundation problems and how a home inspector can help, contact us at Building Insights today!   


Why Does My Basement Stink?

Have you ever started down the stairs towards your basement, only to be met with an unpleasant smell? Or have you brought things out of basement storage only to find they smell moldy or musty? While there are many reasons your basement might stink, it is essential to identify the source of the odor. In some cases, a basement becomes smelly due to an unresolved water or mold issue and this can be not only unpleasant but can pose a health and safety risk. In older homes especially, there’s a good chance that there will be some issue with moisture in the basement, which can result in some of these unpleasant smells. Even if you’ve installed a sump pump, it may not be enough to combat the moisture and mold. Sometimes these smells are related to blockages in the plumbing, vents, drains, or HVAC system. A reputable home inspector can help you determine the cause of the odor and advise you on what possible repairs or installations will work to remedy the problem.

Is it Normal for a Basement to Smell Musty?

Basements present ideal conditions for a mold or mildew problem, resulting in a musty smell that can be stubborn and difficult to remove. Because some (or all) of the walls of a basement are built underground, the cold, damp soil that surrounds the walls can leech moisture into the basement. Moisture can also get into a basement from improper drainage or standing water issues. Mold and mildew thrive in areas where there is substantial humidity. While it is not nice to have a stinky basement, it is a common issue, especially in older homes.

What Causes a Smelly Basement? Why Does the Basement Smell Like Sewage?

Some of the most common causes of a stinky basement are:

High Moisture Levels – Water and moisture will find a way into the basement if there is one. Whether that is due to cracks in the drywall or flooring, improper ventilation, condensation build-up, or standing water. High moisture levels can also be the result of appliances that were installed incorrectly or do not have adequate drainage and ventilation.

Sewage/Plumbing Issues – If your basement has a sewage-type odor (as opposed to a musty smell) there is likely an issue with the drains in the basement floor. These rarely-used floor drains in your basement are the most common source of the sewer smell. They are designed with a trap to hold a minimal amount of water which works to seal the pipe and prevent sewer gases from escaping into your home. Over time, that seal can break as the water in the drain dries up, and can result in the release of sewer gas into the basement and result in an unfortunate odor. In some cases, a sewage smell in a basement can be due to the sewer line being damaged. If the damage is close enough to your home, sewage water (and its smell!) can back up into your home.

Animal Smells – Sometimes, a smelly basement can be the result of something unrelated to moisture, drains, or sewage. The most common of these are animal smells. Whether it is cat urine, animal feces, or the smell of a decomposing animal, these odors can be incredibly potent and difficult to remedy.

How Do You Get Rid of Basement Smells?

The first and most important step towards a nice-smelling basement is to identify the source of the smell. Start by doing a visual inspection of your basement, keeping an eye out for any signs of standing water, moisture damage, or mold. It can also be helpful to identify what kind of smell you are experiencing, as that will help to narrow down the possible causes. In many cases, identifying the source of the smell can prove to be very tricky and should be left to a professional home inspector to identify.

Once the source of the smell has been identified, the next steps will depend on the cause and severity of the smell. A home inspector can not only help to identify the source but can also offer sound advice on how to proceed. Some basements may require significant repairs, reinforcement of the walls, or the installation of a sump pump. In some cases, the floor drains may need to be resealed or completely replaced.

Basement smells can be stubborn and upsetting, and getting rid of them isn’t always simple or easy. A reputable home inspector is your best resource when it comes to eliminating this type of problem. If you want to learn more about how a home inspector can help with a stinky basement or to schedule a home inspection, contact us at Building Insights today!


The Importance of Inspecting for Mold When Buying a New Home

For many people when considering the purchase of a new home, mold is the last thing they are thinking about. As potential buyers walk through a possible new home, they may be thinking about where their furniture will fit, how much work the yard will take to maintain, the amount of storage the home has, and other things of that nature. It is very important, however, to never overlook the possibility of the presence of mold. This can result in a very unwelcome and expensive surprise down the road. There are a few main reasons why it is so important to inspect for mold when buying a new home, the most significant is that mold can pose a serious health risk to the inhabitants of the home. It can also be expensive and stressful to remove the mold and repair damaged areas.

Can Mold in a Home be Dangerous?

The most important reason to check a new home for the presence of mold is that mold can carry some serious health and safety concerns. Mold is not only unpleasant to look at, it can also be very dangerous and can affect the structural integrity of the home.

There are some strains of mold, most notably toxic black mold known as Stachybotrys chartarum, that can result in serious health concerns, ranging from respiratory issues (such as coughing, wheezing, and a runny or congested nose), to skin rashes, chronic fatigue, and recurring headaches.

In addition to possible health risks, if mold is left untreated, it can cause significant structural damage to the home. By nature, mold consumes organic material, such as fabric, wood, and drywall which are in essence the materials that make up the structure of a house.

What Happens if a Home Inspection Finds Mold? What Happens if you Buy a House and Find Mold?

If the presence of mold is discovered before the purchase of the home is finalized, the buyer can often negotiate a credit or reduction in the home price for having the work and mold remediation done, or ask the seller to eliminate the mold themselves. If the mold is not discovered until after the purchase of the home is final, the cost to clean the mold and repair the damage is completely the responsibility of the new owner.

Is Treating for Mold After Purchasing Your Home Expensive?

In the situation that mold is found after the purchase of the home, the cost to remediate the issue can range anywhere from $700 to $7000 or more depending on how widely and severely the home is affected.

This financial cost comes in addition to the stress and effort involved with clearing out the space that is affected by mold, and ensuring that all materials in the space are effectively treated, and eventually getting everything back in place once the remediation of the mold is finished.

How is a Home Treated for Mold?

During the mold treatment, a specialist starts by cleaning the affected area including a large area around it. The specialist will then spray a chemical that works by trapping any spores that may still be in the air. Then they will use a special HEPA vacuum to clean the carpet and remove any other mold that may be present in the fibers of the carpet.

How Do You Know if a Home Should be Inspected for Mold? What are The Signs of Mold to Look For?

The most obvious sign that a home should be inspected for mold is the presence of any visible signs of mold – regardless of how minor or insignificant, they may seem. In the case where mold growth is visible, there are likely larger areas of mold growth that aren’t visible, and that area should be checked thoroughly by a mold inspector as soon as possible.

In some cases, where there is no visible mold, a home inspector may find signs of potential mold such as standing water around an HVAC system or in a basement, high levels of humidity in certain spaces, signs of water damage in the walls, floors or ceilings, and/or the presence of earthy or musty smells.

If any of these signs are present in the home, or your home inspector finds any areas of concern related to mold, it’s important to schedule a mold inspection with a specialist. It is also important to note that mold can be present even when there are no obvious signs or visible areas of concern within the home.

Always remember, mold isn’t only unsightly, it is also a significant health and safety hazard. Inspecting for mold is very important any time it may be suspected to be present, so you can move into your new home worry-free. A thorough and reputable home inspector will always take the care and time required to identify any areas of concern related to mold. If you want to learn more about how a home inspector inspects for mold and what you should do if mold is found, or to schedule a home inspection, contact us at Building Insights today!


What Should You Ask a Home Inspector?

Purchasing a new home can be very exciting, but it can also be nerve-wracking. Imagine falling in love with your dream home, only to discover a moldy basement or pest infestation when you move in. When it comes to buying a house, it is important for the buyer to have as much information as possible before closing the deal. This is where home inspectors come in! A home inspection is a very important step in the process of buying a new home and many buyers wonder if they should be present for the inspection. While it isn’t mandatory, most home inspectors will advise that potential buyers be present. This gives the buyer an opportunity to see everything first hand through the eye of the inspector, as well as ask any pertinent questions and highlight any particular areas of concern.  

What Questions Should I Ask During a Home Inspection? 

There are a few key questions you should be prepared to ask the home inspector before, during, and after the inspection has been completed.  

What Qualifications Do You Have?  

It is very important to ensure that the building inspector you are working with has the right credentials and qualifications to conduct a thorough and accurate inspection. You will want to find a home inspector who is appropriately certified, insured, experienced, and is a member of the Ontario Association of Home Inspectors. It is also important to note that trustworthiness and integrity cannot be awarded, bought, or certified, so do your research before selecting your home inspector. 

What Can You Tell Me About the Condition of the Roof? 

During the inspection of the roof, inquire about the condition of the shingles and whether any of them are buckling, coming away, or missing. You should also ask your inspector to evaluate the eavestroughs and the overall condition of the roof. If it should have significant signs of wear and tear or it is badly weathered it may need to be replaced.  

How Well Does Drainage Occur Around the Exterior? 

You and your inspector should take a walk around the exterior of the home and look for any signs of drainage issues such as standing puddles and looking to see that the ground slopes away from the home as it should. Your inspector will also look for missing downspouts or other areas of concern related to water drainage.  

How Well Has the Home Been Insulated? 

The quality and condition of the insulation of the home will have a direct effect on your heating and cooling costs. You will also want to know what kind of insulation is used and whether the basement is well insulated as well. A properly insulated basement is key when it comes to preventing mold and mildew.  

How is the Foundation and Structural Integrity of the Building? 

The building inspector will check the foundation of the house, ensure that the building is structurally sound and identify any cracks or damage they may find. If they do find any cracks, ask what kind of cracks they are as well as their size.   

How is the HVAC System in the Home? 

The building inspector will run the HVAC system during the inspection to make sure it is in good working order. You can also ask how old the system is and whether the system has been properly installed, serviced, and maintained. 

How is the Plumbing in the Home? 

The home inspector will look at all drains, faucets, toilets, water heaters, as well as the temperature and pressure of the water in the home. A good home inspector will also make note of any stains or signs of water damage as they may indicate an issue with the plumbing system.  

How is the Electrical in the Home? 

It is very important to ensure that the home’s electrical system is in good condition and up to code. The home inspector will look for such things as faulty wiring, location of outlets, parts that are worn or broken, upgrades or replacements that weren’t done correctly, or anything that could compromise the safety of the home and its residents.  

Did you Find any Signs of Mice or Other Pests? 

During the inspection, the inspector will also look for signs of a pest infestation or the presence of unwanted critters. These pesky creatures can cause major damage to the foundation and structure of the home.  

What Does a Home Inspector not Check? 

There are some things that a home inspector isn’t able or qualified to check. Some of these include chimneys and fireplaces, the presence of such things as mold (if not visible), radon, or asbestos, swimming pools, and septic systems. In most cases, inspections of these items must be conducted by a specialist.  

A home inspector will not move heavy furniture to access areas. If there is a particular area of concern, this needs to be communicated to the homeowner before the inspection so they can ensure access to the area.  

Essentially, a home inspection is a thorough visual and practical assessment of the home. Home inspectors don’t have x-ray vision so they cannot see what is beyond the drywall or under the floors.  

What’s Next? 

Once the home inspection is complete and you’ve received your report, it is important to take the time to go over the report thoroughly and ensure you understand all the information it contains. You can also contact the inspector after the fact to ask any questions you may have about the report or the home. It is the job of the home inspector to make sure you have all the information available to make the best decision about a home for your family. If you want to learn more about the building inspection process or schedule an inspection, contact Building Insights today!  


Should I get a Home Inspection on New Construction?

When purchasing an existing home, there is essentially no question about whether or not to get a home inspection. It is so important to cover your bases and make sure you have as much information as possible before submitting an offer. However, when it comes to new builds, this decision may not seem as straightforward, and many people wonder if a home inspection is really necessary. After all, why would you need an inspection on a home that is brand new, supposedly in perfect condition, and in some cases designed and built to your preferences? Experts agree that conducting a building inspection on a new build is incredibly important for several reasons. 

Is it Standard to Conduct a Home Inspection on a New Build?

The sale of a newly built home usually includes a final walkthrough, but may not include a home inspection. In most cases, buyers will opt to arrange their own inspection of a new build before closing the deal. In some rarer cases, buyers who have been very involved with the building and design process and have been present at the site throughout construction may opt to forego a home inspection because they feel they already have enough information about the state and quality of the home. Most experts agree, whether it is a house that is a hundred years old, or one that is brand new, a home inspection is a standard part of the home buying process. 

Why Should I Get a New Home Inspected?

Brand new homes are attractive to buyers because many assume that a new build will be completely free of issues. The truth is, it is relatively common to find problems in a new home simply because it is brand new. While you are unlikely to encounter problems with the plumbing or electrical systems in the home, as well as cosmetic or major structural issues, new homes can still have issues. Sometimes contractors work too fast or are doing the bare minimum to get the house up to code. In some cases builders or contractors are outsourcing smaller projects to several or many other vendors, making proper oversight of the entire project difficult. It is also important to remember that mistakes do happen, and problems can occur that would have been unavoidable. 

The bottom line is this: no one should assume that their home is perfect just because they are the first owners. 

What Kind of Issues Could be Uncovered on a New Build?

Some of the most frequently seen issues with the interior of a new build are: 

  • Humidity Inside the Home
  • Problems with Doors and Windows Sticking
  • Nail Pops in the Drywall
  • Flooring Issues
  • Appliances (particularly the installation should be thoroughly checked)
  • Truss uplift 
  • Cracks in the Drywall

When Can a Home Inspection Happen on a Newly Constructed Home?

A home inspection can be arranged at any time, and some people choose to schedule two inspections, one to take place before the drywall is installed (which allows the inspector to evaluate the framing of the house as well as the plumbing and electrical systems), and another to occur after the drywall is in place. This final inspection (if you choose to do more than one) should be scheduled as late as possible in the construction process, and ideally after the city has done its final approvals. 

If you encounter a builder who opposes or questions your choice to hire an independent home inspector, this should be viewed as a red flag and in no way should deter you from proceeding with the inspection. A reputable builder should have no issue with a home inspection taking place on their work. In fact, if they stand by their work, they will welcome a home inspection. 

As the buyer of the new build, a home inspection means that anything that needs to be rectified or repaired is the responsibility of the builder without the need for significant negotiation. If problems are found, the home inspector will simply advise the builder that they are not finished building yet and must deliver the quality of work they had promised.

The bottom line is, if you skip a home inspection on a new build you are foregoing the opportunity to have the builder fix any issues and you will ultimately have to pay out of pocket for repairs should they be necessary. It is never a bad idea to hire a reputable home inspector before you finalize the purchase of any home, whether you are the first owner or the 20th. Contact us today to learn more about inspections on new builds and how we can help you on your journey toward finding the perfect home for your family. 


What Fails a Home Inspection

A home inspection is a crucial part of the process of buying a home. The goal of a home inspection is to identify any problems or issues that exist within the home. This is a very important step for both the seller of the home and the potential buyer, and passing the home inspection is imperative to move forward with the sale. It is important to note that home inspections are not strictly a pass or fail as much as an in depth look at the quality and condition of the home. That being said, there are some issues that are widely considered to be ‘deal-breakers’ should they be found during a home inspection. When a home ‘passes’ the inspection it means that the home inspector did not find any major issues. It is the job of the home inspector to identify anything within the home that needs to be repaired or replaced.


What Could Cause a Home Inspection to Fail?

The things that will cause the most problems during a home inspection are those that pose a risk to the health and safety of the residents of the home. Some of the most common areas of concern that can result in a failed home inspection are:

Roofing Problems – Roofing problems can be some of the more expensive issues to fix, and are more likely to cause the buyer to lose interest or call off the deal. Over time, roofing materials can degrade and break down, which can result in leaks and water damage. These issues can be exacerbated by extreme weather, poor or incorrect installation or subpar materials.  

Moisture in the Basement – The presence of water or moisture in a basement is always a possibility, simply because basements are below ground. Water or moisture in a basement can damage concrete, brick, or stone and can also cause mold to develop. 

Problems with HVAC Systems – HVAC systems are a common source of issues discovered during a home inspection. Whether it is an issue with proper wiring, adequate exhaust systems,  or the functionality of the heating and cooling systems in the home, problems with HVAC systems can significantly affect the outcome of the home inspection. 

Moisture in the Attic – Poor ventilation or insulation in an attic can cause moisture to build up and can ultimately result in the presence of mold and mildew. 

Electrical Problems – The home’s electrical systems must meet the current standards. One of the most common issues identified with electrical systems during a home inspection is over-fused circuits. These can be very dangerous and in some cases can start fires. 

Damaged or Rotting Wood – Any wood that has been used in the construction and structure of the home can become damaged by moisture and age. This includes the wood used on decks, railings, and door and window frames. 

Structural or Foundation Problems – A stable foundation is one of the most important elements when ensuring the structural integrity of a home. Issues such as cracks in the foundation or damage to the home related to foundation problems can be dangerous and expensive to fix. 

Problems with Plumbing – When it comes to plumbing, it is quite common for a home inspector to find at least one issue with the plumbing system in the home. From leaky faucets to clogged drains, plumbing issues are frequently found during a home inspection. The good news is that in most cases, plumbing problems are relatively easy and inexpensive to repair. 

Faulty Masonry – Cracks in a chimney are among the most common issues related to faulty masonry in a home, and can often be caused over time and due to weather. If a crack exists at the base of the chimney and goes upward, this can be a sign of a major structural issue.


Do Home Inspectors Always Find Something Wrong?

If there is something wrong in the home, a good and thorough home inspector will always find it. In fact, it is very rare for a home inspection to occur without the inspector finding a single issue, even in new builds. Often, the issues are minor and inexpensive to fix, leaving the choice up to the seller whether they want to repair it themselves or offer the repair cost as a credit off of the price of the home. When major issues are identified that may be more involved and expensive to repair, it can affect the existing offer/deal and in some cases, if the seller is unwilling to compromise, kill the deal altogether.

It is in the seller’s best interest to identify and repair any existing issues and prepare the house as best as they can prior to the home inspection. Once an issue is identified through a home inspection, it can end up costing much more to fix by forcing the seller to drop the price of the home. 

Many sellers opt to do a home inspection prior to listing the house. This can help to identify exactly what needs to be done before the house is listed and the search for a buyer begins. This also eliminates any possible surprises down the road, which can prove to be stressful and costly. In some cases, the buyer will accept the home inspection done by the seller in lieu of conducting their own.

If you want to learn more about what fails a home inspection or what makes Building Insights uniquely qualified, professional and trustworthy, contact us today!



How to Prepare for a Home Inspection

Most of the things you might hear or read about home inspections are written about the buyer’s experience or point of view. But what about the sellers? What do sellers need to know about the home inspection process? As a seller, it is important to present your home at its best when
undergoing a home inspection. While there are some rather obvious or straightforward things a seller should do to prepare their home for an inspection such as making sure it is tidy and clean, there are some other things to consider in the weeks and days leading up to a home inspection.

How Should I Prepare My Home for a Home Inspection? What Should I Clean before a Home Inspection?

Check Systems are in Working Order – Ensure that the heating and cooling, electrical, plumbing, security, and any other systems in the home are working correctly and efficiently. You might also consider having your furnace, hot water tank, or air conditioning system evaluated.
Check Doors & Windows – Check all your doors and windows to make sure they open and close
properly and that all locks, latches, and doorknobs are functional.

Repair Damage – If there is any existing damage to the roof, flooring, drywall, or ceilings, it is a good idea to repair those prior to the home inspection.

Outdoor Maintenance – In the days leading up to the home inspection, take the time to trim any trees or bushes that may have become overgrown or potentially affect the roof or foundation of the house.

Clean & Tidy Up – On the day of (or the day before) it is a good idea to give your home a good clean and tidy, making sure the inspector can access all areas of the home. Remove or relocate any furniture that may be blocking access to doors, windows, or functioning systems within the home. It is especially important to ensure that the home inspector has access to:

-Main water line
-Hot water tank
-Attic hatch
-Electrical panel
-Air exchanger

Assemble Documents – If you have any documents related to the maintenance of your home such as warranties, reports of yearly checkups of your furnace or other systems, or invoices for repairs, gather them (or copies of them) together to leave out for the home inspector and buyer to review.

Should the Seller be Present for the Home Inspection?

In most cases, it is a good idea for the seller to make plans to vacate the premises for a home inspection. You should plan to be out of the house for at least 3 hours on the day of the inspection. You will also need to make arrangements to relocate any household pets for the duration of the inspection.

Do Home Inspectors Move Things?

Large pieces of furniture such as couches, beds, tables, and chairs won’t be moved during a home inspection. If the buyer has an area of concern that is covered or blocked by furniture that they want the inspector to evaluate, they must communicate to the seller before the home inspection date so that the seller may ensure access. Home inspectors will also not lift floorboards or carpets or damage drywall so they will not be able to inspect anything under the floor or within the walls.

Honesty is Always the Best Policy

If you are aware of issues within your home, it is best to be honest, and upfront with the buyer and the home inspector. Odds are, the home inspector will find it anyway and dishonesty will not help your relationships with the buyer or agents nor will it help you sell your home.

Covid 19 Measures

There are some additional measures you may want to consider as we navigate our way through the Covid 19 pandemic. Take some time to disinfect all your light switches, doorknobs, taps, and other ‘high touch’ areas prior to the inspection. It is also important to have all residents of the home vacate the premises so that the buyer and the home inspector can maintain physical
distancing and other protective protocols. If you or someone in your household is ill or quarantining related to travel or exposure to the Covid 19 virus, please reschedule your home inspection.

Whether you are a buyer or a seller, finding a high-quality, reputable home inspector is very important. Contact us today to learn more about Building Insights, our 100% satisfaction guarantee, or how we can help you with the sale or purchase of a home.