As a prospective home owner, what key items should you look for when the inspection report comes back? How do you know what items might be potential deal breakers and which are simple repairs? I recommend you start by looking into these 4 categories of major home repairs.
1. Roof- How old is the roof? Has it had any previous repair? Have there been any leaks due to problems with the roof?
A standard roof life is 15-18 years and can cost between $6,000 and $16,000 to repair, depending on the size of the home and on insurance coverage.
2. Foundation- Has there been any significant shifting or cracks along non-natural seam lines? Does the floor dip or shift in some parts?
You are looking for the inspection report to say that there has not been any standard significant movement of the foundation.
3. Electrical- Is the wiring aluminum or copper? Copper wiring is more widely used in homes today due to its greater conductivity and heat resistance. Aluminum wiring can still be found in some older homes. Aluminum is much harder to repair than copper wiring, does not conduct energy as well, can tend to overheat and cause damage, and greater care has to be taken to install it properly in the home.
Ideally you are looking for the inspection report to say that the home uses copper wiring and that no significant electrical issues were detected.
4. Plumbing- Is the plumbing cast iron or PVC?
Cast iron plumbing will eventually rust from the inside out and should be cleaned out annually to remove build up. Cast iron was used heavily in construction during the WWII era, so many older homes might have cast iron plumbing in use. Cast iron is not a deal breaker, but it requires more upkeep and maintenance and can require contractors to dig underground through the slab to get to the pipes.
Look for the use of PVC piping in the inspection report. If cast iron is used, make sure you understand how it can be accessed for future inspection and repairs and get the inspector to give you a status report on the integrity and lifespan of the cast iron used.