Inevitably, you buy a house in one season, yet the house will continue to exist through the other seasons. This is an important thing to keep in the forefront of your mind when looking at a home inspection report. Plan for the seasons ahead when considering what requests you will make of the seller during the home purchase process.
Each part of the year brings different challenges to a building structure. Summer is hot and humid, fall causes a change in temperature and brings leaves to the ground, winter brings freezing temperatures, snow, and frigid winds, and spring will often bring lots of rain. When looking at the recommendations of your home inspector, try to think of them in light of the stresses of each season, however easy it is to imagine that winter is very far off, or that maybe you will have more free time than usual for home improvements between now and spring rains. Many of the issues that your house is currently presenting may not be relevant to the current weather, but they will be soon enough. For example, if your inspector has mentioned that the pipes running through an exterior wall are uninsulated, the water may be free flowing between now and your closing in June, but perhaps the lack of insulation will cause those same pipes to freeze in January.
YOUR HOME INSPECTOR’S OBSERVATIONS ARE VALUABLE CLUES. I know it may seem boring, but please read your entire home inspection report. If you have someone else, perhaps a friend or family member who has more experience or expertise, preferably a long-time homeowner, ask them to read the report also, and get their thoughts. Some things that are written in the report may not seem like a big deal, but if there is a comment written, it may mean that it needs your attention. Often the inspector is unable to fully see an element of the house, such as a wall, or a pipe, or an appliance. But if he mentioned that something that he couldsee is out of the ordinary, make sure you examine it again. You may not be thinking about the diversity of stresses that a variety of seasons put on a house, but a good home inspector certainly is.
INVESTIGATE FURTHER NOW, OR DON’T BE SORRY LATER. I can’t tell you the number of people I converse with that tell me, “I wish we had had a good home inspector that would have noticed a certain thing and told me about my major house problem!” But, even more heart-breaking, I occasionally hear, “I wish I had read my home inspection report, the inspector mentioned the issue I later spent thousands on repairing.” Many times, when I see a section of a house that concerns me, but I can’t view the whole system, I will write something like, “consult with a licensed contractor (plumber, electrician, carpenter, etc.) for further investigation.” By the standards of practice of a home inspection, I am limited to a visual inspection and often cannot probe deeper, but if I see that something is off, a licensed contractor would be allowed to come in and investigate more thoroughly, and with more specific expertise. If you are going to have a hard time making a major repair to your home if something is wrong, and an issue is flagged in the home inspection report, spend a little bit of money now on a specialized inspection, don’t be sorry later.
CALL YOUR HOME INSPECTOR WITH QUESTIONS. Are you confused about the language in the report? Did the inspector mention something about insulation, but you have no idea what they are talking about? Contact the inspector. At Nest Home Inspection, we pride ourselves on being available to our customers after the inspection to answer questions or give more information. I don’t expect you to be an expert on houses like I am; if you were, you wouldn’t have needed to hire me. I know a lot, I’ve seen a lot, I constantly do research and participate in continuing education. I can be a really valuable resource to you, and I can explain further if you need me to.
The home inspection can be one of the most important elements of your closing. A good report can give you valuable information about your new house and protect your future quality of life by helping you become aware of the true condition of your home. But a report is only as good as the inspector who writes it. Protect yourself, and your investment, call Nest Home Inspection when you find the house you want to buy.
Often a home inspection report will mention that the gutters of a particular house need to be cleaned. Gutter cleaning is likely to show up in the summary of an inspection report or make its way onto a recommended repair list from a home inspector. Gutter cleaning seems like no big deal, you can get it done once you take possession of the house, it’s a regular maintenance issue, why bother the sellers with such a minor repair request? Well, depending on the situation, it may be worth reprioritizing this item as a part of your home purchase.
GUTTERS ARE IMPORTANT. The purpose of gutters is to divert water away from your house to prevent moisture penetration from causing damage. Often, overloaded gutters put stress on the connection points to the house and heavy debris can bend the gutters out of shape. Eventually, full gutters will overspill with runoff, causing water to exit the gutter before making it to the downspout, pouring water where it shouldn’t be. Did the home inspection report mention moisture in the basement? The gutters may be at least part of the culprit if they are not operating properly, or if the downspouts are not diverting water far enough away from the house.
GUTTER CLEANING CAN BE EXPENSIVE. Gutter cleaning companies have to pay to hire and ensure people to climb ladders, often to very high heights, to get to your gutters. Maybe you only have to climb out a window to reach your gutters and you can do it yourself, but if your house is tall, and the gutters are less accessible, it may be a bigger job than you realize, and a service will charge you accordingly. It is common for families to be tight on finances in the couple of months following a home purchase, are you sure you will be prepared to spend money on gutter cleaning in the hectic months after moving into your home? Asking the home seller to clean the gutters before you come gives you a clean slate and buys you a couple of months of deferment of this cost and hassle while you settle in.
GUTTER CLEANING REVEALS PROBLEMS. When a gutter service cleans the gutters of a home, they get to see up close how the gutters are adjusted, how well they are secured to the house, and what condition they are truly in. This can be very helpful to have done before the closing, rather than finding out about problems later.
BE SURE TO PAY REGULAR ATTENTION TO YOUR GUTTERS. Small amounts of water on a roof can produce large numbers of gallons of water saturating the soil around your house and exposing your foundation, decking, and other exterior home elements to amounts water that they may not be designed to handle. Gutters should be regularly maintained and monitored throughout the life of a house, gutter condition is an issue that will be of ongoing concern to a homeowner.
SOME THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND:
-Gutters should be properly sized for the house. A house needs the proper amount of gutters and outlets to prevent runoff.
-The gutters themselves need to be in good, sturdy condition. Rust and holes are a sign that gutters may need to be replaced. Bending, misshapen gutters or gutters that are not securely attached to the house could be problematic.
-The angle of the gutters should be steep enough to cause water to efficiently run toward the outlets.
-Downspouts need to divert water 4 to 6 feet away from the foundation of the house. Often the downspouts fail to release the water far enough away from the perimeter of the house. This is not an expensive fix, but be sure this is dealt with immediately if your home inspector sites it in his report.
To make sure you find out what you need to know about the gutters of your home, hire Nest Home Inspection to perform your inspection. I personally have installed and repaired gutters countless times as a contractor, and I understand the challenges and potential hazards. Keep your home investment safe by finding out what your need to know, schedule an inspection with Nest today!