Take a Closer Look

Take a Closer Look

Older homes often require more – and more expensive –maintenance. Routine checks of the foundation, roof, and pipes are essential to avoid costly issues.

Home inspections usually are reserved for the home-buying process. However, experts say regular home inspections are necessary to help protect your investment, and it’s a good idea to get an inspection every few years, especially if you live in an older home.

Sean Thompson, a licensed home inspector and owner of Thompson Home Inspection in Portland, Ore., says most problems in older or rough-around-the-edges homes can make themselves known through clues, and those clues can help homeowners fix a potential problem before it’s an emergency.

David Wilsey, owner of A 2 Z Advanced Home Inspections in Charleston, S.C, says it’s vital to choose the right inspector in order to get the right results. “You should take the time to call that inspector and qualify them,” Wilsey says.

One way to make sure an inspector is thorough is finding out how long the inspection will take. “Without tipping off the inspector, I would ask how long the inspection will last,” Wilsey says. “If they suggest 90 minutes or less, you might want to consider finding some other recommendations.”

Here are some places where getting a thorough inspection – and an inspector’s fix-it recommendations – can help save your bacon:

  • Foundation
    • Most homes settle over time, so any cracks along the edge of the foundation are not an immediate cause for concern, but if there are cracks wider than a quarter of an inch, there might be deeper issues on the horizon.
  • Roof
    • What you want to look for is any sign of moisture. If you see dark patches on the wood in the attic, the roof is not doing its job to keep water out.
  • Plumbing
    • Because pipes are enclosed within walls, visually inspecting them is difficult. Turn on the sinks and showers throughout the home to see if there’s good flow. Wilsey also suggests taking a look under the bathroom cabinets or kitchen sink. Look for obvious stains from leaking water.
    • If you notice any metal pipes with rusted joints, that’s a sign that the pipe is slowly deteriorating. Open a nearby faucet and see if any orange water comes out.
  • Insect Damage
    • An insect infestation can sound scary, but our experts told us it might not have lasting consequences. The first thing to look for is sawdust, shavings, or droppings in the home. These can be signs of an active infestation. “As long as its treated by a pest contractor, the wood is usually in good shape to stay where it is,” Thompson says.

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