Home Inspection | What Buyers Need to Know
What should buyers be looking for in an inspection?
In today's competitive housing market, the inspection contingency in a buyer's offer is often the most significant contingency. With the aim of making their offer more attractive, many buyers are tempted to waive or forgo their inspection, hoping it will give them an edge in securing the home. However, it's essential to understand the potential pitfalls associated with waiving an inspection. In this blog post, we delve into the crucial inspection items that buyers often overlook in their pursuit of winning a house in today's market.
Section 1: Pitfalls of Waiving Inspections
When buyers choose to waive their inspection, they may unknowingly expose themselves to several risks. While the decision might seem enticing in a competitive market, it's vital to consider the potential consequences. Let's explore some common pitfalls buyers can encounter when waiving their inspections:
Section 2: Overlooked Major Inspection Items
Buyers who forgo inspections need to be aware of the major inspection items they might be neglecting. These items, if left unchecked, can quickly become costly and troublesome once the buyers move in. Here are the seven significant ticket items that often require repairs exceeding $20,000:
- The Chimney needs to be Rebuilt
A damaged chimney poses safety risks to the occupants of the home. If the chimney is unstable, it may collapse, potentially causing injuries or property damage. Additionally, a deteriorated chimney may not effectively contain smoke, gases, or sparks, increasing the risk of fire or carbon monoxide exposure. A chimney rebuild is likely the most expensive repair item a buyer can have typically exceeding $20,000 in repair costs in Milwaukee’s North Shore.
- The Roof Leaks
A leaking roof is a significant red flag for potential buyers. It suggests that the property may have underlying issues and requires immediate attention and repair. A leaking roof can lead to significant structural damage to the home. Water intrusion can weaken the roof structure, including rafters, trusses, and supports. Over time, this can compromise the integrity of the entire roof system, potentially leading to sagging, bowing, or even collapse.
- The foundation shows signs of water intrusion
Water that seeps into the foundation can cause structural damage over time. When soil becomes saturated, it expands, exerting pressure on the foundation walls. This can lead to cracks, shifting, or even foundation settlement. As a result, the stability and integrity of the entire structure can be compromised. This often is an indication that drain tile may need to be replaced and a sump pump added for adequate drainage. The estimate of a repair like this is approximately $8,000 to $15,000 depending on the size of the compromised area.
- The foundation is out of plumb
It is crucial for buyers to consult with a qualified structural engineer or foundation specialist to assess the extent of the out-of-plumb foundation and determine the appropriate course of action. They can provide insights into the severity of the issue, recommend necessary repairs, and provide estimates for the associated costs. Addressing foundation problems promptly is essential to ensure the long-term stability and safety of the home.
- The gutters overflow
The primary function of gutters is to collect rainwater and direct it away from the home's foundation. When gutters overflow, water can spill over the sides and accumulate around the foundation, leading to water damage. Over time, this can result in foundation issues, basement flooding, and moisture intrusion into the walls, which can cause structural damage and promote mold growth.
- Electrical is outdated – especially Knob and Tube
Safety concerns surround knob and tube wiring. It was commonly used in older homes built before the 1950’s and is still prevalent in Milwaukee’s older North Shore Homes. This type of wiring is considered hazardous and poses significant safety risks. It lacks the grounding conductor found in modern electrical systems, increasing the risk of electrical shock and fire hazards. Additionally, knob and tube wiring insulation can deteriorate over time, exposing the wires and increasing the potential for electrical faults. NOTE: This type of wiring is flagged by homeowner’s insurance. If you waive your right to an inspection and your new purchase has knob and tube wiring, you may not have an insurable property, thereby making electrical probably the biggest red flag to waive on inspection in Milwaukee.
- Galvanized Piping – low water pressure and restricted flow
Galvanized piping is made of steel coated with a layer of zinc to prevent corrosion. However, over time, the zinc coating deteriorates, and the steel pipes can begin to corrode and rust from the inside. This corrosion can cause the interior diameter of the pipes to shrink, leading to restricted water flow and reduced water pressure throughout the home. When galvanized pipes develop leaks or other issues, repairs can be challenging and costly. The corrosion often extends beyond the visible signs, making it difficult to identify the extent of the damage. Repairs may require replacing sections of the piping or, in severe cases, a complete re-piping of the plumbing system.
While waiving a home inspection may seem like a strategic move in a competitive housing market, buyers should be cautious about the potential pitfalls they might encounter. It's important to be aware of the major inspection items that can be overlooked in the process. Understanding the potential risks and the financial implications of these overlooked items can help buyers make informed decisions and protect their investment in the long run. Remember, a thorough home inspection is an invaluable step in ensuring your new home is safe, sound, and free from hidden issues.
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