How High Tech Is Your Home?
If the latest technology or entertainment options are important in your new home, add the following questions to your buyer’s checklist.
1. Are there enough jacks in every room for cable TV and high-speed Internet hookups?
2. Are there enough telephone extensions or jacks?
3. Is the home prewired for a home theater or multi-room audio and video?
4. Does the home have a local area network for linking computers?
5. Does the home already have wiring for DSL or other high-speed Internet connection?
6. Does the home have multizoning heating and cooling controls with programmable thermostats?
7. Does the home have multi-room lighting controls, window-covering controls, or other home automation features?
8. Is the home wired with multi-purpose in-wall wiring that allows for reconfigurations to update services as technology changes?
Hidden Home Defects to Watch For
No home is flawless, but certain physical problems can be expensive. Watch for:
1. Water leaks. Look for stains on ceilings and near the baseboards, especially in basements or attics.
2. Shifting foundations. Look for large cracks along the home’s foundation.
3. Drainage. Look for standing water, either around the foundation of the home of in the yard.
4. Termites. Look for weakened or grooved wood, especially near ground level.
5. Worn roofs. Look for broken or missing copings and buckled shingles as well as water spots on ceilings.
6. Inadequate wiring. Look for antiquated fuse boxes, extension cords (indicating insufficient outlets), and outlets without a place to plug in the grounding prong.
7. Plumbing problems. Very low water pressure, banging in pipes.
10 Questions to Ask a Home Inspector
1. What are your qualifications? Are you a member of the American Association of Home Inspectors?
2. Do you have a current license? Inspectors are not required to be licensed in every state.
3. How many inspections of properties such as this do you do each year?
4. Do you have a list of past clients I can contact?
5. Do you carry professional errors and omission insurance? May I have a copy of the policy?
6. Do you provide any guarantees of your work?
7. What specifically will the inspection cover?
8. What type of report will I receive after the inspection?
9. How long will the inspection take and how long will it take to receive the report?
10. How much will the inspection cost?
What Your Home Inspection Should Cover
1. Siding: Look for dents or buckling
2. Foundations: Look for cracks or water seepage
3. Exterior Brick: Look for cracked bricks or mortar pulling away from bricks
4. Insulation: Look for condition, adequate rating for climate
5. Doors and Windows: Look for loose or tight fits, condition of locks, condition of weatherstripping
6. Roof: Look for age, conditions of flashing, pooling water, buckled shingles, or loose gutters and downspouts
7. Ceilings, walls, and moldings: Look for loose pieces, drywall that is pulling away
8. Porch/Deck: Loose railings or step, rot
9. Electrical: Look for condition of fuse box/circuit breakers, number of outlets in each room
10. Plumbing: Look for poor water pressure, banging pipes, rust spots or corrosion that indicate leaks, sufficient insulation
11. Water Heater: Look for age, size adequate for house, speed of recovery, energy rating
12. Furnace/Air Conditioning: Look for age, energy rating; Furnaces are rated by annual fuel utilization efficiency; the higher the rating, the lower your fuel costs. However, other factors such as payback period and other operating costs, such as electricity to operate motors.
13. Garage: Look for exterior in good repair; condition of floor-cracks, stains, etc.; condition of door mechanism
14. Basement: Look for water leakage, musty smell
15. Attic: Look for adequate ventilation, water leaks from roof
16. Septic Tanks (if applicable): Adequate absorption field capacity for the percolation rate in your area and the size of your family
17. Driveways/Sidewalks: Look for cracks, heaving pavement, crumbling near edges, stains
How Comprehensive Is Your Home Warranty?
Check your home warranty policy to see which of the following items are covered. Also check to see if the policy covers the full replacement cost of an item.
Swimming Pool (may be optional)