ORLANDO — The real estate market in Orlando is still red hot, which means plenty of buyers will be out looking for homes this fall, maybe even during the busy Christmas season. The lucky ones who find the home of their dreams could be moved in by the new year. What a great way to start 2020.
And if you are fortunate enough to find the home you want to spend the rest of your life in, here’s the next big question: have you arranged for the crucial home inspection — and do you know what to look for?
If you don’t, here’s a complete home inspection checklist to make sure your dream home doesn’t turn into a nightmare house.
Complete Home Inspection Checklist
Buying a home is a great experience; you find a house you’re in love with, the location is ideal, the neighborhood is charming. Just be certain you know what you’re getting for the price you settled on, because when it comes to homes, sometimes — just sometimes — exterior looks can be a bit deceiving.
Before you decide you’re totally in love with that house and can’t wait to move in, be certain to schedule a complete home inspection first. The small amount you’ll pay for your home inspection will be a sound investment if it turns up serious problems and repairs that are needed before you’ve signed on the dotted line.
What’s a Home Inspection?
Home inspections are vital for a reason. This is your opportunity to ensure your home is ready for your entire family to move into and has no hidden problems. You don’t want to be several months into the house and discover everything from leaks to termites, cracks in the foundation or other annoyances (or worse) that could force you to pay thousands and thousands in repairs if you skipped the inspection.
A home inspection is your chance to hire an expert who will walk through the home, then prepare a report for you. The report should include everything you need, including:
- The current condition of the home
- What needs attention/repairs
- Likely maintenance worked needed after you move in
That’s everything you need to know about the home you’re buying. You’re definitely going to want to know if the entire property, interior and exterior alike, is in perfect move-in condition — or has a long list of much-needed (and grim) repairs awaiting you. Don’t presume that if the house and the neighborhood seem perfect, you don’t have to worry about the inspection.
And here’s a checklist for you on the entire home inspection process.
Finding a Qualified Home Inspector
There are different ways to find a qualified home inspector. One is to go online and do some homework. The American Society of Home Inspectors is an ideal online source because they verify who is fully licensed in your state. Having a home inspection license is something you need to insist on before hiring someone.
It’s also advised that you check with your Realtor, family members and friends to see who they would recommend.
Next, once you select someone, have a checklist ready for your home inspector, that outlines areas of the home that you definitely want to be fully inspected.
Obviously, for starters, you want to include the home’s foundation.
Second, the roof is critical, and the attic or crawl space.
Third, make sure the home inspector is checking the grounds of the property, front and back yard alike. This is about more than whether your yard looks nice. A proper inspection of the grounds should ensure the home has proper drainage (remember how heavy it rains in Orlando all summer), and that there’s no leaks or evidence of standing water. make sure you’re moving into a house with sound exterior structures (fences, decks, etc.), and adequate railings.
Fourth, insist on a thorough inspection of the interior. When examining the rooms, look for warning signs. Be certain there are no stains on the floors, walls or ceilings; that the flooring material is sound; there are no cracks in the walls or ceilings; windows can open and shut easily; interior doors can latch properly; light switches operate properly; electrical outlets test properly; and heating and cooling systems work fine.
Next, don’t forget about inspecting the bathrooms. The key things to look for here include adequate water flow and pressure at all fixtures; proper drainage in the sink, tub, and shower; plumbing that’s in good condition; no signs of rust in metal appliances; toilet operates pr, andy; and there are no stains or evidence of past leaks.
That sounds like a lot to cover. But it’s not an exhaustive list. You could also recommend that your inspector check out any of the following:
- Trees and landscaping
- Lawn sprinklers
- Sewer line
- Swimming pool equipment
- Fireplace and chimney
- Internet service
- Floors covered by carpeting
- Roof or outdoor hardscape
- Mice, rats, or other rodents
- Wood-destroying pests, such as termites or carpenter ants
A Thorough Home Inspection is a Happy One
Once you’ve completed your home inspection and you’re satisfied that your home is fully ready to be happily lived in, you’re relocating into a property that you can truly feel secure about.
And hopefully, your new home lives up to your dreams for just how wonderful it’s going to be to live there.
Because again, in a really hot real estate market like the one in Orlando today, you may have to compete with a lot of other eager prospective buyers — and you want to be certain your house is fully ready for you and your family once you find one and your offer has been accepted.
Michael Freeman is an Orlando journalist, playwright and author of the book When I Woke Up, You Were All Dead. Contact him at Freelineorlando@gmail.com.