Home Inspections for Buyers
The home inspection is a common and wise part of the purchasing process; it also provides you an opportunity to examine the home with a professional. Don’t be afraid to ask the inspector questions about the house, no matter how basic they may seem.
What are Home Inspections for Buyers?
The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) defines a home inspection as “an objective visual examination of the physical structure and systems of a house, from the roof to the foundation.”
Buying a home may be one of the largest purchases of your life, and a home inspection will educate you about the condition of your newly built or previously owned home. Accompany the inspector during the inspection to learn about needed repairs, construction oversights, and maintenance tips.
A home inspection is not an appraisal (which determines the value of the property) or a municipal inspection (which verifies compliance with local building codes). Therefore, a house does not pass or fail an inspection, rather it receives an independent assessment of its current condition. Like other parts of life, houses have strengths and weaknesses. Inspectors know that things aren’t always what they seem and act in your interest to find major and minor deficiencies. They will issue a report clearly describing current and potential problems with recommendations for repairs and maintenance.
The seller may be willing to negotiate completion of repairs or a credit for completion of repairs, or you may decide that the home will take too much work and money. A professional inspection will help you make a clear-headed decision. In addition to the overall inspection, you may wish to have separate tests conducted for termites or the presence of radon gas.
Choose your home inspector wisely, as he/she plays an important role in choosing a dream home. You can select an inspector based on personal recommendations and on membership to ASHI and the North Carolina Licensed Home Inspectors Association.
“Nationwide disclosure requirements pertaining to lead-based paint have been in place since 1996. They are triggered whenever a home built prior to 1978 is either rented, transferred, or sold, thereby affecting approximately 9 million renters and 3 million homebuyers every year. These requirements apply to all transactions involving pre-1978 residential dwellings, except for: foreclosure sales; housing set aside for the elderly and housing set aside for the handicapped (provided no children under the age of six live there or are expected to live there); 0-bedroom units, otherwise known as studio apartments; efficiencies; lofts; military barracks; or dormitories; rental housing that has been inspected by a certified lead inspector and found to be free of lead-based paint; rentals of individual rooms; and leases for less than 100 days.” (National Safety Council)
Health Effects of Lead
Nationwide lead-based paint disclosure requirements are triggered when a home built prior to 1978 is either rented, transferred, or sold. This affects approximately 3 million homebuyers every year.
- Childhood lead poisoning remains a major environmental health problem in the U.S.
- Children who appear healthy can have dangerous levels of lead in their bodies.
- People can get lead in their body if they have oral contact with lead dust or breath in lead dust (especially during renovations that disturb painted surfaces).
- Lead is even more dangerous to children than adults.
- If not detected early, children with high levels of lead in their bodies can suffer from brain damage, learning and behavior problems, stunted growth, and hearing loss.
- Adults can suffer from pregnancy difficulty, reproductive problems, nerve disorders, memory problems, and muscle and join pain. (Environmental Protection Agency)
Health Effects of Radon Exposure
“No immediate symptoms. Based on an updated Assessment of Risk for Radon in Homes, radon in indoor air is estimated to cause about 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year in the United States. Smokers are at higher risk of developing Radon-induced lung cancer. Lung cancer is the only health effect which has been definitively linked with radon exposure. Lung cancer usually occurs five to twenty-five years after exposure. There is no evidence that other respiratory diseases, such as asthma, are caused by radon exposure and there is no evidence that children are at any greater risk of radon induced lung cancer than adults.” -Environmental Protection Agency
“Testing is the only way to know if you and your family are at risk from radon. EPA and the Surgeon General recommend testing all homes below the third floor for radon.” Environmental Protection Agency
U.S. Surgeon General Health Advisory
“Indoor radon gas is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States and breathing it over prolonged periods can present a significant health risk to families all over the country. It’s important to know that this threat is completely preventable. Radon can be detected with a simple test and fixed through well-established venting techniques.” January 2005
Subterranean termites are by far, the most common termites in North Carolina. Several subterranean species are native to North Carolina, but their biology and activity are essentially the same. The best method for the control of subterranean termites is prevention.
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