Customary Buyer Home Inspections
A home inspection is a non-invasive, visual examination of a residential dwelling, performed for a fee, which is designed to identify observed material defects within specific components of said dwelling. Components may include any combination of mechanical, structural, electrical, plumbing, or other essential systems or portions of the home, as identified and agreed to by the Client and Inspector, prior to the inspection process.
Home Inspections Are Not Warranties. A warranty is a policy sold to the buyer that warrants that specific items in the home are in sound condition and will remain in sound condition for a specified period of time.
Radon is a colorless and odorless gas that is a known carcinogen. The gas comes from the natural decay of uranium that is found in nearly all soils. The gas typically moves up through the ground to the air above and into your home through cracks and other holes in the foundation. Exposure to elevated levels of radon gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. Radon gas is present in all homes at some level. The only way to be sure what the level is in your home is to test for it. Since radon gas levels fluctuate with the season and weather conditions it is recommended that repeat testing be done annually. EPA recommends homes be fixed if the radon level is 4 pCi/L (picocuries per liter) or more. Because there is no known safe level of exposure to radon, EPA also recommends that Americans consider fixing their home for radon levels between 2 pCi/L and 4 pCi/L. The average radon concentration in the indoor air of America’s homes is about 1.3 pCi/L.
Wood Destroying Insects
WDO is an Inspection for Wood Destroying Organisms. This inspection is more commonly referred to as a termite inspection. It’s called a WDO because termites are not the only wood destroying organisms in the world. The inspector will point out conducive conditions that could lead to a new termite infestation, or support an existing termite infestation, including firewood and other debris stored against the home, wood siding contact with the soil, and grade that does not slope away from the foundation. Other potential concerns may include mulching materials, landscape timbers and deteriorated wood in the home’s vicinity. The WDO inspector will provide detailed reports on the condition of the home, including notations of structural damage related to termites and other WDOs.
Well Flow Test
Well flow test is a test to determine if the well has enough water to supply a family of 4 people living in a house. Additionally, a well flow test determines if there is a problem with the well or its associated equipment such as the pump and storage tank that requires further evaluation or repair by a professional well contractor. The well flow test consists of running water from a bath tub or from an exterior hose bib, for a period of time. Typically FHA standards are used, which consists of running the well for 1-hour at the rate of 3 gallons per minutes. Measurements are taken periodically to calculate an average flow rate. The well flow test does not guaranty or warranty the well, or the condition of the well or related components. It is intended to determine the condition present at the time of the inspection and testing. The only test that does this is a “recovery test”, which is performed by a qualified well contractor.
Water Quality Testing
Water quality testing is recommended in any home with a private well or where lead water supply lines may be present. There are many possible water contaminates that may be in the drinking water at your home. Contaminates such as coliform bacteria, lead, nitrites, nitrates and other organic and inorganic material. What to test for is generally determined by the area the home is in and specifically what types if business and industry might be or has been present. All water quality testing is performed at local Laboratory.
A Septic Inspection consists of an inspection of the septic system and in most cases the pumping of the septic tank. Some go even further (recommended but more money) and inspect the drainage field. The Septic Company starts with locating the septic tank and any drainage field. They usually use a long rod and start poking around where they believe it is located based on the where the drain line is exiting the home. They will do the same thing for the drainage field. Once they locate the tank, they will start digging to locate the cover. You can save yourself some money if the Seller provides that information. (Have him mark the location of the septic cover and drainage field.) If it needs to be dug up, they typically charge a dollar per half hour for the digging on top of the cost of the septic inspection. Once the cover is located and dug up, it is opened, and the inspector does a visual inspection to make sure the affluent levels are where they are supposed to be. Some inspectors do a flow test into the tank and/or drainage field to make sure the system is operating as it should. The tank is typically emptied so the inspector can check the condition of the tank, see if there are any solids at the bottom of the tank (you don’t want solids at the bottom) and inspect the in-take and out-take baffles and affluent levels in them. If they have an issue with the tank inspection, they may recommend a flow test into the drainage field to make sure it is working properly. A tank replacement might cost $2500-$3500 but a failed drainage field could cost up to $25,000+/-. It is truly worth paying for a flow test into the drain field.
Lead Paint Testing
Homes built prior to 1978 may contain lead paint and ALL Sellers must provide you with a Lead Paint Hazards Addenda where he/she will tell you what they know about lead paint in their home. Most homeowners and/or home buyers don’t bother to test for lead so when they sell the home, they will fill out this form and say they have no knowledge and no reports. You will be asked if you would like to test yourself for lead paint or waive your opportunity to do so. If lead paint is found in the home, the homeowner will need to remedy the situation or at the very least disclose what they now know and you will have the choice to move forward or not.