INSPECTIONS - EXTERIOR CONCERNS
If you've already read our report
entitled, "Home Inspections, Why You Should Have One",
you know that we recommend the use of a professional building inspector. This list of
exterior concerns, together with the report entitled "Interior
Concerns" is offered as a resource to help buyers roughly determine how much
attention a home may need. Knowing this information will be valuable in helping you
determine an appropriate amount to offer. Again, we encourage buyers to write all offers,
"subject to a professional building inspection that is satisfactory to the
buyer". Please, do not attempt to use these reports as a final authority in
determining whether or not a property is sound. While they may provide a good guide for
inspection, only a professional that is fully trained in home inspection is qualified to
spot the more inconspicuous problems that can occur in homes.
It should also be noted that most home inspections would reveal some problems in virtually
every home. Therefore, the primary purpose of home inspections is to protect the buyer
against major hidden defects, as well as create awareness of outstanding maintenance
issues to guide you in decisions related to property value.
1) Chimneys - Are there any signs of obvious
damage to the chimney that are visible from outside of the home? If it's a masonry
chimney, does it appear to be solid? Is it a Type A or a Type B chimney? Type A's
(insulated) have been known to collapse and cause dangerous carbon monoxide problems in
homes. Type B's are preferred for safety.
2) Deck - Note the overall condition of the
deck. Is it resting on concrete pilings or cement blocks away from the ground's moisture?
Is it in need of refinishing? Walk across all areas of the deck to look for rotten, spongy
areas that require attention.
3) Doors - What type of exterior doors are
currently on the home? Are they steel insulated or wood? What is their overall condition?
Do they seem to fit the opening well or do they bind when opened and closed? Is there
ample weather stripping? Note the condition of exterior trim for signs of rot.
4) Driveways & Walks - Check the driveway
and sidewalks for cracking. It should be mentioned that a certain amount of cracking is
considered common in concrete. However, if there seems to be an unusually large amount of
cracking and the concrete is now uneven, it may be a sign of more serious problems.
5) Eaves & Downspouts - Check the general
condition right around the house. Are there any apparent leaks? Are the downspouts
effectively directing water away from the house? What type of material are these items
made from? Are they maintenance free or will they require painting?
6) Fence - If the property is fenced, try to
determine it's overall condition and quality of construction. Wiggle fence posts in an
attempt to determine whether or not they are solid. It's not uncommon for fence posts to
rot within the ground and break off. Does the fence require paint or stain? Are the fence
boards in good condition?
7) Foundation - Take note of the condition of
the foundation, as visible from the exterior. Is it cracked? Is the foundation material in
good condition? Does the foundation seem to be true and straight or are there obvious
8) Garage - Examine the overall condition of the garage and the
integrity of the structure. Is the overhead door straight or does it sag and require
replacement? Is the garage wired? Does it have an electric door opener? Are there remote
controls that come with it?
9) Landscaping - Note the overall condition of
the landscaping. Is the yard well cared for or will it require lots of work to whip it
into shape? Can you handle the ongoing maintenance that this yard will require? Are the
trees and shrubs under control or in bad need of pruning? Are there underground
sprinklers? Does the grade seem to run away from the house or is it sloping towards the
10) Shingles & Roof - If the weather
allows, it's always a good idea to get on the roof and take a walk around. Does the roof
feel firm and reliable or are there areas that seem soft and spongy? Are the shingles all
the same color? Are there any obvious signs of weather damage? Are the shingles sitting
flat, or are they starting to curl? Are there adequate attic vents on the roof?
11) Siding - Be aware of the exterior finish
and the maintenance it will need over the years. Is there siding, stucco, or brick? If
there is siding, is it wood, aluminum, or vinyl? Is it all firmly attached to the house?
Are there any signs of deterioration like rot or sun fading? Does it presently need
12) Soffits and Fascia - Are they wood or are
they finished with aluminum? Are there any signs of rot? Is there adequate attic venting
on the soffits?
13) Underground Sprinklers - Test the
underground sprinklers to ensure proper operation. Are all sprinkler heads functioning
properly? Are they covering all areas of the lawn? Can they be adjusted fairly easily? In
the winter months, ask if they were blown out in the fall. Request a written statement
from the homeowner about their condition and verify as soon as possible in the spring.
14) Windows - Walk around the outside of the
home and examine the windows. Are they all securely fastened to the house? Are there any
signs of moisture damage or rot on the casings or window frames? Is there any refinishing
required? What type of material are they constructed from? Are they a reasonably good