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Home Buying Tips ~ Inspecting Your Morris Plains Home

Once you've found the perfect home, you'll want to try to evaluate how well the property has been maintained over time, carefully review all property disclosure documents and do a more thorough examination of the property for any hidden surprises aka hiring a home inspector to inspect your 'dream home'.  Most people (almost 80 percent) have their homes inspected prior to purchasing and hiring a professional inspector will protect your investment.

All home inspections are different and can vary dramatically from state to state, as well as across counties and cities.  Once you've completed your Attorney Review period, you should have the home inspected immediately.  Timing is crucial during the home buying process.

How Much Does The Inspection Cost?  "This is often the first question prospective home buyers ask a home inspector. (Asking the inspector about their qualifications, experience and how they get most of their business, should be the first questions.) In home inspection, one size does not fit all. The level of experience and talent of home inspectors varies. The size and age of homes varies. Some homes / condos can be inspected in 2 to 3 hours. Older, larger homes can take 4 or more hours. Some inspection reports might take an hour or two to complete, while others might take 4 hours or more.

Some so called "informational" web sites state that home inspection fees run from $175 to $300, however, these "low" fees are usually based on an inspector doing 2 or 3 inspections per day. If a thorough inspection and report takes around 5 to 6 hours, how "thorough" is the inspector who does 3 inspections & reports in one day?

Inspectors quote inspection fees using different criteria or methods. Some charge a flat rate, others charge by the square foot of living area. Some charge by square foot of area under the roof, some charge by the price of the house and others charge by the amount of time spent (which is reflective of not only size but condition.) Some consider detached garages as part of the main house and do not charge for them (but may include the square footage into the overall size calculation) while others consider detached garages as outbuildings and charge extra for them.

Some inspectors charge for all the optional items, others charge for some of them, others will not inspect for certain items such as swimming pools or septic systems. Most inspectors have a minimum charge for their services. In some parts of the country the "general rule" of $100.00 per hour applies. Some charge for mileage from their location to the inspection site. Some inspectors maintain web sites where a prospective client can submit information about the property and receive a quote by e-mail.

Money: Let's put home inspection fees in perspective: If you're buying a $400,000 house and the inspection fee is $700, that's less than .2% of the cost of the house! Most real estate agencies charge 3% to 6% to sell a home, that would be $12,000 to $24,000 for a $400,000 house! The cost of a home inspection is a bargain, even if you paid $1500 for the inspection, and most are less than half that!

Aside from the time invested, the value of the inspection and report can be measured by its usefulness. If the inspection turns up little wrong with the house, you've bought some relatively inexpensive peace of mind. If the inspection finds serious problems, your $600 could end up saving you many thousands of dollars." {courtesy of http://www.independentinspectors.org/fees.html}
More info on what to expect on a Home Inspection {http://www.onlineorganizing.com/}

check the existing condition of all systems and equipment
look for unusual features that may increase or decrease appeal of the home
examine the general quality and condition of the structure
inspect routine repair and maintenance items
bring a powerful flashlight to use in basements and crawl spaces
bring a stepladder to check attic, underside of the roof, and light fixtures

make sure that all doorways, stairs, and walkways are free of obstructions
all stepping stones should be firm
railings should be steady
check external doors for good weather-stripping and thresholds
make sure doors are level, easy to open and close, with good hardware

make sure that spouts drain away from house
yard should slope away from the house to draw water away
earth should be at least 6-8 inches below top of concrete foundation
make sure gutters are well-attached and in good condition
look for a wet basement or crawl space

check for water damage, especially around plumbing fixtures
test for soft spots in floor
check under house for water-damaged floorboards and supports
check the condition of the floors or carpet
check for moisture damage to parquet floors
check for cracks, shifting or settling
see if house is bolted to foundation (earthquake safety)
make sure mudsill is in good condition and dry
check if foundation has been retrofitted
look for structural problems like cracks in the basement floor

check for crumbling mortar around brickwork
look at stability of chimney
check for obstructions
make sure flue is lined with terra cotta (brick is in violation of most codes)
check to see if there is a working damper in the fireplace


make sure furnace thermostat is operational
check the furnace venting
find out the ages of the heating and cooling equipment
ask about any problems the occupants may have had with the systems
run both the furnace and air conditioning to check output
check for attic insulation -- walls probably will be insulated too


make sure furnace thermostat is operational
check the furnace venting
find out the ages of the heating and cooling equipment
ask about any problems the occupants may have had with the systems
run both the furnace and air conditioning to check output
check for attic insulation -- walls probably will be insulated too

check that kitchen appliances and faucet are operational
check for asbestos, radon gas, and lead
check for cracking or peeling paint
check for attic ventilation (1 sq. ft. for each 150 sq. ft. of floor space)


look for termite and beetle holes in wooden supports and under house
check attic vents for hornet or wasp nests
check for rodent droppings in cupboards and under house
look for chew holes in roof, eaves, and wiring from squirrels


check for leaks around pipes and fixtures
test water pressure (turn on more than one faucet at once)
test hot water pressure (same method)
check walls around shower and for water damage
look for rust or leaking around hot water heater
make sure water heater is up to code
check the water pressure and see if there is enough hot water
find out the age of the water heater
ask whether the hot water system has been updated in any way


check for leaks or conditions that might lead to leaks
make sure no trees touching or overhanging the roof
look for dry rot or other problems around overhangs
check condition of shingles
find out the age of the existing roof


make sure cleaning and filtering system works properly
test thermostat
check for leaks or cracks


check the condition of drywall walls and ceilings
pay particular attention to the condition of taped joints
look for waves or cracks in the walls or ceilings
look for water spots from leaks in the roof
look for settlement cracks in walls


check for dry rot on panes, sills and frames
check for cracks in glass
make sure windows open properly
check that windows seal tightly and check caulking
check for moisture damage inside
see if bedroom windows are large enough to escape through in case of fire
open the windows to ensure that they are not painted shut
check casement window to see if the hardware is working properly
see whether double-hung windows have broken sash cords


test outlets, light sockets and switches to ensure they work properly
check to see if system is updated -- 3-prong outlets, circuit breakers, etc.
look for GFI (Ground Fault Interrupt) outlets in bathroom and kitchen
look for broken or loose outlets
test light fixtures
check blown fuses, overloaded circuits, broken outlets, or flickering lights

Again, it's best to consult with your certified inspector and review the report and findings.  We hope this helps guide you a little better when setting up your home inspection.

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