If you are a real estate owner, you know that your property is like a living being, and as such constantly needs attention. How can you be sure that what you have isn’t past the point of saving, and how do you keep up with what needs to be done? In today’s market, making sure your property is attractive is important, regardless of if you are selling or leasing your property out. One major item that will need to be addressed is a property inspection, but considering how costly they are, some property owners have resorted to “self” inspections rather than bring in a contractor. While a contractor or professional inspection team is the way to go and always recommended, here are some things you can do to make sure your property is up to snuff.
Walk your property
Walk the total of your property each week if possible. Pay attention to the siding, the roof, gutters and any wires that may be hanging out of place. Pay close attention to the base of the house- are there cables hanging out from under it? Do you see any cracks or discoloring in the foundation? Catching these things early could save you on repair costs later.
Check your crawl space
Most homes that don’t have a basement at least have a crawl, and unfortunately this crawl is usually a problem. You want to check for flooding, massive infestations of ants or termites, and also check any pipes or wires that may be visible. Also, make sure that your foundation wall is sound and not in need of repairs or replacement. Check any entrances as well. If you have a hole leading to your foundation, this will undoubtedly cause water to accumulate, which means not only a pricey pumping, but also a need for a mold inspection.
Check your vent system
HVAC vents are supposed to be checked and cleaned on an annual basis. If they are not, mold will form in your ventilation system. Fortunately, the vents are probably the easiest place to remove mold from. Also, make sure your HVAC receives an annual inspection, and that you change your filter at least once a month. As far as vents themselves go, check any foam filters that might be in place and clean/replace as needed.
Look in the attic
The attic is usually the first place hit by water damage. Fortunately, your average attic can get up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the day, so the water tends to evaporate pretty quickly. Unfortunately, if your attic isn’t properly ventilated, this can stay and massive amounts of mold can form. Make sure that any ventilation system that runs into the attic has a proper outlet and doesn’t just belch moist air into your home.
How old is the property?
Has the property gone under any renovations?
What repairs have been made to the property?
What is the current age of the electrical wiring in the property?
What type of electrical interface (fuses or circuit breaker) will you be dealing with, and what are the power output recommendations for both box and lines?
Is the house properly insulated?
What is the age of the HVAC system?
What type of heating system do you have (steam, electrical, gas)?
Does the home contain a sub pump, and what is its condition?
What is the condition of the padding under the carpets?
Is there a septic tank, and what is its age?
Have any pest inspections and/or treatments taken place?
This last one comes with a neat trick: walk around the property and look at the concrete base. If you see what look like filled-in holes periodically around the base, then the house has undergone an industrial-level fumigation at least once. This is a good question to ask if you have young children or pets.
Get a second opinion
Many times, walking through a home will give you a massive leg up on what needs to be done before you sell or lease, however you aren’t going to catch everything. A professional house inspector will even go so far as to remove a light switch panel and see if flathead or pointed screws were used (you want flat head for safety). Please remember, when selling a home, repairs can almost make the sale not worth it. Take your time, pay attention and always be willing to hear a second opinion.