How to Protect Your Home - A Maintenance Checklist
Moisture intrusion is a leading cause of home maintenance issues and repairs. The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) encourages homeowners to identify potential maintenance issues now before they become major repairs.
"When it comes to water intrusion, it's not often a matter of 'if' but 'when' the moisture will take its toll," says Dan Schuerman, owner of Schuerman Inspections, LLC. "A maintenance inspection is the best way to safeguard your greatest investment from potentially costly repairs."
Home Maintenance Checklist
A typical home inspection should include an evaluation of the roof to identify curling, shrinking, broken or missing shingles that may lead to costly leaks; an assessment of the perimeter of the home to look for signs of settling and for voids that will allow rain to enter through the home's foundation; as well as a thorough inspection of the air conditioning system.
"While we don't recommend that homeowners conduct inspections themselves due to safety precautions, there are several areas of the home that homeowners should pay close attention to," adds Schuerman.
Schuerman encourages homeowners to visually inspect hose bibs (the threaded end of the outside water tap or faucet where a hose can be attached) for signs of frost damage; pipes for separated joints or splits; window and door screens for tears and holes; gutters for broken or loose pieces; and surfaces for cracking or peeling paint and caulking.
Before hiring an inspector, Schuerman advises homeowners to interview inspectors to understand what the inspection will cover and to verify the inspector's experience. Below is a list of questions homeowners should ask their prospective inspector.
What does the inspection cover? Make sure the inspection and the inspection report meet the customer's needs and complies with the ASHI Standards of Practice (available online at www.ashi.org).
How long have you been a home inspector and how many inspections have you completed? ASHI Certified Inspectors are required to have completed at least 250 paid professional home inspections and pass two written exams that test the inspector's knowledge of competency. ASHI Members have passed the same exams and have performed a minimum of 50 fee-paid inspections verified by ASHI to be in substantial compliance with the Standards of Practice.
Are you specifically experienced in residential inspection? Related experience is helpful, but is no substitute for training and expertise in the unique discipline of home inspection.
Do you encourage your clients to attend inspections? This is a valuable educational opportunity. Purchasing a home is probably the most expensive purchase people will make. Taking the time to attend is well worth the time and effort.
How long will the inspection take? The average for a single inspector is two to three hours for a typical single family house; anything less may not be enough time to do a thorough inspection. Some inspection firms send a team of inspectors and the time frame may be shorter.
Will you prepare a written report? Asking to see sample report forms ensures the customer will be comfortable with the style of an actual finished report.
For more information, visit www.ASHI.org or call 800-743-2744.