Home Inspections in the Winter
Home buying does not stop in the wintertime and that means home inspections do not stop. A home inspection is an important part of the buying process. Just because the house "looks perfect" doesn't mean it is. If you want an understanding of the property you want to purchase and know the conditions of the home, then a home inspection is your best bet. There could be safety issues uncovered which could change your mind of the purchase or be used as a negotiation tool to change the price or have fixed prior to purchase. Remember based on the type of home loan, it may require some items be repaired prior to purchase.
Buyers ask me should they be at the home inspection? Absolutely, this is YOUR inspection, walk around with the inspector and ask questions. Home Inspectors are glad to answer questions.
It is true that an exterior home inspection maybe a challenge in the winter. In deep snow it is more difficult to look under porches and decks. You certainly will not see any ants around the home, but it is possible you may see signs of them and wood boring insects. An Inspector may not be able to climb up to see the condition of the roof shingles or may not be able to look down the chimney. It is possible they could look up the chimney. Of course there has to be snow on the roof and sometimes in the winter snow may not be on your roof. But even if snow is on the roof, the inspector can cover a large majority if not all of the inspections needed.
I have seen inspectors use drones to get a closer look at the roof or chimney. I have seen inspectors brush off snow from the roof to get an idea of the roof condition. Review photos of the house and look for water stains within the home. In the wintertime inspectors see things they would not see in the warmer months, like long icicles hanging off the eaves of the house indicating possible heat loss. Normally in older homes the eave is a weak spot for insulation, due to that it is possible icicles will form on the exterior cold overhangs of the house. You can feel cold drafts around faulty windows, exterior doors, electrical switches and outlets on exterior walls. Some home inspectors are armed with thermal imaging cameras that will find cold spots in the home. I used a thermal imaging camera on our home and uncovered old "live" electrical wires in the wall which were hidden and not being used. We removed them.
Inspectors will review your heating, plumbing and electrical systems and any other type of home components, sump pumps, generators, other secondary heating appliances. The list can be very long.
Can a septic system be inspected in the winter? Yes, I have seen inspections of septic systems in the dead of winter with 3 feet of ground snow. A trained inspector will magically find your tank cover. Here is a list of Maine Certified Septic System Inspectors.
In Maine we have plenty of properties not attached to public water. Ask your Home Inspector if they can perform water testing.
In Maine it is common to see air testing for Radon. Talk to your Inspector about this. Read more at Should I Have My House Tested For Radon?
Is there a home inspector in your area? Find out at InspectorSeek.
In Maine if you are wondering you can find a list at The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors. (InterNACHI). Another source is The Maine Coalition of Home Inspection Professionals. Do your homework when interviewing them and ask lots of questions about their services and clients.
Gary Jordan Jr. is a REALTOR® located in Bangor, Maine. He provides real estate solutions for Buyers and Sellers. His clients are provided with unparalleled services. You can learn more about Gary and real estate in Maine at his website. You can also directly email Gary .
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