What to Expect From a Home Inspection in South Florida?

What does a home inspection involve?
The new cabinets and shiny granite countertops look great, but what issues should you worry about when buying a house?
A home inspector will inspect the following areas:
• Heating and cooling
• Roof
• Foundation
• Plumbing
• Electrical systems
• Windows
• Exterior
Heating and cooling: In south Florida, we don’t need heating too often but we certainly can’t live without cooling! Air conditioners have a limited life span, usually between 10 and 15 years. Your home inspector should let you know whether there are problems or defects or whether the systems have exceeded their design life.
The roof:
Leaky roofs cause water damage. A good inspector will look for broken tiles, surprisingly common even on a relatively new house, missing or deteriorated shingles and let you know how old the roof is. Concrete tile roofs are generally considered good for around 20 years, shingle roofs for 10 to 15 years depending on whether the shingles are 3 tab or architectural. Even then, many factors affect the lifespan of a roof. The best place to spot a roof leak is usually in the attic.
Mold: Water damage causes mold. And mold is a serious health hazard. This is more of an issue in south Florida than elsewhere. Roofs don’t last as long. There is a LOT of heavy rain, and the high humidity encourages mold growth. If you are concerned about mold, ask your home inspector for a mold test as this is outside the scope of a normal home inspection.
The foundation: Some of the most serious problems you can face are in the foundation. If the house is sinking, there is probably water collecting near the foundation, there are cracks in exterior walls, windows that stick, and floors that sag — Houston, there’s a problem. And it’s probably an expensive one.
Plumbing: The inspector is mainly looking for leaks. These could be from the roof, windows, water pipes or even the shower pan.
Electrical: If there’s an electrical problem, that is a safety issue, either electrocution or the possibility of electrical fires. In south Florida there are a lot of homes where work has been done by people who are not qualified.
It’s your decision
At the end of the day, a home inspection isn’t designed to tell you whether or not you should buy the house. A home inspector is like what a news reporter is supposed to be: objective and reporting just the facts.
An inspection report will nearly always detail a number of items to be addressed. Most of these are typical maintenance items and should be expected. For instance, it is really common to find broken tiles on a 10 year old house. More major issues can usually be repaired so then it’s a matter of deciding what is a fair price for the house in its present condition or seeing whether the seller will do the repairs.
Unless you are buying a brand new house, expect that there will be some items to take of when you buy. The home inspector is ultimately giving you a detailed condition report so you know exactly what you are buying, and what, if any repairs are needed or likely in the near future.

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