What to Do for Your Yearly Home Inspection

We all know the intelligent thing to do before you buy a home is get a professional home inspection. The relief we feel from a trained professional advising us of possible issues so we are prepared to either negotiate further, walk away, or have the problems fixed prior to moving our precious family in.  

  All of a sudden, it's been a year. No big deal right?  Is there something I should be doing to check on my home? Please tell me I am not going to have to spend hundreds of dollars on another home inspection?! 

  Yes there are some things you can do yourself annually, so no, you don't need to hire a home inspector.  Get your eyes and ears ready and head outside.

  1. Look with a ladder at your roof.  Are there broken or missing shingles?  Bugs and other animals love to make their new home in open spaces in a roof.  Also check that there are no tree branches are laying on your roof which can also cause damage.  Also check around the whole area for moss and lichen (a slow growing plant).  If you see this your roof could be decaying underneath.  

2. Next check for popped nails and get those hammered back down. Caulk any areas around pipes that may have worn off. While up there check those downspouts and gutters looking for any damage.  If you see a problem such as cracks, branches, or any other item blocking the way, do what you can to remove the blockage.  For cracks, water is most likely the culprit which can seep into the foundation. 

 3. Now that you are back on the ground, check out your driveway.  We all assume cracking is a normal sign of settling, but those cracks from the sun, cars, and water can wreck havoc. Keep your driveway sealed (which is a few hundred dollars) and kept up or you will soon be spending thousands on a new driveway.  

  4. Heading towards the house check on your foundation. Check on cracks no matter how small, as well as bulging. This goes for both a block foundation and poured concrete. Is it easy to chip away at the foundation?  It should be hard enough you can't damage it.  Some cracks are due to settling or curing, but the location of the cracks and the size is what to note. Hairline are usually normal, but horizontal cracks are serious. 

5. If you have a porch or deck, check for loose boards or loose stones in your patio. If you have a wood deck check for tunnels in the wood; a sign of termites.  

6. The paint on your home is important as well to take a once over.  Check for peeling which is a sign of moisture entering and if you see cracks or peeling paint that is a sign you may need to have your home repaired. You will also be checking over your windows as well for the same thing...moisture getting in the caulk around your windows is a bad sign.  

  7. Now, let's head inside....to the lovely bathroom. Once again, check for caulk issues around the tub and toilet as well as look for cracks..all issues for water to cause problems in your walls and floors! Do the same for your sink...make sure it's tightly secured. Get a flashlight and get under your sink (this goes for your kitchen, laundry room, etc). Check that those pipes are clean and have no rust and you see no corrosion, signs of yea, the dreaded water issue. Turn on your sinks and tubs-make sure the hot and cold water work. While in the kitchen checking out the sink, check the backsplash and counters for cracks. 

8. All over your home top to bottom check your ceilings and walls for any possible spots of water damage. Mildew is a huge issue here in Florida and it could mean a sign of a pipe issue, or worse, the roof.  Cracks in the walls can indicate there is beginning separation of the drywall. Put your hands on those stair rails and the upstairs railing.  These must be secure not only for your family, but for wood rot. 

9. Of biggest concern of course, should be your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors.  Easy enough to set a reminder on your phone as well and replace those batteries. 

10. Finally, check your AC and water heater for any signs of loose pipes. 

It is so important to know your home, make sure you are proactive about issues before they become huge problems that empty your bank account, and most importantly, to ensure your family's safety.