As we all know, Home Improvement can get very expensive and on top of the expense, it's confusing at times and there are a lot of quacks out there trying to make a buck off your ignorance of the facts. People ask me the question all the time, "I just bought my home, what should I focus on first?" Well, this is a tough question to answer here and it's different for every homeowner, yet there are a few areas that we should always be focused on. With every purchase, there should be a home inspection by a reputable "non-biased" company. This inspection report will show most all of the urgent faults that need to be addressed immediately and others that can be addressed with time. Folks, this is an invaluable report of your homes physical condition. Remember, that every inspector is different and even though they go by a checklist, they are human and we all have the possibilities of missing things. So, let's look at some of the most important things to look for. Keep in mind, these are the most expensive areas and certainly not everything. ROOFING
This is probably one of the areas we least are concerned about, probably because you would need to get up on a ladder to inspect the roof and even after you get up there, what would you look for, Right! Well, here's a tip; if you see damage on your fascia or rafters, this might raise a red flag that there might just be issues up above. Easy right, not so fast, because if the seller knows they have a roofing issue and they want to play it down, they may have someone come out and do minor repairs to the fascia and rafters to cover up issues of wood rot and termite damage, prime and paint and you'll never be the wiser. But don't be tickled pink when you see new paint, this is when you need to be even more suspicious. Ask questions like, how old is your roof, do you have any leaks, have you had leaks in the past, if they have, ask them; when and how many fixes have been made. By law, the realtor has to give all the facts if asked. PLUMBING
Yikes, this is one of the trades that consumers spend the most on yearly. It's sad because it doesn't need to be that way. Be proactive, not reactive. If you have issues with water pressure, hot water disbursement and your plumbing are original "meaning galvanized", it might be less expensive to have them changed out. If you have slow drainage, pipes getting clogged, then it will be less expensive to have them changed out rather then being nickel and dimed to death on repairs. If you have a leak, don't wait, get it addressed, it could cause huge issues later if you don't. Here's a biggy, know where your main water shutoff is located and learn how to shut it off. Purchase a water meter shutoff key and have it in your garage just in case. Check all of the shutoff valves under your kitchen and bathroom(s) sinks and make sure they are in operable condition... I'm talking; shut it off and on and make sure there are no leaks. ELECTRICAL
This is another one of those mystical areas, we all assume that if the lights turn off and on that all is good. The fact is, that it's not that simple and this is why it's so important to have a good inspection prior to a purchase. Here are just a few tips on what to check for; check not only your switches for operation, but check all the electrical sockets and make sure they all work. If one doesn't, this is a red flag. If a switch doesn't work, this is a red flag. Now let's talk protection... Ground-fault circuit-interrupters, or GFCIs, are life-saving devices found on electrical receptacles (outlets), these are circuit breakers and they detect imbalances in the electrical current and quickly shut off the power to minimize the risk of shock. ELECTRICAL CONT... Where You Need a G.F.C.I.
Bathrooms: All receptacles
Garages and accessory buildings: Defined as structures that have a floor located at or below grade level not intended as habitable rooms and limited to storage areas, work areas, and areas of similar use.
Outdoors: All receptacles, with one exception: receptacles that are not readily accessible and are supplied by a dedicated branch circuit for electric snow-melting or deicing equipment.
Unfinished basements: Unfinished basements are defined as portions or areas of the basement not intended as habitable rooms and limited to storage areas, work areas, etc.
Exceptions: Receptacle supplying only a permanently installed fire alarm or burglar alarm system, receptacles that are not readily accessible, receptacles on a dedicated branch circuit and labeled for use with a plug-in equipment (ex: sump pump).
Crawl spaces: Unfinished areas located at or below grade level; same GFCI requirements as basements.
Kitchens: All receptacles serving counter-top areas and any receptacle within 6 feet of a sink. Also, receptacle supplying a dishwasher.
Laundry, utility, and wet bar sinks: Where receptacles are placed within 6 feet of the outside edge of the sink.
Pool/spa areas: GFCI protection for lights and lighting outlets; receptacles for pumps; all receptacles within 20 feet of a pool, spa, or fountain; and power supply for a pool cover.
Note: GFCI requirements apply to GFCI protection. This doesn't mean you need a GFCI receptacle at every location. You can provide GFCI protection for an entire circuit with a GFCI circuit breaker. Also, a single GFCI receptacle can be wired to protect itself and every receptacle downstream on the same circuit. This allows you to install one GFCI receptacle at the beginning of the circuit and use standard receptacles for the rest—provided this is allowed by local code.