Understanding the Home Inspection Report for your Investment Property – Video
Kathy: This is basically what an inspection report is going to look like, it’s got the table of contents, it’s got the photo. Here’s the property that’s 14 years old, anything you want to say about this?
Interviewee: This is the beginning of the report that you’ll get. Like you, said it does have the picture of the property on it, and the table of contents. Then, of course, any kind of issues that I call out are at the beginning of the report and that’s the main part you want to take a look at. The summary is issues and a lot of things that are called out are just minor things to take care of and then there are some safety issues that I’ll call out that you definitely should have looked at.
These can be decided on should we do them or is it okay that we can go.
Kathy: Some of these, says here on the red flag items for investment property would be safety issues, of course, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Whether they’re there or not.
Interviewee: Yes, that’s a big thing, we’re trained on is to call out safety issues. Further on the report, maybe there’s a handrail that didn’t have enough supports on it and you want to be able to walk down the stairs and be able to grip the handrail in case you trip and make sure that it’s not going to collapse on you. Safety issues are big with smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors, especially in rental properties, because you want to make sure those items are working and that you cover yourself for insurance reasons as well.
Nobody wants to find out that an emergency happened because there weren’t any smoke detectors in there that could have saved somebody’s life.
Kathy: Absolutely, a red flag item for investment properties, like you already said that railings, stairs and you want to highlight things on the report, right?
Interviewee: Yes and the nice thing about my reports is I’m able to draw some lines and some pictures to even prove the point out. For example, the picture [02:30] in the lower left corner is a staircase and without arrows and pictures it’s hard to know what you’re looking at. As you could see in the picture above I put in the comments that it needs more support. In picture, I added, excuse the drawing, the little red marks to show that we recommend at least two more support structures on the wall to support the center of it.
Then on the right-hand side there [03:01], that’s the height of that particular porch and the height where I recommended a railing. Then the right-hand side shows the picture of the railing after it was installed.
Even the steps in that bottom one, when that was going into your garage were the lower concrete step up to the door. It was sufficient, but it was definitely tripping measure. I’m sure everybody’s walked up steps where if you got the rise difference of the lower step and then try and take the next step, your brain thinks that the next step’s going to be the same height. Then you can trip, especially when you’re carrying groceries inside the house. We can recommend at least a higher step to even out that distance.
Kathy: Yes, you don’t need any slip and falls, especially if it might be your fault for not having the right steps to code.
Kathy: All right. The summary section [04:00]. This also includes digital photos for more visual description of the issue because the picture is worth a thousand words absolutely. Harpwood inspection shows a need for cleaning and maintenance on the sump pump system. Sump pump, what is it? How do they work? Typical issues, do all homes have these? Do they have them in Ohio? Do they all have them?
Interviewee: No. A lot of houses don’t especially older ones don’t have sump pumps because I honestly can’t remember the year that they started saying, “Hey, it’s a good idea to put in sump pumps.” Some houses are prone to have some water issues. I think later on in the report we’ll see some pictures of a stone foundation. A lot of the gutters around the house will drain to the sump pump and then collect there and then the pump takes it out and puts it into the sewer system.
A lot of the newer houses have them. You don’t see a backup and flood too often, but you do want to make sure the pump is somewhat functioning. They can last anywhere from 8 to 12 years. It’s not a big-ticket item to get a new pump. It can be anywhere from $70 to a couple hundred dollars depending on what kind of deluxe pump you want or if you just want the basic one. But, the basic ones work fine.
They’re a good idea to have in the home but they aren’t necessary, as the inspected houses that were 80 – 90 years old that don’t have a sump pump and there’s never really been any water issues. It does help when there’s a lot of rain and it’s a good idea to tell the tenant to listen for that pump to kick on and make sure it’s working. It’s basically to help drain the water away from around the foundation and under the foundation and drain away from the house.
Kathy: All right. A red flag item for investment property will be drainage and pulling water away from the foundation including gutters, downspouts, extensions, and splash blocks. What do you look for there?
Interviewee: Again, we talked about this earlier. This is a cheap way to make sure that water isn’t draining next to your foundation and causing issues down the road. If you see the picture in the top right-hand corner [06:35], there’s two splash blocks underneath the downspouts that help draw the water away. You only need about anywhere between 12 to 18 inches away from the house. The pictures on the left that you can see, even though the downspout has an elbow on it, you can see that elbow still draining next to the foundation.
I recommend that either a splash block, or there’s flex tubing that’s pretty cheap that you can add on to that and bring it away from the house a little further. On that bottom picture, is actually some pump drainpipe. When this sump pump would kick off, it would just drain it right back next to the foundation which defeats the purpose. I was recommending that at least plug some kind of flux tubing or pipe in bringing it further away from the house so it isn’t just recirculating.
Kathy: Wonderful. The second section of the report is extended inspection home detail. This section lists details. Have you tried them in areas that have been inspected? It includes the ages and manufacturers information.
Interviewee: Yes, and here’s where I’ve noted that the heating system, the manufacturer and approximate manufacturer date and the serial numbers. I don’t say there’s only five years left in the gas-fired furnace, but at least this way you know when you get it that it’s new. This particular one was manufactured approximately August of this year, so you know how your system is and how new or old it is as well.