Buying a home is likely the biggest purchase you’ll ever make. While the home inspection provides valuable information about the condition of the home, there are some things inspectors look for that go beyond the basics. Here’s an overview of what Arizona home inspectors look for beyond just the major systems and structure of the home.
Signs of Illegal Drug Manufacturing or Use
Inspectors in Arizona are on the lookout for telltale signs of illegal drug use or manufacturing in homes. Things like chemical odors, unusual ductwork, exhaust fans or vents, residues on surfaces, and excessive security measures can indicate the home was used for making methamphetamine or other drugs. This is important to know, as there may be chemical contamination and safety issues.
Pool Safety Barriers
Drowning is a leading cause of death for young children in Arizona. Home inspectors will check that the property has proper pool fencing and gates that meet safety code requirements. Self-closing and self-latching gates around pool areas can prevent accidental drownings. A pool alarm can also monitor unsupervised access.
Mold and Mildew Issues
Due to Arizona’s warm, damp climate, inspectors carefully examine the home for any signs of mold or mildew. Peeling paint or drywall, musty odors, and excess moisture around vents or windows can indicate problems. Left unchecked, mold can damage materials and pose health hazards for those with allergies or asthma.
Roof and Attic Ventilation
Proper roof and attic ventilation helps prevent moisture buildup and overheating. Inspectors will look for adequate airflow, sufficient intake, and exhaust vents, and that vents aren’t obstructed. This helps prevent issues like ice dams in winter and excessive heat in summer. Proper ventilation extends the roof’s lifespan.
Rain Gutters and Drainage
Arizona gets occasional heavy rains, so inspectors check that rain gutters and downspouts are adequate and far enough from the base of the home. If too close, it can lead to water intrusion or foundation damage. Drainage should slope away from the home to prevent flooding and water accumulation.
Though rare, earthquakes can happen in Arizona. Home inspectors may recommend strapping water heaters and installing shear panels to brace weak areas. Securing overhead lighting and shelving can also prevent injury and damage during a quake.
Inspectors will take note of basic security features like solid core doors with deadbolts, security systems, motion sensor lights, and burglary deterrents on lower-level windows. Security preparations can prevent break-ins and give homeowners better peace of mind.
Fire Hazards and Prevention
Wildfires are an increasing threat in Arizona. Inspectors look for fire-resistant construction materials and adequate defensible space around the property. They may recommend replacing wood shake shingles and keeping vegetation trimmed back from the home. Having proper fire extinguishers is advised.
Pest or Vermin Infestations
Inspectors keep an eye out for signs of pest infestation like termite damage, rodent droppings or trails, cockroaches, and bee hives or wasp nests. Any wood-destroying pests or vermin should be removed and entry points sealed to prevent further spread or damage.
Appliance and System Maintenance
Home inspectors will check that systems and appliances have been properly maintained. Things like old HVAC filters expired fire extinguishers, inconsistent water temperatures at taps, leaky faucets, and outdated electrical panels indicate lacking upkeep. Proper maintenance prevents premature breakdowns.
Strange Noises or Odors
Inspectors are on high alert for any odd smells, noises, or sensations in the home. Unusual odors from a basement or crawlspace may indicate excess moisture, gas leaks, or toxic mold. Strange noises coming from ductwork or appliances could signal problems. A vibrating floor could mean an unsupported span.
Improper Use of Extension Cords and Power Strips
Incorrect use of extension cords and power strips is a fire hazard. Inspectors look for overloading, running cords through walls or under carpets, and linking multiple strips together. Permanent wiring improvements are recommended for areas needing extra outlets.
Arizona homes need proper insulation to maintain comfortable temperatures. Inspectors evaluate insulation levels in walls, attics, and crawlspaces based on regional standards. Insufficient insulation forces AC and heating systems to work harder. Adding insulation reduces energy costs.
Water Penetration or Leakage
Inspectors check exterior walls, windows, foundations, and rooflines for any signs of water intrusion like staining or rotting wood. Leaky plumbing fixtures, pools, or appliances can cause extensive water damage. Catching leaks early prevents structural issues and mold growth.
Outdated or Unsafe Materials
Hazardous outdated building materials like lead paint and asbestos are checked for. Also, inspectors look for unsafe traits like elevated decks without railings, cracked glass, damaged stairs, unsupported balcony spans, and other risks for injury. Outdated or dangerous materials should be updated.
While a standard home inspection covers all major systems, Arizona inspectors go beyond the basics and keep an eye out for extra areas of concern. Safety issues, environmental hazards, earthquake and fire preparation, maintenance, pest infestations, and security are all inspected. This provides home buyers with added peace of mind before purchasing. Knowing the thoroughness of an Arizona home inspector can prevent unexpected issues down the road.