|Pension & Welfare Benefit Administration|
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By Shea LavertyU.S. military veterans, active duty personnel, reservists and National Guard members who want to buy homes can take advantage of a loan program backed by the federal Veterans Administration. As part of the home buying process, the VA has the property appraised, but it is the buyer's responsibility to arrange for a professional home inspection. Home inspectors use an extensive checklist to assess the condition of the home and find any major problems. Does this Spark an idea?
The first thing a home inspector does when assessing property for a VA loan is examining the home as a whole. By checking the neighborhood for similar homes, the inspector can see how the condition of the home you are buying compares with others of similar age, style and materials. Also, he can roughly gauge the workmanship of any exterior modifications to the home.
An inspection of the exterior begins at the front of the home. The inspector walks around the house, and gets a good look at each wall face. He starts at the top and looks all the way down to the ground. The inspector notes the condition of the siding and all doors and windows. He checks the foundation for cracks and signs of water damage.
The inspector pays close attention to the roof, chimney, gutters and downspouts. He will look for any sagging in the roof and any signs that the roofing shingles need to be replaced. Chimneys are inspected to for signs of leaning and missing mortar. The inspector will note the condition of the gutters and whether the downspouts slope away from the foundation. Any decks or porches are examined down to the foundation. He assesses the grade and slope of the lot and checks the condition of driveways, walkways and patios.
The basement inspection includes examining the floor, walls and ceiling. In an unfinished basement, the inspector may be able to see the structural components of the foundation and the floor joists above, allowing him to check their condition. He inspects all visible areas in each room, including closets or other spaces behind doors. Utilities including the furnace, plumbing, water heater and electrical panels are examined.
The main floors of the house are inspected in a similar manner to the basement. Floors, walls and ceilings are checked and notes are made about heat sources, electrical outlets, light switches and fireplaces. In the bathroom and kitchen, the inspector notes the condition of plumbing fixtures and whether they are operating properly.
A standard home inspection does not include checking for asbestos, radon gas, lead paint, toxic mold or pests like mice and termites. Homeowners can separately contract with specially licensed professionals to inspect for and identify these problems.