House Hunting Tools
July 4, 2012

What two tools for under $30 are indispensable for house shopping? They will fit in your coat pocket and can help flag questions that should be asked. Why is that ceiling sagging? Why’s the electrical messed up? What’s that in the crawlspace, basement, behind the furnace, you substitute the dark recess?

Flashlight / 55 lumens, one double AA battery ( $17 )
Some small flashlights pack a powerful punch these days. They are great for looking in closets, basements, and attics or under sinks. You can also be use a flashlight to see if ceilings, walls, and floors are flat.

In a darkened room hold the flashlight close to the wall or ceiling and shine the beam parallel to the surface. Shadows appear on uneven surfaces. What might this mean? On ceilings in particular it can be important because it can identify a sagging ceiling.

A sagging ceiling below a bathroom or kitchen may suggest a water issue. It leads to other questions like; is there staining, is there an active leak, has it been fixed, when was the bathroom last used, when was the ceiling last painted, can your inspector check the ceiling with a moisture meter? The answers to these questions can determine if the sagging ceiling is an area for concern or simply a long ago fixed issue.


Electrical Circuit Tester / with GFCI Test button ( $11 )
An electrical circuit tester can tell you some important information about a homes electrical system. First and foremost it will tell you if an outlet works. It can tell you if that outlet is wired correctly or if there are safety outlets in the kitchen, bathrooms or outdoors and if they are functioning properly.

I know this sound scary to many of you, electrical eeeek, really though it is as simple as plugging in a light.

This easy tool may also suggest what kind of wiring house has. This becomes important in older homes where knob and tube wiring or a slightly more recent two-wire system is suspected (numerous ungrounded outlets might suggest this). These systems typically need upgrading in homes today and may have an impact on your insurance premiums.

Happy hunting and if you have any questions give us a call.

News Letter

Keep informed with our monthly newsletter.