How To Look At A House
McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of
site-built, mobile/manufactured and modular homes
Should I buy a house with no attic access hatch?
Wednesday, September 4, 2019
Making sure everything in the attic is okay is a important. This is where a home inspector might find roof leaks, wood rot, termites, missing insulation, damaged roof trusses, bad wiring, leaking air conditioning ducts, mold, or rodent infestation, just to name a few ugly possibilities. So you should not consider buying a house that has no way to get into the attic.
If the access panel is locked, nailed, or caulked shut, then ask the seller to get it opened for you. Sometimes a home inspector will open a secured panel if the seller gives permission and holds the inspector harmless for any damage; but, otherwise, get the seller to do it.
If there really is no attic access, you should ask the seller to install an opening as part of the requirement in all real estate sales contracts that access be provided for the buyer to the property for inspection. A critical part of the property is not accessible, so do not go forward with the transaction until it is.
Check Carefully for Odd Attic Access Hatch Locations
For a list of five possible reasons why the attic hatch can’t be found, or why it’s there but you have missed it, see our blog post Why is there no attic access hatch in the house? Sometimes you just have to know where to look and check a little more thoroughly. And it is possible that, although there is a small attic area, it is not large enough to warrant an access hatch. See our blog post When is a house not required to have an attic access hatch? for more on this.
And, if you decide go into the attic past the access opening when it is finally made available, please read our blog post What are the hazards to avoid when going into an attic? first. And for the code specs for an attic access, What is the building code requirement for an attic access hatch, scuttle, or door?
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