How To Look At A House

McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of  

site-built, mobile/manfuactured 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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Here’s links to a collection of our blog posts about “ATTICS":

• What are the mistakes to avoid when doing attic improvements?  

• What is the most common type of roof-to-wall attachment?

• Is an attic required to have a light by the building code?  

• How do I safely remove a dead rodent (rat, mouse or squirrel) from the attic?

• What are the common problems with attic insulation? 

• Why is there no attic access hatch in the house?

• How do I safely clean up rodent (rat, mouse or squirrel) urine or droppings the attic?

• What is the building code requirement for an attic access hatch, scuttle, or door?

• Why is vermiculite attic insulation a problem for both buyers and sellers of a home? 

• What are the code requirements for NM-cable (nonmetallic-sheathed cable or Romex®) in an attic? 

• What are the warning signs of a dangerous attic pull-down ladder?

• Do home inspectors go on the roof? Do they get in the attic?

• How much of a roof truss can I cut out to make a storage platform in the attic? 

• When was a fire separation in the attic first required between sides of a duplex? 

     Visit our "SHOULD I BUY A…" page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.

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