Most real estate transactions are contingent upon an the completion of a home inspection. A qualified and experienced home inspector should find something that could be corrected, upgraded or repaired in every home that they inspect, even newly built homes. Each inspection report will be different. The following list should help buyers understand some of the more common home inspections findings.
Exterior Maintenance: One common exterior maintenance finding relates to the fascia. The most common fascia problems are missing pieces, rotted pieces, or fascia boards with little to no ventilation. Ventilation related issues can affect the life span of a roof.
Grading: If there is moisture present in the basement or crawl space of a home, it may be caused by several things. One of the most common causes for this is improper exterior grading. If moisture/rain isn’t drained effectively away from the foundation of a home it can cause water intrusion into basements or crawl spaces.
Roof Issues: A damaged or poorly maintained roof can lead to serious problems, including water damage. Major roof repairs can be expensive, and should definitely be factored into the price of the home if they exist. Asphalt shingles have a life expectancy of between 15 and 40 years. With age, asphalt roof shingles will begin to cup either up or down. They will blister and have granular loss.
Inoperable Windows: All windows should be checked during an inspection. In older homes that haven’t upgraded to newer windows, broken sash cords are common. In addition to broken sash cords, there are times that old windows have been painted shut. Windows with single pane glass should also be noted.
Electrical Issues: One of the most common electrical issues is missing GFCI outlets. GFCI’s should be found anywhere water may be present, kitchen, bathrooms, exterior and garages.
A common electrical wiring problem is reversed polarity. Reversed polarity is when the hot and neutral wires are placed on the improper terminal of an outlet. Another common improper electrical wiring finding are double taps in the breaker box. This is when there are two electrical circuits/feeds attached to a single breaker. This can be considered a fire hazard.
Plumbing: Leaks in the plumbing underneath sinks and around toilets is a common inspection finding. This can be due to the incorrect type of plumbing material, a broken seal around a toilet, or even rusted/corroded plumbing. Older homes often have a galvanized water main. This can lead to poor water pressure due to the corrosion of the inside of the pipe. Newer homes are now utilizing copper water main lines which eliminates the water pressure issue. Older homes may also have lead water supply pipes which were banned in the Safe Drinking Water Act in 1986.
Heating Systems: Inspectors should remove the cover on the furnace or boiler system. It is recommended heating systems are serviced annually. Many homeowners unfortunately do not have their heating systems serviced annually, so a common inspection finding is a dirty heating system. Home inspectors will normally recommend a cleaning and inspection of the heating system if this is the case. The furnace flame should be blue. A flame with orange/yellow in it could indicate problems with the burner.
Home inspections may seem complicated, but they don’t have to be. Just make sure to hire the right inspector, listen to their advice, and do your own due diligence before you decide to purchase a home.