Common Home Inspection Issues
Anticipating things that may arise during your inspection is vital during your purchase of a house, condominium or townhouse.
Knowing the most common trouble areas will refine your inspector’s work, help you consult with the right specialists, and renegotiate deal terms, if necessary.
Based on data derived from the National Association of Realtors’ 2016 reporting, below is a review of the most common property conditions that most often lead to post-inspection disputes.
We also detail the primary warning signs and evidence for each.
Mold and Water Intrusion. Ongoing water penetration can be costly for homeowners in many ways and lead to issues from basic wood rot to foundation issues. During an inspection, this issue presents itself as a result of poor grading, vegetation, walkways or doors at grade level, inadequate ventilation, foundation cracks, efflorescence (white powdery appearance of brick), staining, missing roof shingles, and more.
Structural Defects. Safety can be an issue in the most severe cases. Defects can appear as sloping or sagging floors, cracked title, excessive concrete cracking and separation, haphazard additions, sagging beams, brushed sills and joists, and more.
Insects and Vermin. These pests can cause problems for years to come if untreated, and include termites, powder post beetles and carpenter bees. Obvious signs are wood damage, staining, holes and frass, and the problem requires immediate remediation.
Sewer/Septic. These issues can create waste evacuation issues, particularly with multiple bathrooms in simultaneous use. Evidence of issues included slow sink drains, obvious outdoor odors, slow toilets, standing water near pipes, and more.
Plumbing Issues. These take many forms, and include loose and missing tiles or grout, gaps between walls and shower/tub or shower doors and floors, older exposed piping, leaking drain traps, lacking water pressure, and more.
Roof Issues. Roofing material needs to be replaced over time, and it needs to be done properly. Evidence of problems include age of shingles (30+ years if standard material), rusted flashing material, cupping of shingles, stains on interior ceilings, and more.
General Environmental. These are most commonly due to radon, asbestos, lead or underground oil tanks. They can be safety issues and require costly repairs/remediations.
HVAC. A quick inspection of the mechanicals may present older units/handlers, dirty filters, out-of-date or missing maintenance tags/reports, odors or insufficient hot or cold air. Repairs can add up depending on the nature of the problem.
Electrical Issues. A problem may result in a safety hazard, or simply not enough power to run your house. These manifest in insufficient service size, mis-wired panels, code issues with wiring or junction boxes, and older wiring.
Working with a well-qualified building inspector with contracting or engineering experience will ensure these issues are found prior to closing so a seller can fix any issues or allow a price adjustment to compensate for them.