The 10 Most Common Home Inspection Problems
TIP: Buyers can get extra protection and piece of mind by purchasing a home warranty insurance policy. Such policies may also be a way for sellers to protect themselves from post-sale claims by buyers for defects undetected in home inspections.
1. Faulty wiring—open junction boxes, amperage mismatches, no wire nuts on wires.
The cure: Fix junction boxes; upgrade to at least 100 amps.
2. Poor grading and drainage—spongy soil around the foundation, signs of leaking in basement.
The cure: Regrade so that grounds slopes away from house for 10 feet; remove porous material around foundation.
3. Faulty gutters—clogged or bent gutters, water not channeled away from house.
The cure: Preventive maintenance; gutters of adequate size, splash pans to divert run-off.
Each year the American Society of Home Inspectors conducts surveys related to inspections and U.S. homebuyers. Here are some of their latest findings:
In a 2012 survey, 88 percent of respondents say home inspections increase their confidence about the condition of the property.
In a 2011 study, the ASHI found that nearly 90 percent of all U.S. homebuyers believe some home inspections are a necessity, nto a luxury.
According to a 2011 survey, 72 percent of U.S. homeowners agree the home inspections they had when they purchased their current residence helped them avoid potential problems.
In 2010, the ASHI reported that 64 percent of homeowners said they saved a lot of money as a result of their home inspection.
4. Basement dampness—water stains, powdery residue on walls, mold or mildew.
The cure: Repair gutters to channel water away from house; apply waterproof coatings to basement.
5. Roof problems—brittle or curled shingles; broken or missing flashings.
The cure: Apply new shingle, or tear off if needed (usually after three re-roofs ); replacing flashings, especially around chimneys and other protrusions.
6. Foundation flaws—cracks in foundation, sloping floors, sticking doors or windows.
The cure: Fill cracks with silicon caulking or epoxy; apply waterproof coating to exterior.
7. Poor upkeep—needs repainting, worn carpeting, cracked driveway.
The cure: Give the house a minor facelift.
8. Faulty plumbing—inadequate water pressure, slow drains, signs of leaks on ceilings.
The cure: Clean and rout drains; reseat toilet with new wax ring, repair leaks.
9. Poor ventilation—extreme heat in attic, vapor condensation.
The cure: Ensure that roof soffits are not blocked; install additional roof vents; vent bathroom and kitchen fans outside.
10. Defective heating—cracks in the heat exchanger or water tank; carbon monoxide leaks.
The cure: Reseal chimney flues; replace sacrificial anode in water heater.
Excerpted from “Top 10 House Problems,” Practical Homeowner, Practical Homeowner LP, March 1990