Saturday, July 2, 2016

The 15 most common items reported by home inspectors (Part 2)

When you’re buying or selling a home, the home inspection is a critical step in the process that ensures there are no major health, safety, or functionality issues with the structure. Of course almost every house has a list of items the inspector finds that need addressing, but most of these are usually easy to address or fix without disrupting the sale.

In part one of this blog we covered a little background on why home inspections are so important, as well as the first five items that home inspectors most commonly report, and here are the remaining ten items you’re most likely to find flagged in a home inspection:

6. Pest infestations
One of the most common worrisome findings in home inspections is evidence of termites and other pest infestation and damage. In fact, making sure the house you are buying (or selling) is free from harmful critters, water hazards, and other wood-destroying pests of mass destruction is so crucial that most lenders mandate you have to sign off on your pest report before they’ll issue a mortgage.

Termites, dry rot, and the other hazards can cause irreparable damage, but the damage is often hidden below subfloors, structural beams, or inside the wood that makes up your home, making detection during a home inspection or pest inspection invaluable. Home inspectors can point out obvious problems they see, but a more detailed pest inspection is always recommended.

7. Foundation issues
Home inspectors will thoroughly inspect the foundation of the home, or, for homes with a crawl space, will actually get under the house and check everything out. They’re looking for serious structural problem like cracks in the foundation, evidence of faulty construction that is putting the stability of the house in jeopardy, as well as leaks, drainage problems, and standing water under the crawlspace. Far from cosmetic, the implications of finding foundation issues can put a yellow light on the whole transaction until they are further investigated and remedied.

8. Doors and windows
All doors and windows on the property need to open, close and lock properly, and shouldn’t show evidence of shifting, “catching” as they close, or locks that were damaged or kicked in. Even garage doors and automatic garage door openers need to work properly, and your home inspector will flag these doors if they do not, as it’s a safety issues, not jut inconvenient.

9. Missing Fascia
One of the most common problems home inspectors write up is missing fascia boards on exterior trim. It’s not uncommon for fascia boards, soffits, and other trim pieces to rot, fall off, or just be missing due to improper installation.

10. Improper fan ventilation
Home inspectors often find that the ventilation system does not work properly for a variety of reasons. It’s critical for a home to be adequately ventilated from bathrooms, the kitchen, attics or crawl spaces, and garages, as moisture buildup can cause mold or environmental issues. Improper ventilation can also boost the temperature of attics and crawl spaces, causing a fire hazard or just putting more wear and tear on the roof and other systems.

11. Electric cable entrances
All of those cables that need to enter your home from the outside for cable TV, internet and phone lines may not seem like a big deal, but any times you have electrical connections and exposed wiring (cabling), it needs to be monitored. Improper connections at the breaker panel, frayed, weathered or damaged cables, and cables not equipped to handle the electric load (like if you have 200 AMP service but the entrance cable is only rated 150 AMP) are all items the inspector will check for.

12. Roof
Any homeowner knows that this is a big one, because roofs are extremely expensive to fix or replace. Most importantly, a faulty roof can let in water, causing catastrophic damage. So home inspectors will do a cursory review of for shingles that are curled or brittle, broken or missing flashing, tiles that are cracked, etc. to make sure your roof is in good working order - and still waterproof. This includes inspecting the entire gutter system to make sure none are clogged, bent or missing.

13. Bad chimney flashing
For those houses that have chimneys, or even roof ventilation on wood stoves and other heating devices, home inspectors often find faulty flashing. Poorly installed, broken, or just aged flashing can allow water intrusion in the home. While home inspectors will look for these problems, it may be a good idea to order a separate chimney inspection where they will also look for missing mortar, cracked bricks and tiles, missing chimney caps, and the build up of dangerous creosote.

14. Grading issues
Yards, terrain and landscaping that slope towards the house – not away – invite water to collect and run into the structure, which is can cause critical damage to foundations, basements, plumbing and electric systems, and cause a host of environmental issues. It seems like such a fundamental thing, yet home inspectors still find yards that have grading problems all the time.

15. Water heaters problems
One of the most common problems that home inspectors write up in their reports have to do with water heaters. Water heaters need to be properly strapped and braced per current codes, have the correct size piping and adequate exterior ventilation. Inspectors also carefully look for missing or incorrect temperature pressure relief valves (TPVR), which are a major safety protocol in case the water heats too high and the pressure builds but can’t release, which can cause an explosion.


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