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
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