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Issues Found During Home Inspections

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Importance of Home Inspection

It may be tempting to skip the home inspection when buying a home, especially if it looks good during the open houses and other tours of the house.

If you skip the home inspection, you might end up paying more later to repair issues that could have been paid for by the seller or had money taken off your purchase price. Here are some of the problems that may be found during the inspection.


  • Roofing and gutter issues – Improperly installed roofs or roofs that show premature signs of aging can put the structural integrity of the whole house at risk. Water leaks can not only cause the ceiling to become wet and drip into the rooms, but mold can build up in the insulation or water can leak down the walls, again leading to mold. Overflowing gutters can lead to the above roofing issues as well as foundation issues if the water does not flow off the roof properly and washes dirt away at the foundation.
  • Plumbing issues – Depending on the age of the house, there are three types of pipes that if the original has never been replaced, you would be served well to ask for the repair or money off the asking price because repairs will be needed soon: Orangeberg (made of paper mache) from 1942-1958, ABS made from recycled plastic from 1984-1990. Sump pumps and other water control mechanisms (such as French drains and pop-up drains outside) should be checked out
  • Electrical issues – Overloaded circuit breakers or fuse boxes, faulty wiring, exposed wires, and outdated electrical outlets are safety issues that should be addressed by a licensed electrician before signing on the dotted line.
  • HVAC issues – Improperly installed or maintained units, aged units, and dirty air ducts can all lead to expensive issues later.  A failing gas furnace can also cause high levels of carbon monoxide, which can be deadly.
  • Water damage – Water damage on the ceilings or walls in the presence of a new roof can be a sign that the decking or underlayment of the roof might also have damage. Water damage in the basement can be a clue to foundation problems, either past or present.
  • Foundation and structural flaws – These can range from cracks inside the home along the exterior walls, uneven sidewalks or driveways near the house, doors that stick, or uneven floors.
  • Termites and other pests – Termites can eat away at the framing and flooring of your house, leaving it structurally unsafe to live in until repairs are made. Even if the home is not made primarily from wood, termites can make their way through metal siding and plaster to feast on your cabinets, floors, and furniture. If the home has any holes the size of a dime between doors or windows and the framing or in the attic, bats, mice, and bugs can come in uninvited.
  • Decaying insulation – This can lead to higher than necessary utility bills as well as uncomfortable living conditions for the new owners. It can also be a sign that unwanted critters are or have been sharing the home with the previous owners.
  • Building code violations – Many communities require occupancy inspections by a member of the city or village building or zoning departments. The occupancy inspection is a quick 30-minute inspection by the municipality’s code enforcement department looking for major safety issues, such as GFI outlets not being installed near water sources, cracked sidewalks, broken windows, mold, smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors, handrails, and peeling paint. If the inspection finds any of these issues, call the code department for a copy of the report. Put the brake on proceeding with the sale until the issues are fixed.
  • Ventilation issues – If the home has kitchen or bathroom fans, they need to be operable, clean of dust, and vented either directly outside or to an attic with a fan system.
  • Grading issues – If the land surrounding the home slopes up as you move away from the house, water can drain back towards the home, leading to erosion of the foundation, mold, and wet crawl spaces. Ideally the grounds should slope away one inch for every foot you move away from the house’s foundation.

Home sellers should also take note. The money you want to put into a fresh coat of paint for the entire home (that the new homeowner will likely change anyway) will be better spent making simple repairs and upgrades so the inspection comes back with few, if any issues.

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