It’s easy to fall in love when you’re house hunting. After showings at outdated, ugly properties, finally making an offer on a home you adore can be incredibly exciting. While it’s difficult to keep emotions out of the transaction, the purchase of a home should be guided by your head, not your heart. A home inspection can help you keep perspective in the due diligence period of the sale.
Home inspectors provide a professional, unbiased insight into the condition of a property. While your realtor might have some guidance on the home’s history, only a home inspector can offer the in-depth knowledge you need before you sign on the dotted line of the mortgage. Before your home inspection, you may have no idea what lies below the hardwood floors or above the popcorn ceilings.
As you prepare for your home inspection, take a look at five of the most common defects found during the inspection process:
Vapor condensation. High temperatures. Discolored flooring. These symptoms are all signs that a home has ventilation issues. The issue lies in the number of exterior vents. These vents help maintain the intake of fresh air and outpouring of polluted air. When a house does not have enough exterior vents, airflow decreases, trapping water vapor from the shower, smoke from last night’s skillet dinner and more. Over time, poor ventilation can lead to mold growth, which can have serious health implications for the residents of the home.
Poor ventilation doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have to call off the sale, however. With the right ventilation solution, you can ensure air is flowing properly while minimizing the risk of mold growth. Adding exterior vents doesn’t have to be expensive, and some handy homeowners may even decide to tackle the project themselves. If your home inspector reports poor ventilation in the property you hope to buy, consider asking the seller to chip in for the installation of additional vents.
The roof is a home’s workhorse. Exposed to the elements like no other part of the house, the roof is subjected to rain, snow, sleet, wind and more. It’s no wonder that roof issues are one of the most common defects found during home inspections. Older roofs may have broken or missing shingles, leaks and other structural damage. Depending on how large the roof is and how significant the damage is, roof issues can bring the sale of a home to a halt. A new roof can cost upwards of $15,000 – and that’s on the low end.
Since it’s difficult to determine the roof’s condition from the ground level, be sure your home inspector conducts a thorough examination during your appointment. While not considered part of the standard inspection process, roof inspections are worth the extra investment. Ask your home inspector about roof examination options, as many professionals are opting to use state-of-the-art drone technology for the job.
Worn carpets, peeling paint and cracked driveways are all commonly found during the home inspection process. Many of these defects can be spotted without the keen eye of a home inspector, but only an experienced professional can tell you how serious these issues truly are. Though common, these issues aren’t necessarily dealbreakers. In many cases, they’re truly cosmetic. If you’re planning to rip out the carpet and replace it with hardwood flooring anyway, learning that the carpet has been soaked through with pet urine isn’t the end of the world.
Even when the fixes are easy, poorly maintained homes should still give you pause. After all, if a homeowner was negligent with their carpeting or driveway, who knows what else they might have failed to maintain around the house?
There are few things that strike more fear into the hearts of home buyers than the words “faulty wiring.” While wiring issues can indeed be troublesome, they’re also incredibly common. Home inspectors frequently find issues like no wire nuts were used on wires, mismatched amperages and open junction boxes. Thankfully, these are all easy fixes and can be solved quickly by an electrician.
Old wiring, on the other hand, may be a dealbreaker for some buyers. Pre-1960 knot and tube style electrical systems often fail to meet code, and converting a home to a more modern system can get expensive fast. Talk with your home inspector about how serious the wiring issues might be – they’ll offer you the insight you need to make a decision or help guide you to do more research.
Property inspectors frequently find house grading issues in their examination of homes. Water may be ponding in the backyard, grade levels may be too high against the side of the home and gutters may be missing their downspouts. Some of these issues are easily resolved. Others? Not so much. Be sure to ask your home inspector if they spotted any leakage issues around the property, and if so, what they believe to be the cause.
If you’re having your dream home inspected soon, it’s worth keeping this list handy to assuage any anxieties you have about the process. While ignorance may seem like bliss, you’ll want to feel confident in your understanding of common defects when the inspection report is sent over. Remember, even the most dramatic of defect can usually be resolved with the right professionals on the job!