A common thing in most Real Estate transactions is a home inspection, paid for by the buyer and performed by a licensed home inspector. The home inspection is typically performed within the first week after the buyer has submitted an offer and the seller accepts it. This is where most home sales fall apart; therefore, it is sometimes one of the biggest hurdles a home seller faces for a successful sale.

What Do Home Inspectors Check?

Inspectors typically start on the outside and work their way to the interior. They will be very thorough in checking everything they can visually see. Be prepared for the home inspector to look for the following on the exterior of the home:

Exterior Inspection Items

  • Proper grading to ensure water does not easily enter the home.
  • Visual damage to the driveway, such as cracking or damaged pavement.
  • Check the entire home for wood rot, commonly found at windowsills and trim boards.
  • Structural integrity of the foundation such as the sills, supports, etc.
  • Connections of electrical wiring coming into the home.
  • The roof, including the shingles and signs of problems with the sheathing.

Interior Inspection Items

  • Signs of any water penetration into the building.
  • All major systems, including the plumbing, heating, electrical panels, electrical outlets, and HVAC systems.
  • Inside and outside of any chimneys and fireplaces.
  • Signs of insects or rodents such as termites, ants, mice, and others.
  • Floor defects, such as cracking, shifting, or bows.
  • Windows for mechanical function as well as the failure of seals.
  • They will do a visual inspection of any major repairs that have been made.
  • Lastly, they will check for other kinds of disrepair and minor defects.

Common Defects Found at Home Inspections

Ceiling Stains.  One of the things that troubles home buyers is the fear of water. Stains often occur from something innocuous like a toilet overflowing or one of the kids leaving the shower curtain open. In other cases, a roof leak or plumbing problem is the cause.

Electrical Violations.  The more prevalent problems include a lack of GFI outlets (Ground Fault Interrupter) in the kitchen and baths, double-tapped electrical breakers, non-grounded outlets and issues that are found in electrical panels.

Improper Bathroom Venting Causes Issues.  Many homes with a bath fan are venting into the attic, providing the perfect breeding ground for mold in attics.  The thought of mold can easily cause a buyer not to want to purchase a home.  Most times when an inspector discovers mold, the owner usually never knew it was there. It’s one of the areas of the home many homeowners rarely visit, which leads to the potential for undiscovered problems.

Rotted Wood is a Red Flag.  Most of the time, rotted wood is due to a lack of maintenance, i.e., waiting too long to paint exterior wood and trim around the home. When uncovered wood is wet for too long, it tends to rot.  Maintenance issues are common but can lead to significant problems nonetheless.

Minor Plumbing Defects.  It is infrequent not to find minor plumbing defects. The good news is that they are usually straightforward to fix.  Some of the more common problems include dripping faucets, loose toilets, slow drains, leaky valves and older water heaters.

Chimney Defects Common.  The most common defects in chimneys are cracks and re-pointing or mortar. Often these are found at the very top of the chimney and have occurred over time due to the elements.  More significant issues happen when larger cracks around found from the base of the chimney move upward. This could indicate more of an unsafe structural issue.

Mold and Radon.  The most common places to find mold are attics, basements, and baths.  Radon is a gas found under the ground that enters the home through cracks in your concrete or dirt floor. It is a known carcinogen and something that most buyers are very cognoscente of.  While there are no federal laws regarding radon removal, most buyers will request you to remediate it if it is higher than the suggested passing limit, which is 4.0 pCi/L (picocuries per liter).

Both buyers and sellers are in better positions with real estate agents in their corner to represent their best interests while negotiating repairs.  Visit TwinSpiresRealty.com to learn how we can offer expert representation in all real estate transactions!