Common Problems Found During Home Inspections

Look for these potentially expensive flaws when buying a house.

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Dave Swartz
Home inspector Dave Swartz has developed a list of the 10 most common home defects, many of them emphasizing the issues that Austin and Rick highlighted above:

1. Faulty wiring. Worn or outdated systems and homeowner additions are the most common defects, especially in older homes. Electrical system problems are safety related and require immediate attention.

2. Roof problems. Improperly installed and aged surfaces occur frequently. We also see poorly installed or missing flashing at transition areas. Repairs may be simple or the entire roof may need to be replaced. Follow up any adverse roofing system findings with an evaluation by a competent roofer.

3. Heating/cooling system defects. Improper installations, inadequate maintenance and aged components are common.

4. Plumbing issues. The most common defects are leaking, outdated or problematic systems such as polybutelene. Repairs can often be made, but on occasion total system replacement is the only solution.

5. Inadequate insulation and ventilation in attic. Poor insulation and poor ventilation cause excessive utility costs and lack of occupant comfort.

6. Whole house is poorly maintained. Deferred maintenance represents a potential high cost situation to bring the home back into condition. If the homeowner did not properly care for the home, someone will need to later.

7. Poor drainage around the structure. Water needs to drain away from the structure at its perimeter to prevent water intrusion. Roof gutters and downspouts can sometimes be added to rectify site drainage problems.

8. Air and water penetrating cracks and window perimeters at exterior. Structure cracks and separations at the windows can allow water into the wall cavities, which is conducive to mold growth.

9. Minor structural damage. Cut and broken trusses are often seen in attic cavities and on occasion we also see structural components missing. Usually repairs are needed, however we find it is rarely an imminent safety hazard.

10. Potential environmental problems. Signs of mold growth represents the latest environmental scare. Homebuyers should consider a complete environmental evaluation of the property before buying.

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