Common Home Inspection Repairs
Regardless of your position in the sale of a home, it is pretty common for people to get a little anxious about the home inspection.
Similar to going to the doctor, you are HOPING for the best, but in the back of your mind, you are worried about the worst.
Sellers are afraid that the inspector will uncover some hidden problem that could derail the sale. Buyers are wanting to get every possible detail that they can about the home they are planning to purchase. Finally, the lender and real estate agents are just hoping the home passes inspection so they can close the deal.
The following list represents the 14 most common areas that typically need repair based on the report of a home inspector.
Usually, if the air conditioning and heating system are working at all, it will simply need a minor repair.
Calling a licensed HVAC contractor to review the unit can get you the answer you need. It may be as simple as draining the water line for the air conditioner, or replacing the filters, or giving the unit a good cleaning.
However, be aware that if the contractor believes the unit is too old and too worn and needs replacing, this can be a serious investment of money.
Basic Working Order of Major Appliances
If the current appliances in a home will stay with the property when the new owner takes possession, then the inspector will likely check the working condition of the appliances.
The goal is to make sure that any issue with the appliance does not represent some type of danger to the new owner.
The inspector will be looking at the electrical cord to make sure there are no frayed lines, as well as sources of water for the refrigerator and dishwasher to spot any potential leaks.
When checking the HVAC system and appliances, the home inspector is checking for the potential of a fire to start. Damaged outlets or crisscrossed wires have the biggest opportunity to start a fire.
The other items that will be checked are smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. The smoke detector needs to be in proper working order, with up-to-date batteries. The fire extinguisher will need to have a current certificate showing its level is adequate.
Another item that may sound odd is to make sure all the windows and doors are in functioning order. A window or door that does not open correctly at the right time can be a big problem in the face of a home fire.
Waste Disposal Unit
Some kitchens are equipped with a waste disposal unit under the sink. Since these items have a few moving parts, they can wear out over time and either need a bit of attention or replacing.
Before getting out the tools and trying to remove the old unit, first try to reset it. Most of the garbage disposal units will have a button around the base of the unit. This button resets the device. You will likely need to get under the sink, with a flashlight, to locate this button.
If that does not do the trick, you may need to try the special key that comes with the garbage disposal unit. This key will allow you to manually force the teeth to turn. It is common for old items to get caught in the teeth, stopping them from turning.
Once again, the access for the key is at the bottom of the unit, likely near the reset button.
If the reset button does not work nor the key trick, it is probably a good idea to get a new disposal unit.
Problems with Porches and Decks
Whether it is on the front or rear of the home, wooden decks have increased in numbers over the last several years. Families want to have an area outside of the home that is just as comfortable and inviting for entertaining as the inside of the home.
Unfortunately, all decks are not created equal. While there are few good ways to properly construct a deck, lots of bad ways exist too. Depending on the contractor that put the deck together, there could be several problems.
Were the property building permits obtained? This is a very important to ensure there are no building code violations and that it was constructed to local and state laws.
Structural issues, as well as loose handrails, are some of the most common problems.
If the deck was built several years ago, there could be rotten boards underneath, or the deck may be separating from the house.
These items will need to be reviewed by a licensed general contractor who can recommend the best course of action for repair.
Electrical Outlet Issues
One area of electrical outlets that frequently needs attention is the GFCI. This acronym stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter. This outlet is different from a typical outlet. It contains two buttons for resetting and testing
The GFCI can disconnect from the home’s source of energy if there is a problem with grounding. This safety feature is designed to prevent an accidental electrical shock to the homeowner, or any other user, in the event of a problem.
A GFCI will commonly be found in an area that is known to have water. Places like kitchens, bathrooms, basements, and even outside outlets may commonly have a GFCI.
If the GFCI experiences some kind of problem, either the test or reset button stops working properly.
It is also a common problem to find that the GFCI was not correctly wired when it was installed.
If the home inspector notices any issue with the GFCI, a licensed electrician will need to get involved to correct the problems.
Rats and Other Varmints in Attic
The attic is usually ignored by most homeowners until there is a major problem. For this reason, varmints like rats, squirrels, opossums, bats, and raccoons can make a home up there and might go undetected until they make too much noise.
These rodents can create a big mess and also damage the home. Here is a list of the different items that rodents can either damage or destroy
- Ductwork for the heating and air conditioner unit
- Electrical wiring for the heating/air conditioning unit as well as wiring for lights and main power sources
- Insulation can be removed or destroyed
- Framework to the roof can be damaged
- Wiring for the cable tv
And don’t forget the most problematic issue with rodents: their feces are left behind wherever they roam.
If the home inspection report finds evidence of varmints, call an exterminator right away.
A toilet is a spot in most homes that gets a lot of use and therefore can easily wear out over time.
One issue is leaking around the base. This kind of leak can rot out the floor underneath the toilet and lead to lots of damage to the surrounding floor.
Another issue is the constant running of water. After a flush, the tank on the back of the toilet should fill with water from the water fill line. Once the proper level is reached, the supply of water should shut off. Constant running can be caused by several issues.
You can start by replacing the main working parts on the inside of the tank. If that does not do the trick, you can replace the whole toilet.
Potential Tripping Area
Any type of sudden change along a typical walking area is called a trip hazard by home inspectors. These hazards may be present on the outside of the home or inside the home.
On the outside, common occurrences would be the presence of a tree root or a bush root coming up through a walkway. Another example is a broken section of concrete or uneven bricks along the walkway.
Inside, a trip hazard might be present due to a lack of light over a step or stairways. Without sufficient light, it is common for people to miss a step and have an accident.
Plumbing Boots Located on the Roof
All plumbing must have access to fresh air. The air keeps the water flowing through the pipes. The air is typically introduced to the plumbing system via the roof.
There are vents in the roof that allow pipes to access clean air for the plumbing system. These vents are essentially a hole in the roof. The boot fits over the plumbing pipe and connects under the shingles of the roof. This is designed to prevent leaks that could occur from snow or rain.
If an inspector enters the attic and checks the plumbing boots, he is looking for daylight around the boot. This means the item is worn and ripe for a major leak.
Any kind of faulty issue with the boot will lead to a leak. Whether it is in the ceiling or the walls, water leaks can cause extreme damage to a home and needs to be fixed right away.
Most people dislike this home chore, but it helps the appearance and function of the home. Simply clean out the gutters.
Clogged gutters can lead to water damage along the eave of the home. It can also allow water to drip from the gutter down to the foundation of the home. The gutters are actually in place to divert water from the foundation, so this is a very bad situation.
Get the gutters thoroughly cleaned out and make a schedule to keep them clean during the year.
An alternative is to invest in gutter covers. These porous coverings allow water to flow into the gutter but keep out leaves, twigs, and other items. It also reduces the frequency of checking the gutters and almost eliminates the need to clean out the gutters.
There are a few major areas of a home where wood can rot. In no particular order, these are the windows, exterior doors, garage frame, and the eaves of the home next to the gutter.
All of these areas are exposed to the elements. Over time, they can wear down due to heat, cold, wind, rain, sleet, hail, and anything else that mother nature throws at the home.
Without proper maintenance, such as wood sealer and paint, these areas can deteriorate and start to rot.
If it is a small area, a local carpenter can fix it in a reasonable time without much work. But a significant amount of rot can be a major repair and there could be damage beneath the wood that also needs repair.
Similar to the heating and air conditioning system, a roof replacement can be a costly endeavor. That is why home inspectors usually take their time and go over the roof with a fine-tooth comb. It needs to be determined if there are any issues and the severity of the issues.
There could be some type of damage that occurred from a hailstorm or a fallen tree branch. This could be an easy fix with a call to a local roofer.
Or the entire roof could be made of old shingles that need replacing. A worse scenario is a roof that has leaked for some time and led to damage in the sub-frame of the attic. This could be a very expensive repair and make you change your mind about buying the home.
Trees and Bushes
Inspectors will often make note of limbs from trees that are too close to the home or present a possible danger to the roof.
Large bushes that are too close to the exterior walls can lead to moisture problems and issues caused by the roots growing too close to the foundation. In an ideal situation, the bushes should be at least a foot or more away from the exterior walls.
Summing Up Common Home Inspection Repairs
These are some of the top areas of concern for a home inspector and should be regarded with importance by any home seller or potential home buyer. Getting these items fixed will lead to a safer home and should give the new owners a wonderful place to live for years to come.
Additional Home Buyer and Seller Resources:
About the author: This article on “14 Common Home Inspection Repairs” was written by Luke Skar of MadisonMortgageGuys.com. As the Social Media Strategist, his role is to provide original content for all of their social media profiles as well as generating new leads from his website.
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