As a buyer, you want to have an inspection to determine what issues, major or otherwise, the home you’re purchasing might have. So, what is the home inspector likely to find? These are the 10 most common problems reported by home inspectors:
Poor grading and drainage: A recent International Association of Certified Home Inspectors survey of American and Canadian home inspectors found that poor grading and poor drainage were two of the most common problems found during home inspections. Left uncorrected, poor grading and/or poor drainage can result in water seeping into the home and causing mold, foundation issues, and other problems.
Roof damage: The roof takes the brunt of weather and storms, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that damage to it is one of the most frequently cited problems in a home inspection. Damage usually includes brittle or curled shingles, missing or broken tiles, and cracked or missing mastic around vents. These issues could allow water into the home, causing water damage and mold.
Faulty wiring: Electrical issues are also common. These can range from open junction boxes, inadequate overload protection, reversed polarity (placing the “hot” and “neutral” wires on the wrong terminal), inadequate amperage, and dangerous wiring connections. Repairs depend on the specific problem and should be addressed by an electrician.
Plumbing problems: Leaks underneath sinks and around toilets are fairly common as are slow drains and inadequate water pressure. Mold, especially in the shower, is not unusual. The home inspector may recommend a secondary inspection if the pipes are old to determine when they might need to be replaced and how much the work would cost.
Lack of ventilation: Many people seal their attics to save energy, but “over-sealing” can lead to vapor condensation and extreme heat, which in turn can cause rotting and other serious problems. It’s not uncommon for a home inspector to note that a home doesn’t have enough ventilation.
Foundation flaws: Cracks in the foundation frequently pop up on home inspection reports. Other signs that may come up in the home inspection report include sloping floors and sticky doors and windows.
Maintenance issues: Evidence of poor upkeep should come as no surprise—even a first-time home buyer can recognize worn carpeting, broken fixtures, and peeling exterior—yet these are things that are regularly noted in home inspections.
Aging water heater: The typical water heater has a life span of about 10 years. Home inspectors will report the age of the water heater, whether it is correctly installed, and any signs that it may need to be replaced soon, such as rust or puddles.
Defective HVAC system: A home inspector will also address the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system and indicate in the report its estimated age, its condition, and any necessary repairs. Often, the home inspection also includes a review of the home’s ducting and insulation.
Damaged gutters: This may not come up as frequently in Scottsdale and the Valley as in other parts of the country, but clogged and bent gutters, gutters that are too small, and splash pans that don’t divert the run off are common problems discovered during the home inspection.
As a buyer, home inspections are much easier to understand if you’re already working with a qualified Realtor. Your agent should be able to walk you through the process with an inspector, and make any necessary repairs easy to understand.