The majority of purchasers are not overly surprised by the findings of their home inspection. Before getting this far, they have usually had a very close look at the property. And yes, they already know about the peeling paint and old furnace. They may even have noticed the wet basement and taken that into account when making their offer.
It is when an inspection uncovers something unexpected that an inspection condition could save you from making a major mistake. Below are some of the more common problems found in a typical home inspection. While most of these problems are usually obvious and have already been reflected in the purchase price, a home inspection lets you know if your personal opinion of the structural condition of the property is correct (i.e. is it in as good of shape as I think it is?).
1. Minor maintenance problems:
Poor overall maintenance usually leads to a large range of problems that will require the new homeowner's attention. These can include everything from peeling paint to rotting decks.
2. Minor structural problems:
These problems are typical in older homes, and can cover everything from cracked plaster to small movements in the foundation. While they are not likely to cause the house to fall down, they should be corrected before they become more serious.
3. Grading/drainage problems:
In many parts of the United States this is a very common problem. Improper grading and drainage can often lead to damp or wet footings/basements. Correction can range from installing new roof gutters and downspouts to installing weeping tiles. It should be noted that sometimes simply re-grading the surrounding lawn to channel surface water away from the house is sufficient.
4. Older/insufficient electrical system:
It is very common to find older homes with undersized services, aluminum wiring, knob-and-tub wiring or inadequate/poorly-renovated distribution systems. It is important to have these problems looked into since they are potentially dangerous.
5. Older/poorly installed plumbing:
It is also very common to find plumbing problems in older homes. Repairs can range from a simple 10-minute fix to expensive replacement. It is a good idea to get an expert opinion.
6. Older/leaking roof:
On average an asphalt roof lasts 15 to 20 years. It is difficult to estimate roof age accurately from the ground unless the roof is either very new or very close to the end of its lifespan. You also need to know how many layers are under it in order to determine if the roof needs to be completely stripped before installing the new shingles.
7. Older heating/cooling system:
Older and poorly maintained heating/cooling systems are inefficient and could pose a serious safety and health risk. While replacement may seem expensive, the newer more efficient systems do reduce heating/cooling costs substantially, thus helping to recoup your investment.
8. Poor ventilation:
Excessive moisture from un-vented bathrooms and cooking areas can damage plaster, promote the growth of mold and fungus, deteriorate windows and cause allergic reactions. These problems need to be corrected before the damage becomes excessive.
9. Excessive air leakage:
Poor weather stripping, badly fitted doors, deteriorated caulking and poor attic seals all contribute to a cold and drafty home. Repairs are usually simple and inexpensive.
10. Environmental problems:
These can include asbestos, formaldehyde, leaking underground oil tanks, nearby gas stations, contaminated drinking water, lead-based paint and radon gas. It is important to discuss these potential hazards with a professional and arrange for a specialized inspection if necessary.