During the home inspection process, home inspectors report that most home defects are extremely similar. In light of this, knowing these common home problems can help both the buyer and seller be more proactive in the homebuying process.
For sellers, you can take a quick inventory of your home to see if any problems exist, in order to address and fix them immediately. For buyers, you can prepare yourselves for these common home defects and educate yourselves on how you can proceed with the homebuying process, such as requesting repairs be completed or repair costs covered by the seller.
Here are 10 common home defects that inspectors can typically identify:
1. Poor drainage. Inspectors will determine whether water moves away from the house properly and whether the roof needs new gutters and downspouts. They can also inspect whether the ground-level drainage systems have been properly graded.
2. Faulty electrical wiring. Older homes often need electrical upgrades, including new wiring and circuit breaker panels, which replace old-fashioned fuse boxes. If electrical wiring isn't properly installed or grounded, a home may be vulnerable to fire.
3. Leaking roof. Leaking roofs result from poor flashing or aging shingles and roofing materials. Depending on the type of damage, repairs can range from minor to extensive.
4. Aging or defective heating system. Older heating systems may be energy-inefficient and require maintenance. Non-electrical heating systems run the risk of emitting carbon monoxide.
5. Poor maintenance. A do-it-yourself seller's band-aid fixes to plumbing, electrical and other problems may cause more harm than good.
6. Structural damage. A leaking roof or settling foundation may mean doorways, walls and support beams are off-kilter and unstable.
7. Plumbing problems. Inspectors look for faulty pipes and fixtures, as well as whether plumbing parts are made of compatible materials. Some pipes, like polybutylene, are more leak-prone than others.
8. Water seepage through windows and doors. If a home inspector sees evidence of water damage or intrusion, then re-caulking windows and doors, adding weather-stripping or other more extensive repairs may be necessary.
9. Poor ventilation. If moisture has accumulated in a home, it can lead to structural damage. Installing ventilation fans and keeping windows open can help, but buyers may find they need to replace walls or other structural aspects of a home.
10. Hazardous materials. Older homes may contain lead-based paint and asbestos materials. Depending on structure and climate, homes may also contain unhealthy levels of carbon monoxide, radon gas, or toxic molds.
Hedy Goldman has lots of knowledgeable information to share. She has been practicing real estate since 1996 and is a 2010 gold award winner at Windermere Real Estate SoCal. Hedy sells all over San Diego, but specializes in North County Coastal. She can be reached at (858) 504-2334 or San Diego Realtor.