While homebuyers are as individual as the homes they plan on
purchasing, one thing they share is a desire to ensure that the
home they will call their own is as good beneath the surface as
it appears to be.

Will the roof end up leaking? Is the wiring safe? What about the
plumbing? These, and others, are the questions that the buyers
looking at your home will seek professional help to answer.

According to industry experts, there are at least 33 physical
problems that will come under scrutiny during a home inspection.
We’ve identified the 11 most common of these and, if not
identified and dealt with, any of these 11 items could cost you
dearly in terms of repair.

In most cases, you can make a reasonable pre-inspection yourself
if you know what you’re looking for. And knowing what you’re
looking for can help you prevent little problems from growing
into costly and unmanageable ones.


1. Defective Plumbing.
Defective plumbing can manifest itself in two different ways:
leaking, and clogging. A visual inspection can detect leaking,
and an inspector will gauge water pressure by turning on all
faucets in the highest bathroom and then flushing the toilet.

If you hear the sound of running water, it indicates that the
pipes are undersized. If the water appears dirty when first
turned on at the faucet, this is a good indication that the pipes
are rusting, which can result in severe water quality problems.

2. Damp or Wet Basement.
An inspector will check your walls for a powdery white mineral
deposit a few inches off the floor, and will look to see if you
feel secure enough to store things right on your basement floor.
A mildew odor is almost impossible to eliminate, and an inspector
will certainly be conscious of it.

It could cost you $200-$1,000 to seal a crack in or around your
basement foundation depending on severity and location. Adding a
sump pump and pit could run you around $750 - $1,000, and
complete waterproofing (of an average 3 bedroom home) could
amount to $5,000-$15,000. You will have to weigh these figures
into the calculation of what price you want to net on your home.

3. Inadequate Wiring & Electrical.
Your home should have a minimum of 100 amps service, and this
should be clearly marked. Wire should be copper or aluminum.
Home inspectors will look at octopus plugs as indicative of
inadequate circuits and a potential fire hazard.

4. Poor Heating & Cooling Systems.
Insufficient insulation, and an inadequate or a poorly
functioning heating system, are the most common causes of poor
heating. While an adequately clean furnace, without rust on the
heat exchanger, usually has life left in it, an inspector will be
asking and checking to see if your furnace is over its typical
life span of 15-25 yrs. For a forced air gas system, a heat
exchanger will come under particular scrutiny since one that is
cracked can emit deadly carbon monoxide into the home. These
heat exchangers must be replaced if damaged - they cannot be

5. Roofing Problems.
Water leakage through the roof can occur for a variety of reasons
such as physical deterioration of the asphalt shingles (e.g.
curling or splitting), or mechanical damage from a wind storm.
When gutters leak and downspouts allow water to run down and
through the exterior walls, this external problem becomes a major
internal one.

6. Damp Attic Spaces.
Aside from basement dampness, problems with ventilation,
insulation and vapor barriers can cause water, moisture, mold and
mildew to form in the attic. This can lead to premature wear of
the roof, structure and building materials. The cost to fix this
damage could easily run over $2,500.

7. Rotting Wood.
This can occur in many places (door or window frames, trim,
siding, decks and fences). The building inspector will sometimes
probe the wood to see if this is present - especially when wood
has been freshly painted.

8. Masonry Work.
Rebricking can be costly, but, left unattended, these repairs can
cause problems with water and moisture penetration into the home
which in turn could lead to a chimney being clogged by fallen
bricks or even a chimney which falls onto the roof. It can be
costly to rebuild a chimney or to have it repointed.

9. Unsafe or Overfused Electrical Circuit.
A fire hazard is created when more amperage is drawn on the
circuit than was intended. 15 amp circuits are the most common
in a typical home, with larger service for large appliances such
as stoves and dryers. It can cost several hundred dollars to
replace your fuse panel with a circuit panel.

10. Adequate Security Features.
More than a purchased security system, an inspector will look for
the basic safety features that will protect your home such as
proper locks on windows and patio doors, dead bolts on the doors,
smoke and even carbon monoxide detectors in every bedroom and on
every level. Even though pricing will vary, these components
will add to your costs. Before purchasing or installing, you
should check with your local experts.

11. Structural/Foundation Problems.
An inspector will certainly investigate the underlying footing
and foundation of your home as structural integrity is
fundamental to your home.

To sum up, when you put your home on the market, you don’t want
any unpleasant surprises that could cost you the sale of your
home. By having an understanding of these 11 problem areas,
you’ll be arming yourself against future disappointment.

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