Common Home Inspection Defects
Since the mid 1980’s, disclosure of property defects have become the primary focus of most residential real estate transactions. These days you can no longer trust that the sellers disclosure statement is based on absolute knowledge and truth. Over the past four decades, home inspectors have attained prominent acceptance as being a distinct and essential Real Estate profession by providing the invaluable service of inspecting and disclosing property defects. Home inspections are without question the best consumer protection service available.
When choosing a home inspector, be careful and practice your due diligence. Colorado is one of 19 states in the country that does not regulate or license home inspectors. To protect yourself, make sure that the home inspector you choose is certified by a national organization and has passed the NHIE (National Home Inspector Exam). Today, the process to become a home inspector is not an easy one by any stretch of the imagination.
Certification requires extensive training that covers every aspect of a home and its systems. We undergo continuing education classes every year to ensure that we are up to date with the very latest in home inspection tools and techniques. We are also fully insured for your protection as well as ours. To those who approach the Colorado real estate market with the old “as-is” mind-set, the advantages of a home inspection are not immediately apparent. But make no mistake; a thorough inspection by a professional home inspector can save you from very costly discoveries after the close of escrow. Again, it is the best consumer protection service available today.
Every home, regardless of age, price or quality, has some type of defective conditions. Some are obvious, while others are only apparent to those who know how and where to look. When you hire an experienced, certified home inspector, there is no question as to whether unknown defects will be found; but rather what, where, and how serious, dangerous, or expensive the defects will turn out to be.
Most home buyers spend approximately twenty minutes or so walking through a home prior to making an offer. At best, this provides a general impression of the overall physical condition. You have no doubt heard the expression lipstick on a pig. This is a very common phrase used in the Real Estate industry. You walk into a freshly painted home and see all of the new carpet, tile, counter tops and cabinets and write up an offer. But what about the foundation, electrical system, plumbing, attic construction, insulation, ventilation, and roof conditions? These are just a few of the hundreds of considerations included in a home inspection. Remember it is what is underneath all that lipstick that really matters when it comes to purchasing a home.
Most common defects found during home inspections
Construction defects and safety violations are surprisingly common, but the majority of home inspection findings tend to be routine in nature. Some, in fact, rear their unsightly heads as often as the sun rises. Not just in older homes, but in brand new ones as well, even before the smell of new paint is gone.
Without question the most common defect we see every day in Colorado is water intrusion. Leaking roofs, basements and crawlspaces, improper grading of the site, damaged or improper roof flashings, damaged or missing gutters, and downspouts discharging too close to the homes foundation are just a few of the many problems we see every day.
Coming in at a close 2nd are DIY issues or as we like to call them “uncle bob specials”. All too often during home inspections we run across issues that were created by the homeowner making repairs or upgrades themselves in an attempt to save money. By far the most common DIY issue we run across are electrical problems. Uncle bob doesn’t typically stop at the electrical panel, he has been caught doing plumbing, roofing and structural repairs also.
Heating and Air Conditioning
All too often these very important and essential systems are severely neglected by homeowners. Colorado summer and winter weather wreaks havoc on your HVAC system. Proper maintenance should be more than just a suggestion when it comes to these systems, it should be an absolute requirement. Missing or damaged insulation on lines, clogged or damaged cooling fins, abnormal flame pattern, corrosion, debris inside panel, dirty filters etc. are just a few of the issues we see daily.
Problems with roofing, either due to worn out or missing flashing, age, wear, storm damage or improper installation are likely to be found in many homes. This does not necessarily mean that most roofs are in need of replacement, but rather that most are in need of some type of maintenance or repair.
Electrical Safety Hazards
Electrical safety hazards, especially (but not always) in older homes: Examples are un-grounded outlets, lack of ground fault interrupters (shock protection devices), faulty wiring conditions in electrical panels, spliced wiring, open junction boxes, double tapped breakers etc. Such problems may be the result of errors at the time of construction, but more often than not in this day of the DIY handyman, they are due to wiring that was added or altered by persons other than qualified electricians.
Plumbing issues can be an absolute nightmare for you as well as your home inspector. Sometimes you can see them, sometimes you can’t. Loose toilets, dripping faucets, slow or leaking drains, corroded supply and waste pipes, leaking connections, improper discharging of sump pump or condensate lines, improper slopes on waste lines, improperly installed or missing drain traps seem to be the most common issues we encounter.
Obviously, these are just a few of the most common defects we encounter daily. An unabridged list of likely home inspection findings would probably fill a few libraries. For home buyers, this underscores the importance of having a thorough home evaluation done by a professionally trained licensed Home Inspector prior to closing escrow.