The Ten Most Common Home Inspection Items

Ah, the good old home inspection. It's a stressful thing. Even for the home inspector himself/herself. It's not an easy job, and requires a lot of well-versed knowledge & often times more than a little bit of psychology. The home inspector is often entering homes of strangers who may not always be happy... Hostile even. Inspectors should be experts concerning hundreds if not thousands of home characteristics including local codes such as electrical, plumbing, building/structural, and much more. We all know that the home inspection is a critical element of every home purchase and that buyers are well advised to get a professional on the task. The home inspection timing comes in many times just after difficult negotiations and often after months of efforts by buyers, lender & real estate agents, so it is ordered amid stressed & hopeful buyers & sellers, busy schedules and folks making life changing plans based on the findings. Buyers & Sellers wait with crossed fingers & bated breaths with their lives in a temporary holding pattern while the house is examined inch by inch. The inspection findings can make or break the transaction. Is it onward to a smooth closing or back to the drawing board for all concerned?

There are plenty of good reasons to get a home inspection if you're either buying or selling a home, from having the opportunity to correct potential problems to peace of mind. Whichever end you happen to be on, whether you're selling or buying, here are the most common code violations that home inspectors run into on the job.

#1 Faulty Roofing

Roofing damage or defects caused by aging or bad installation are among the most common findings which home inspectors discover during their inspection. Negative findings pointing out roof issues doesn't necessarily mean that the roof needs to be replaced... often times it simply means that repair and maintenance may be overdue.

#2 Water Damage On The Ceiling

#3 Electrical Items 
Have any of those unsightly ceiling stains? These are common too, and they indicate past or current leaks. Yikes. The home inspector must determine if the leak was repaired or will happen again come the next rainy day. Sometimes it's difficult to determine.

One of the top code violations home inspectors run into are of the electrical variety. The majority of homes have electrical safety violations, and they can run from just having a few or a lot. Some examples are ungrounded outlets, lack of shock protection, improperly installed wiring improvements, and many others. Your home inspector will know about the electrical system as well as the city, county, and state codes that impact them. Your home may have met the electrical codes that were in place at the time it was built, but codes are being updated frequently, and your home may in fact be dangerous if the electrical system is out of compliance.

#4 Drainage

Faulty ground drainage is another culprit which can cause substantial damage to a home. Poor drainage can cause water to sneak beneath your home and can cause damage to the integrity of the home. This is another problem that is difficult to solve but can be resolved properly by seeking out qualified professionals who are experts in drainage systems.

#5 Wood Rot

Rotted wood is pervasive where home components remain wet for long periods of time. Outside locations are your home's trim, eaves, and decks. You can also run into trouble at walls and floors in the bathroom.


#6 Additions/Alterations

Code violations can often be found when homeowner's make additions and alterations without a permit.

#7 Fireplaces

Both fireplaces and chimneys are areas of concern and can be unsafe. Home inspectors often run into issues with hardware and fixtures, exterior rust damage or the simple deferred maintenance of not calling in a chimney sweep on a consistent basis.

#8 Plumbing

Plumbing defects can run rampant. Loose toilets, dripping faucets, slow and/or leaking drains are just some of the things commonly found.

#9 Water Heaters

Water heaters are another household item that can easily violate code. Violations include inadequate strapping, substandard overflow piping, unsafe flue conditions, and bad gas lines.

#10 Mold/Radon

Want to know what two of the biggest killers are in real estate transactions? Mold and radon. Prior to getting your home inspection done, you should make sure you have neither one of these issues. If you are concerned that you may have mold in your home, you would be wise to have a qualified mold expert come out to test for it. Radon is a gas found beneath the ground that can enter your home through cracks in the floor. Radon testing is becoming more and more common and radon mitigation is also quite possible.

So, if you're getting ready to have a home inspection done, there are plenty of things you can do to prepare for it. It may seem fairly obvious that your home should be in tip-top shape beforehand, but many maintenance issues are often overlooked until the inspection date arrives. The inspection can be the cause of your home not being able to sell at all and can definitely cause the home selling process to fall apart even when you make it to escrow.

As a seller... Be sure and eliminate any of the known defects present in your home before you list your house... to accomplish a smooth & successful closing.

Buyers... having a thorough home inspection completed will provide you some peace of mind about the home you choose to buy. Additionally, you may get the opportunity to have the seller make necessary repairs before you finish the purchase of your new home.

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