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What to Expect When You’re Inspecting: The 10 Issues Found Most Often in Home Inspections

Buying & Selling
Buying & Selling
What to Expect When You’re Inspecting: The 10 Issues Found Most Often in Home Inspections

Home inspections, while essential for buyers, are known for complicating home sales.

For sellers, surprise defects found during the inspection can cause closing delays and, worse, give buyers cold feet and kill the sale.

With over half of millennials – the largest home buyer demographic – afraid of major repairs, it’s in a seller’s best interest to take care of issues that are likely to be found in an inspection before they list.

In addition to fixing defects that are visible, here are the 10 issues that, from our analysis of over 40,000 home inspection reports digitized by our repair pricing engine, appear most often in home inspection reports:

 

#10 – Roof

Because it’s the first line of a home’s defense against water damage, the roof will get extra attention from a home inspector. They won’t just be looking at shingles; they’ll check the flashing, chimney, exhaust ports, skylights, loose gutters, and all connected systems.

Having a water-tight roofing system will go a long way in easing a buyer’s mind. If there are obvious fixes to be made, they should be made before hitting the market.

 

#9 – Door Hardware

Is a wonky door knob or a busted hinge enough to send buyers running? No. But, having poorly operating doors isn’t a good first impression and, based on the obvious nature of the defect and the low cost of replacement, is an unforced selling error.

 

#8 – Cracks in Concrete

Crumbling, cracking, and uneven concrete walkways may be a cosmetic issue in most cases. But, like with poorly-operating door hardware, it’s going to be documented in the inspection and, for buyers, be added to the running tab of repairs they’ll need to make. 

This is often an easy DIY fix. If cracks are large, however, sellers may want to hire a professional.

 

#7 – Wood Rot

Wood rot is an issue that should definitely be fixed before listing. It’s obvious, unsightly, and scares buyers.

Here are the areas prone to wood rot issues. Do a visual inspection, but strongly consider hiring a professional to identify and repair problem areas:

  • Wood fascia and soffits
  • Window sills
  • Window and door trim
  • Bottoms of corner boards at siding
  • Wood around a chimney or other roof penetration
  • Base of porch columns
  • Wood decks

#6 – Trim Vegetation

If trees and shrubs are overgrown, making contact with the foundation and striking the home, they’re going to be flagged by an inspector. To avoid an unnecessary inspection strike, vegetation should be trimmed as part of the pre-list landscaping prep.

 

#5 – Faucets

Faucet leaks are easy to spot, which means buyers and inspectors will notice them too. While they may seem insignificant, the source of leaks aren’t always obvious and can originate in places other than the spout. 

If you’ve got drips, consider fixing or replacing your hardware. If you don’t know where to start, contact a pro.

 

#4 – Window Sashes

Sashes hold the window’s glass in place. If sashes are failing, the window will be inoperable and possibly need to be replaced entirely. If there’s a visible issue, you’ll want to get it fixed professionally.

 

#3 – Light Bulbs

Is a dead bulb a deal killer? No. But from a staging and presentation standpoint, every light in the home should work. It’s a small detail and an easy DIY fix. 

 

#2 – GFCI Outlets

GFCI outlets keep homeowners safe by cutting off power whenever the electrical current deviates from its intended path.

They should be installed everywhere moisture is present and are often easily recognizable by their TEST and RESET buttons.

If a home is listed with missing or malfunctioning GFCI outlets, sellers are going to hear about it between contract and closing.

 

#1 – HVAC

The most common recommendation inspectors make is to service the HVAC system. As heating and cooling systems can cost a pretty penny to replace, having the system tuned up prior to listing will go a long way in easing buyers’ minds.

 

Going Beyond Expectations

While it’s important to understand and repair the issues that commonly cause problems after an inspection, sellers should also consider the not-so-obvious defects that a professional inspector will find.

Just as sellers declutter and stage their homes to attract the most buyers, we recommend they get a pre-listing inspection to identify and fix the issues that could scare buyers off – the best way to ensure a smooth closing.