When selling your home a buyer will most likely want to do a home inspection. Below is a list of the most common home inspection issues, and if you can take care of these in advance, it should be a smooth home inspection.
Prior to the Inspection:
Be sure to clear out areas of clutter. The Home Inspector will need access to tight spaces like utility closets, under sink cabinets, crawl spaces and more. Discard or remove items that will block these access points and make sure that the spaces are clean.
Next, address the minor maintenance issues that could affect the buyer’s decision. Repair or replace missing doorknobs. If you have a crack in a window pane or damaged screen, get it patched up. Burnt out light bulbs should be replaced and rain gutters should be cleaned and positioned to away from the property. These may seem like small things to you because you have been living with them but even the smallest wear and tear can cause the buyer to choose another property.
Repair Roof Problems
Roof leakage is one of the most common concerns found in a home inspection. Missing or broken shingles, damaged flashing, and any signs of rot can seriously affect the outcome. Like we mentioned before, drainage is a key concern so be sure to have the water draining away from the property. Replacing and repairing any signs of wear and tear will make a huge difference in the outcome of the inspection. Even if your roof has recently been replaced, the ceiling inside the home may show stains which will be cause for alarm. Go through and make sure all interior walls and ceilings are leak and stain free.
Old Wiring and Outdated Electrical
There are all kinds of outdated or inadequate electrical issues that can plague a home, especially in New England with homes as old as they are. They will be looking for knob and tube wiring or flat cables and if any are present, they will draw attention to it. They will also be on the lookout for rust, burnt wiring, and an overloaded circuit. If your home is pulling more amps than allowed, it can be a major fire hazard. Even though you may have fashioned yourself as a do-it-yourselfer, you most definitely should hire an experienced and licensed electrician to bring your electrical up to code. Flaws in the electrical system are major problems due to the safety and repair implications for future homeowners.
If your home is plagued with plumbing defects, they are sure to rear their ugly head at the time of the inspection. They will be flushing toilets, turning on faucets and running showers. They will check the hot water heater’s function along with piping and fixtures to ensure everything is in working order, so we suggest you do the same. That leaky faucet may not have bothered you but it will for sure bother the inspector. Do not make major plumbing changes yourself- consult a licensed plumber to ensure the job gets done correctly.
Damp Basement? Dry It Out!
In Massachusetts, wet basements are a huge concern. As a matter of fact, the American Society of Home Inspectors estimated that 60% of homes in the US have wet basements. This goes back to the drainage concerns, so be sure to have the drainage flowing far away from the basement walls. If you have cracked slabs or puddling that should definitely be addressed prior to the inspection. You’ll have to first determine if the water is coming from either indoor humidity or from outside seeping in. Once that is identified and corrected, there are further measures you can take to insulate and prevent this from being an issue in the future. You can hire an experienced technician to help you eradicated this issue in the home prior to the inspection.
Heating & Cooling System Inefficiencies
If your home heating system has been inspected and serviced yearly than you probably won’t have anything to be concerned about. If not, make sure that the system does not have broken controls, blocked chimneys or an unsafe exhaust. In some systems, the Carbon Monoxide output will be inspected due to the high levels that are associated. If the heat exchangers are damaged they will need to be replaced – they cannot be repaired. Although expensive, an upgraded and more efficient heating system can be a strong point to a buyer because it will mean lower monthly heating bills.
A huge issue in the attic is improper vapor barriers and poorly installed insulation which can plague the space with unwanted mold. Inspectors will examine the roof ducts and will pull up insulation to check for obstructions. Make sure your attic access is clear and safe for passage. If there are signs of leaks or moisture, be sure to fix it at the source, which could be from either improper bath ventilation or roof leaks. Another potential concern in the attic space are unwanted critters- they can get in and make a home for themselves which can cause structural damage. Call in a pest control company if there are signs of gnawed wood, nests, or stashes of nuts and food.
Some energy efforts by homeowners have caused homes to have inadequate air movement which can cause moisture and rot. The most typical places where this occurs is in the bathroom and kitchen venting where it is not adequately vented causing moisture to circulate back into the home. Oftentimes, the issue can be troubleshooted by ensuring tight joints between the ductwork in the home with approved sealants.
Overall Home Upkeep
Many times the home inspectors will reveal imperfections such as cracked paint, shoddy wiring, broken appliances, and more. The bottom line is it shows a lack of upkeep and maintenance. So when making your home inspection improvements be sure the following have no major issues:
- Entry doors
- Garage door function
- Roof repair
- Window seals and insulation
- Gaps in siding or missing shingles
- Insect damage and signs of termites
- Broken or clogged gutters
There are all kinds of security features that keep your home safe. Proper door locks including deadbolts will be checked for proper functionality. The window latches will also be checked along with patio doors and any other access points. Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors should be present and in good working order- if these are not up to code, buyers could have issues obtaining a loan to purchase your home.
Cracks and Concerns in Foundation
Some homes may have damage to structural components. These places include foundation, floor joists, ceiling rafters or window/door headers. They will examine all of these areas to ensure there are no potential issues regarding the support of the home. Even if the home is new, it should be checked for these types of problems.
Ultimately, no one expects your home to be perfect but they do want to make sure it will be safe and comfortable for their family. If you’re proactive and have your home prepared for inspection, the process will be a smooth one and your buyers will have less ammunition with which to renegotiate selling price.