A home inspection is an assessment of a home’s condition. Home inspectors examine the house from roof to foundation and look at various systems. They look for issues that may be costly or dangerous. The most common home inspection findings are roof, electrical, and window problems.
Once a home inspection is complete, the inspector generates a home inspection report. This list can help you decide whether you need to adjust the price or timing of the sale.
Typical home inspection findings
Your home inspector will provide their report and recommendations. You will want to address any issues in your home inspection report once you close on the house. Remember that 86 percent of home inspections find something that needs a fix. An inspection report that finds issues doesn’t mean the house is bad.
Here are the typical parts of the home that have issues, and what percentage of inspection reports include them:
- Roof: 19.7%
- Electrical: 18.7%
- Windows: 18.4%
- Gutters: 16.9%
- Plumbing: 13.6%
- Branches overhanging the roof: 13.3%
- Fencing: 12.6%
- Water heater: 12.2%
- Driveways, sidewalks, patios, entrance landing: 11.9%
- Air conditioning: 9.9%
- Exterior paint: 9.6%
- Foundation issues/cracks: 8.9%
- Downspouts: 8.9%
- Improper ground grading: 8.8%
- Moisture: 8.5%
Over 19 percent of home inspections uncover roofing issues. Your home inspector will check for leaks, venting, material condition, and other problems. Roofing repairs can be the most costly of all the repairs. That’s why it’s wise to check your roof before putting your house on the market.
Approximately 51,000 fires start each year in the home due to improper wiring. Many new homes have a supply of power and electrical outlets. But older homes are a different story.
Older homes often don’t have enough power supply. Any extension cords could put a burden on the home electrical system and cause a fire.
Typical wiring issues are frayed insulation, DIY writing, over-fusing, and mismatched wiring. Your home inspector will likely take the National Fire Protection Association standards into consideration when they review your home.
Insulation and ventilation
Over 18 percent of home inspections uncover problems with windows. Improper insulation and ventilation are also common home inspection issues. They can reduce energy efficiency and cause problems with indoor air quality.
More than 13 percent of home inspections find issues with plumbing. Home inspectors spend extra time inspecting plumbing systems because of their complexity. Like electrical and HVAC systems, plumbing can set you back thousands of dollars.
Common issues are a leaky faucet and a clogged drain. More severe problems are DIY plumbing, cross-connection issues, and outdated pipes. These issues could translate into costly repairs.
Grading and drainage
Drainage issues usually go unnoticed until a home inspector presents a report. Poor drainage usually happens because of poor grading. It’s a severe problem, especially when rain is frequent.
If the water collects around the foundation, it can compromise the home structure. If unaddressed, it can also cause a house to collapse.
Mold is a severe health hazard. If your home inspector finds mold, you need to address it before you proceed with the sale. Mold is hard to spot since it grows in attics, basements, and between walls.
What happens after a home inspection?
When a home inspection is complete, you’ll get a report outlining your home’s condition. A home inspection report provides you with the information to negotiate home’s price. If you are in a competitive seller’s market, a buyer could waive a home inspection to fast-track the sale.
Your real estate agent can help you prepare for a home inspection. They may even attend the inspection on your behalf. A home inspection takes place within five to 10 days of both parties’ acceptance of the sale.
Who pays for the home inspection?
In most cases, a buyer pays the home inspection. A seller may arrange a pre-inspection during their pricing and appraisal phase, which they pay for. This helps them understand if there are any issues with the home so they don’t get surprised when the buyer does their inspection.
Remember that not all home inspectors are the same. The buyer’s home inspection report could outline different findings than the seller’s.
What happens after a home inspection?
So, you’ve found the home of your dreams. But the home inspection came back with recommended repairs — now what?
You have a few options depending on the cost of repairs, budget, and negotiation skills. You can ask a seller to fix the outlined issues or present a counter-offer based on the cost of repairs.
Yet, the seller has no obligation to follow your wishes. If they don’t like your conditions, they may walk away from the deal or approve another bidder. The game of home buying is one of negotiation. If you love the home, consider your options before submitting your final offer. Sometimes it’s worth waiting for the seller to make a move, and sometimes it isn’t. Your real estate agent should be able to help you through the negotiation process.
The most critical home inspection findings
Every home inspector finds different problems, and it’s essential to understand them. Many safety regulations are standard, but some may fall in the “grey zone.” Researching them could help you understand your home inspection report. It’s also a necessary step before you begin negotiating.
A home inspector will explain the extent of the issue and go over what you need to replace and repair. It may be helpful to review your home inspection report with the inspector, who can point out issues.
Here are the typical home inspection findings in your inspection report.
Foundation repairs can be costly. They often mean that there are more significant issues in other home areas. Your inspector will look for:
- Other damage
The roof is another expensive area of your home to repair. Your inspector should check for:
- Roof damage
- Poor insulation
- Loose or missing shingles
- Damage or blockage in vents and gutters
A complete inspection of the exterior of the home should include checking:
- Exterior walls
- Soil and plants around the house that may attract insects
- Crawlspaces accessible from the outdoors
- Garages or carports
- Grading and drainage of the soil
- All faucets and showers (drains, water pressure, leaks)
- Visible pipes
- The location of the home’s main water shutoff valve
A thorough inspection of electrical wiring is essential for safety. It includes testing all outlets in the house. It could also cover the following items:
- Check ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) in the bathrooms, kitchen, garage, and outdoors.
- Evaluating the electrical panel for potential safety issues and fire hazards
Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC)
Knowing the age and warranty details of your HVAC system is essential. Your home inspector will tell you if:
- Your system is functioning
- Whether you need repairs or maintenance
- The ductwork is old, inefficient, or has any issues that need repairs
- Asbestos insulation is present in the home
Your home inspector will check the water heater for:
- Proper Installation
- Estimated Age
- Repairs Needed
- Approximate length of time before you need to replace the unit
The final word on the typical home inspection findings
Purchasing a home is challenging — especially if you’re a first-time buyer. A home inspection report provides peace of mind and bargaining power. It takes the mystery out of the process and helps you budget for maintenance.
Find a reputable home inspector, and let the fun of buying a home begin!