Top 10 Things We Find During Home Inspections

Most real estate transactions are subject to a home inspection, the most common type of inspection, which has to pass the buyer’s satisfaction.

While every property is unique in some way and each inspection findings will be different, a qualified and experienced home inspector could find something that might need to be fixed or upgraded – even in newly built homes. 

Since there are items that are more commonly found during home inspections, we put together a list of the most common home inspection findings that can help a seller be proactive and correct them as needed prior to listing their home, as well as help educate a buyer on the most typical issues with properties.

Here’s a list of top 10 Things We Find During Home Inspections:

1. Electrical Wiring

When we check the outlets throughout a home and the interior of the electrical breaker/fuse box, a common electrical wiring problem we find is an outlet with reversed polarity. Another common improper electrical wiring is found with double taps within the electrical breaker box – this can be considered a fire hazard and a common low cost correction is a “twin breaker”. Safety upgrades including Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) and Arc Fault protection are often missing. In older homes, knob and tube or old fabric wiring may be a concern.

2. Plumbing

We commonly find leaks in the plumbing underneath sinks and around toilets, which can be due to the incorrect type of plumbing material, a broken seal around a toilet, or even rusted/corroded plumbing. Older homes often have a galvanized water main, often leading to poor water pressure due to the corrosion of the inside of the pipe.

3. Heating System

During an inspection we remove the cover on the furnace or boiler system to check the heating system to ensure everything is visually in good working order. Many homeowners unfortunately do not have their heating systems serviced annually, so a common finding is a dirty heating system that often does not perform to its optimal efficiency. Ductwork is often “dirty” and needs to be professionally cleaned.

4. Exterior Maintenance

Deferred exterior maintenance often is a sign of other concerns such as rot. Missing or deteriorated sealants, missing siding pieces, rotted pieces, or soffits with little to no ventilation present a potential flag. Improper ventilation can negatively affect the lifespan of a home’s roof and increase energy costs.

5. Fan Ventilation

When we access the attic or crawl space, we often find that when bathroom vent fans are installed, they are not vented to the exterior of the home, but rather into the attic or crawl space. The moisture from the bathroom gets into the attic via the vent fan, which can potentially cause mold problems. A visual inspection will normally reveal excess moisture in these areas.

6. Electric Entrance Cable

The inspection will often find a frayed electrical entrance cable, or service entrance cable, due to exposure to sun and weather for a long period of time. The entrance cables do not last forever and can be a major hazard. While most will last 20 – 40 years, many homes pre-1970’s have aged cables and should be replaced.

7. Windows

During an inspection, we spot check the windows per industry standards, and often find a couple of common problems with their functionality and usefulness. Many times, even with replacement windows, they don’t function properly, have failed thermal seals, or have been painted shut.

8. Fireplaces / Chimneys

A thorough chimney and fireplace inspection should include cleaning the chimney flue and an interior inspection. Those items are beyond a normal home inspection, but an important added inspection as you consider a home purchase. A typical home inspection will visually identify flashing concerns, missing mortar and missing chimney caps. But the key item is the condition of the interior of the flue and that requires cleaning the flue and camera inspection.

9. Grading

Basement and crawl space water entry is a big concern and found many times. Why? Culprits are bad grading, ineffective foundation drains, failed sump pumps, downspouts not discharging far enough from the foundation, high ground water table, over grown vegetation, etc. Every building is different and thus the solutions vary. Sometimes simply redirecting the downspouts is a solution, but often a more an engineered solution is required.

10. Water Heater and Heating System Venting

Modern technology has brought us great improvements in efficient space heating and water heating systems. They are so efficient that the exhaust can flow through plastic pipes rather than a metal/chimney system. Unfortunately, many times the plastic pipe runs are too long, discharge at grade where they can be blocked by snow; discharge the CO2 under a deck, etc.

Yingst Engineers & Associates will provide you with a thorough, systematic evaluation of the condition of the home you wish to purchase. Over 25 years of experience and more than 25,000 buildings inspected, our physical examination of the general integrity, functionality and overall safety of a home and its various components will ensure that you know what you are purchasing prior to completing the transaction.

Rest assured our dedicated team of Professional Engineers, Architects and Professional Home Inspectors will help with all of your building inspection, construction, or design assistance needs in Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Perry, and York counties, and across the country.

Learn more about us.