If you’re in the midst of making an offer on a home, you’re likely going to be having the property in question inspected by a professional home inspector. It’s recommended that you do some thorough research before hiring an inspector. Check their references and ensure that they’re registered with a recognized association. And, before you head into a state of shock and dismay upon reading the final inspection, here are the most common violations and defects an inspector might find. Older buildings may well have some of these issues, and while some are less worrisome than others, you’ll want to be prepared to estimate costs for improvements, to help you best negotiate your offer.
Defects are different from code violations, in that they tend to indicate general wear and tear on part of a house, as opposed to indicating that something is not built to code standards. Roofs defects, caused by aging or improper installation are likely to be found. This may not mean that a roof needs replacement, but it may be the case that it’s in need of maintenance and repair. Your inspector should be able to tell you if the roof will need replacing. In this situation, you’ll want to get some estimates on the cost of replacing the roof. Roof replacement costs will depend entirely on the size and type of roof.
Ceiling stains in homes can be an indication of past or current leaks. The challenge with this particular defect is to determine whether or not the leak was repaired and if it will recur again.
Another defect that can suck the value out of a home is a faulty drainage system. If the drainage system is poor, then the home may be prone to flooding. A good drainage system will prevent water intrusion beneath buildings.
Wood rot is common in areas that have been exposed for long periods of time. Exterior locations like trim, eaves and decks may be suffering from wood rot, and the other suspect rot spot is in bathroom floors where there’s consistent exposure to moisture.
Failed sealing around dual pane windows may be found. These will result in fogging
Other more manageable defects may be found, such as plumbing defects with dripping faucets, slow and/or leaking drains, switched hot and cold faucets, and loose toilets.
As well as finding common defects, your building inspector might come across some common code violations. A code violation is when some element in the construction of the home violates the code standards. In older homes this can be the case, if a home, which may have originally been built up to code has not been updated, and now some structural elements are out of date.
Issues most commonly associated with structural and framing violations are inadequate fastening, improperly sized beams, studs and floor joists. Other common violations that should not be overlooked are grading, foundation, footings and fire blocking.
Improper structure of stairs and handrails are another common violation. Poor spacing of spindles that allows infants to either get their heads or entire body through them are not permitted according to updated codes of construction.
In terms of electrical installation and panels, older homes can often be double tapped. Other electrical defects can be present, such as shorted or dead outlets and missing electrical junction box covers.
Some code violations are dangerous, but easily corrected. These might include broken or improperly installed smoke detectors.
Be prepared to encounter some of the above defects and code violations during you home inspection, particularly if you are looking into purchasing an older home.