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Top 10 Home Inspection Nightmares

Written by: Catalogs.com Editorial Staff

March 17, 2011
Filed Under Home Improvement 

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Home inspection nightmares and how to prevent themContributed by David Galassi, Catalogs.com Top 10 Guru

Buying a new home is an exciting and overwhelming milestone for many. The home inspection is a critical part of the process.

New home – and old home – pitfalls are abundant. Knowing what to look for in a home inspection, and what to request of a certified home inspector, can help avoid expensive mistakes and mis-decisions. Here are the top ten home inspection nightmares:


10. The AC/furnace

The furnace and a/c can be a home inspection nightmare

Look for the date of manufacture and service tags. Look for cracked heat exchangers, bad blowers and defective AC coils along with outside compressor units. Test run and check the temperature for each component to avoid a heating or cooling disaster caused by nonfunction. Observe each vent for air flow. Check clothes dryer venting and damper operation.

9. Roofing

A bad roof is a home inspection nightmare

Look for cracked roof tiles, bad shingles, deteriorated flashings and vents and leaking gutters and down spouts. All these are signs of a roof in severe disrepair. A roof is expensive. Look in the attic for signs of water leaks related to the roofing components.

8. Electric panel

Faulty electric panels create a nightmare of fire hazard in the home

A faulty or insufficient electric panel can pose serious risk of fire. Open the panel cover and look for doubled up breakers, poor wiring, burn spots and corrosion and the service feeds from the utility company. Look for the date of manufacture and service tags.

7. Built-in appliances

Malfunctioning freezer and other appliances are a home inspection nightmare

Look for leaks in the dishwasher and ice maker, test the microwave, turn on the oven and all the cook top burners, check the freezer for excess frost and bad gaskets. Look for the date of manufacture and service tags. Old appliances aren’t all bad. Consider the opportunity to purchase new to get eco-friendly benefits of green appliances that are a bonus for the home buyer.

6. Hot water heater and plumbing

Plumbing issues both major and minor are home inspection nightmares

Look for leaks and corrosion. Look for the date of manufacture and service tags. Test run the water and see how hot it is. Check the vent piping for cracks as well. Run all drains to see if they function. Check the sump pump for operation and battery back up. Look at as much piping and plumbing fixtures as are visible for leaks and drainage slope.

5. Interior finishes

Cracked drywall and other surface blemishes may be discovered during home inspection

Look for cracked drywall. Look for cracked cabinet doors and frames. Check each interior door to see if they close and lock. Look at all the trim and observe corner cracks. Hardwood flooring should be observed for open cracks and squeaks. Tile and marble should be checked for grout and tile cracks. All handrails should be well attached and in the correct places. Check basement walls for cracks and leaks.

4. Windows and doors

Leaking windows and doors will be uncovered during home inspection

Check all exterior doors for correct operation and locking function. Check for weather stripping and gaskets to see if light shows through. This would be a sign of leakage. Check each window to see if they open and close/lock correctly. Look for torn screens. Look for water stains at the windows as that is a sign of leaking.

3. Exterior trim

Crumbling stairs, broken walkways and corroded trim are a homebuyer's nightmare

Look for rotted facia and soffit board. Look for cracked brick work and stucco. Look at the chimney for cracks. Concrete and paver walks/patios should be observed for cracks and settling. Steps should be observed for slope and drainage and cracking. Observe landscaping and flower beds for their condition.

2. Pests

Termites and other pests can eat you out of house and home

Pests – termites, woodworms, rodents, even raccoons, can eat you out of house and home and then eat your home. Have a licensed and bonded pest inspector check and certify the home. Termites and rodents along with other types of infestation should be observed and noted. Discuss all your options for pest control before moving forward.

1. Amateur hour

A certified home inspector can prevent home inspection nightmares

Save yourself the despair of a home inspection nightmare. If you feel you are not qualified to observe and comment on any building component as listed then hire a certified home inspector or component specialist. Ask to see certifications, licenses and references. HVAC, electrical and plumbing inspectors are available to comment further on special problems that may present themselves. A professional will photo document all findings and include the garage in all above inspections.

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