I receive a lot of calls from people asking "what are the most common things you find?" So I've listed the following common findings (no importance implied by order)
Whole House is Poorly Maintained – Deferred maintenance represents a potential high cost situation to bring the home back into a satisfactory condition. If the present homeowner did not properly care for the home over the years, then someone will need to play catch up on the deferred maintenance or upgrade the home - sooner or later; preferably sooner. My home inspection report can often be utilized as a checklist in order to get the home back up to standards.
Poor Drainage around the Structure - All roof water needs to drain away from the structure at its perimeter to prevent water intrusion back beneath the slab or into the crawl space; downspout extensions can be installed to rectify most site drainage problems. Grading (sloped away from the foundation) is also very important in this situation.
Electrical Issues - Insufficient overload protection to the electrical service and amateur (and often dangerous) wiring connections are my most common everyday issues. Recently, failure to install GFCIs and AFCI breakers to protect bedroom circuits has been overlooked. Electrical system problems are usually safety related and may require immediate attention by a licensed Electrician.
Inadequate Insulation & Attic Ventilation – Poor insulation and poor ventilation causes excessive utility costs and lack of occupant comfort. Most older homes require additional insulation which then may requires a ventilation improvement. In other situations... in an effort to save energy, many homeowners have “over sealed” their homes with insulation with no regard to ventilation, resulting in excessive interior moisture due to the inadequate ventilation. Significant moisture and excessive heat build-up within the attic cavity can lead to rapid shingle deterioration, mold build-up, peeling of exterior paint, rusty nails, energy loss and rotting and failure of both structural and non-structural elements.
Heating/Cooling System Defects - Improper installations, inadequate maintenance, exhaust and combustion issues, aged components, and malfunctioning safety controls are the most frequent issues I encounter on a daily basis. Roof Issues – Improperly installed and aged roof surfaces occur frequently. I frequently find poorly installed or missing flashing at the transition areas. Repairs may be simple or (at times) the entire roof may need to be replaced.
Minor Structural Damage - Minor structural damage means the house is not likely to fall down, but someone should correct with the problem before it becomes a more serious issue. Such damage is usually caused by water seepage into the foundation, floor joists, rafters or window and door headers are found unstable. First you need to fix the cause of the problem (a leaky roof or improper drainage outside the foundation, for example), then repair or replace any damaged structural members. Inadequate caulking or weather stripping is most common. Obviously, the more extensive the damage, the more expensive it will be to repair.
Plumbing Issues – The most common defects are leaking gaskets, deteriorated cast iron waste pipes, leaking and outdated problematic systems like polybutylene and galvanized piping and any incompatible piping materials. Failure to correctly ‘high loop’ dishwasher drain lines is a recent recurring find on newer homes. Repairs can often be made by a licensed Plumber but on occasion, partial replacements of entire systems may be needed.
Air and Water Penetrating Cracks and Window Perimeters at Exterior – Foundation cracks and separations at windows can allow water into the wall cavities which is conducive to rot and Mold growth.
Attic or Crawl Space Structural Damage – Cut, modified and broken trusses, rafters and floor joists are often found and on occasion I also find structural components completely missing. Usually carpentry repairs are needed, however I find it is rarely an imminent safety hazard.
Termites and other Wood Destroying Organisms – Due to the local environment and the permissive conditions, termites flourish here in South Carolina. Almost without exception, wood boring insect damage can be corrected. Costs will always depend on how excessive the insect damage is. Termite damage found in any sill plate areas will likely be costly to repair.
Fire Safety Issues - Smoke Detectors, Carbon Monoxide Detectors, Electrical issues and Fireplaces are often neglected.