As new home buyers, there is so much information and terminology being thrown your way. Purchasing a home can be stressful by having to educate yourself on different types of loans, disclosures, getting a home appraisal, interest rates, and more! Here is a short list of common areas that home inspectors tend to find issues with and what it actually means for you as a home buyer.
Wedge cracks (Corner cracks/Corner pops) are by far the most frequent deficiency found with foundations. These cracks develop at or very close to the outside corners of the foundation and frequently form a wedge at the corner. These cracks do not indicate anything unusual about the foundation but if they become severe, the wedge may become loose or even fall off. In extreme cases, the wedge will no longer adequately support the brick veneer and will need to be repaired. However, this is not a foundation repair, it is merely a concrete repair.
Often shingles will be broken, missing, or damaged and it will require further evaluation by a roofing specialist. During this evaluation, it is always a good idea to make sure that they inspect the entire roofing system rather than just any minimal items that may be in the report. Minimal issues may not be costly; however, they could potentially affect the insurability of the roof. Additionally, since there is no way to determine the age of a roof through visual inspection, it is always a good idea to inquire about the age of the roof with homeowner.
Lack of GFCI protected outlets in the required areas (bathrooms/garages/outdoors/crawl space/unfinished basements/kitchen countertop/located within 6 feet of the outside edge of sink) is one of the top deficiencies found with the electrical system. While a home inspection is not a “code” inspection, some of the Standards that inspectors are required to follow are based off of “codes”. When the outlets are not up to the level of the required Standard, inspectors are required to mark those items as “deficient” in order to make the consumer aware that there are safer and/or more efficient alternatives that are currently available. However, keep in mind that GFCI outlets in garage ceilings and walls can be problematic for garage door openers as well as refrigerators/freezers.
Finding temperature differentials outside the normal operating range of 14-22 degrees is a frequently noted deficiency with the cooling system. This number is obtained by subtracting the temperature of the supply side air from the temperature of the return air. The differentials give a broad picture of the overall performance of the system. Anytime the number is outside of the normal operating range, it is recommended to have it further evaluated by a licensed HVAC professional. It is also a good idea to have them check the entire HVAC system while they are on-site as they can perform more diagnostics than a home inspector is allowed. Also, keep in mind that while the industry average is 14-22 degrees, some home warranty coverages require it to be 16-17 degrees to 22 degrees in order to cover any future claims.
While the caulking and grout in bathtub and shower surrounds are usually considered to be more of a maintenance item, make sure to follow up on any recommendations made by the inspector regarding deficiencies in this area. In extreme cases when this maintenance item has been ignored for extended periods of time, water intrusion into the wall cavity could be a cause for concern and lead to additional issues.
Always remember, while no deficiencies are required to be corrected, they should always be investigated further, and any repairs can always be negotiated between the parties. As the home buyer, make sure to hire a professional home inspection company you can trust to provide you with the necessary information to make an informed decision in the purchase of your new home.
If you are ready to get your home inspection today, contact us at any of our locations: DFW 972.235.0800, Austin 512.993.5100, San Antonio 210.990.0726 or schedule your home inspection online!