Home inspections have gone far beyond being a luxury to become a necessity. Whether they are conducted for the buyer or the seller, proper and thorough home inspections can mean a lot of money. Buyers can avoid becoming entrapped in a money pit that needs constant repair, while sellers can be confident their home is worthy of their asking price or higher.
There are a number of building conditions that are counted among the most common problems found during a home inspection. Many of these can be discovered and addressed before the inspector even arrives.
Problems with water and drainage often are at the source of repairs that need to be made. Basement dampness is one of these and can be detected by the presence of water stains, mold, mildew, or a powdery substance on the walls. This can be resolved by adding gutters to steer water away from the foundation and to apply coatings to the basement that are waterproof.
Gutters can be another source of water problems. Those that are bent or clogged cannot do the job of guiding water away from the base of the house, so they should be repaired or replaced.
Poor drainage and grading will add to the water problem and is likely the situation if there is spongy soil around the foundation or a leaking basement. This can be solved by grading the soil around the house so it slopes away for around 10 feet. All porous material around the foundation also should be removed.
With water often comes foundation problems, though they can be caused by the simple settling of soil over time. Sticking doors, sloping floors, and foundation cracks are typical signs the foundation needs attention. A simple solution is to fill cracks with epoxy or silicone caulking and to apply a waterproof sealant to the exterior.
Roofs that are showing signs of wear also can be a source of damaging water leaks. If, during a personal inspection, there are signs of curling shingles and missing or broken flashings, it is best to apply new materials. Flashing around chimneys, pipes, and other protrusions are particularly important to replace to avoid more expensive repairs.