Common Inspection Issues and How Your Clients Can Avoid Them

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We’ve put together a list of some of the most common issues found during home inspections and the remedies sellers should expect to make to help keep their sale on track.

As a Real Estate Professional, you know almost nothing can derail a real estate transaction faster than a home inspection. But very few buyers waive the inspection and when problems are identified and mitigated, it can actually boost confidence in their purchase decision. In fact, a 2012 survey conducted by the American Society of Home Inspectors found that 88 percent of respondents said home inspections increased their confidence about the condition of the property.

An inspection from a qualified home inspector can benefit sellers, too, if they do it prior to listing. In fact, AmeriSpec®, a leader in real estate home inspections, says that sellers who’ve had a pre-listing inspection may sell their homes more quickly and with fewer surprises.

Whether sellers decide to have a pre-listing inspection themselves or wait for a buyer’s home inspection, issues will likely come up either way. With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of some of the most common issues found during home inspections and the remedies sellers should expect to make to help keep their sale on track.

Roof Problems

Often, you don’t have to be an inspector to notice brittle or curled shingles, and broken or missing flashings. But when inspectors note these items, HUGE dollar signs immediately come to a buyer’s mind.

If this is found during the inspection, sellers should expect to apply new shingles. If they have more than three layers from re-roofing, it may be necessary to tear off and replace flashing that’s damaged or missing, particularly around chimneys.

Remind sellers to take care of any indoor evidence of roof leaks too, like brown rings on drywall, or peeled or discolored paint on a bedroom ceiling. Even if the roof was repaired long ago, these telltale signs set off alarm bells for buyers and inspectors.

Leaky Gutters

Not surprisingly, gutter issues often go hand-in-hand with roof problems, and this is something sellers should be managing with proper preventative maintenance long before they are even thinking about listing.

If it comes up during inspection, sellers may have to replace inadequate downspouts or re-direct away from the house/foundation. They should also be prepared to clean clogged gutters and replace any gutters that are bent or are pulling away from the roofline.

Foundation Concerns

Even to the untrained eye, foundation issues can be fairly obvious. They reveal themselves with distinct cracks, sloping floors, and sticking doors or windows. Depending on the type of problem, sellers can sometimes remedy them fairly easily and with little expense. At times, all that’s required is filling cracks with silicon caulking or epoxy, and/or applying waterproofing coating to the exterior to seal. Naturally, if there are serious structural concerns, other professionals will need to come in and make recommendations with estimates. You can then help advise your clients and negotiate on their behalf with buyers.

Termite Damage

Depending on the season and which part of the country your sellers live in, termites can be a real problem. Fortunately, these sellers need not wait for a buyer’s home inspection to head this off at the pass. Before listing, sellers should hire a pest control service like Terminix® to take care of the problem right away. The sooner the better, because acting quickly could prevent additional damage, added cost, and could potentially reduce the risk of scaring away buyers during the inspection phase.

Dampness in the Basement

Even a layperson can usually detect moisture problems in a basement simply by looking around. Obvious water stains, powdery residue on walls, mold or mildew are a dead giveaway. If it’s less obvious to buyers, inspectors will likely note it on their report. If it does come up in the inspection, sellers should be ready to apply waterproof coatings to the area and repair or reposition gutters to channel away from the house. (Believe it or not, gutters are one of the most common causes of damp basements).

Faulty Wiring

Homeowners often become complacent about problems and simply learn to live with issues, rather than fixing them. Things like exposed outlets, open junction boxes, mismatched amperage, and no wire nuts on wires are the kinds of common wiring issues detected during home inspections. These items are fairly simple and may just require sellers to repair junction boxes and upgrade to at least 100 amps.

Poor Plumbing

Inadequate water pressure, slow drains, and signs of leaks on ceilings are very common discoveries during home inspections. The remedies are pretty straightforward, too. Owners should clean and rout drains; reseal toilets with new wax rings as needed, repair leaks, and repair/re-paint if there was remaining leak damage.

Inadequate Heating/Cooling

Improper installations, inadequate maintenance and aged components are common. It’s also not unusual for inspectors to point out cracks in the heat exchange or water tank. They can even sometimes find troubling carbon monoxide leaks. Sometimes, poor insulation and poor ventilation can also be noted and related to the lack of comfort in the home. Depending on what’s discovered during the inspection, owners should be prepared to replace the sacrificial anode in their water heater, reseal chimney flues, add insulation and replace any items that are cracked, leaking or improperly installed.

If a big-ticket item like a whole new furnace or a/c unit is needed, then that can be negotiated between parties.

With an AHS® Real Estate Home Warranty, sellers can help mitigate unexpected covered issues from the home inspection to keep the sale on track.* Plus, AHS Real Estate Home Warranties offer buyers good faith and assurances that the home is covered for the first year of ownership. If a listing isn’t already covered by a home warranty, buyers can add their own post-purchase. That way they can focus on making their new house their home rather than worrying about pre-existing issues.

The bottom line is, nothing beats regular maintenance when it comes to having your clients’ homes market-ready. If they choose to forego a pre-listing inspection, AmeriSpec offers helpful resources on home ownership and maintenance that can benefit your sellers, plus tips for Real Estate Professionals like you.

With this information at the ready, you can now alert sellers about what to expect during the home inspection and help them go from “for sale” to “sold” with ease.

For more helpful tips, visit the American Home Shield® Home Matters blog.

*Subject to $2,000 cap for all trades during listing period.

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