You’ve seen them on renovation shows.
You’ve heard the horror stories.
You may even be facing them yourself!
Every house has or will have a problem or two. Sometimes repairing those problems keeps getting pushed further and further down the to-do list and rear their ugly head when you think about selling your house.
The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) surveyed American and Canadian home inspectors and published a list of the most frequently found issues in the homes they inspected. These are the results:
Improper Surface Grading or Drainage
With over 35% of survey respondents reporting grading and drainage issues, it was clearly the most common. This is also a major culprit for water getting inside the home’s basement or crawlspace and damaging the foundation. With water comes mold and smells.
These are not just cosmetic fixes we are talking about. Water damage contributes to the health and safety of those living in the home. And if you know about it or the inspector finds it, you need to fix it.
Water damage and mold can be extremely expensive to remedy depending on what it spoiled and how long it went unattended. This can also contribute to insurance claim challenges. Besides damage to the home, think about what effect it has outside on the sidewalks, driveways, and patios.
What about landscaping and retaining walls? Many people invest a lot of money into making their yard beautiful. Accumulating water can ruin their efforts.
Improper Electrical Wiring
The second most common defect reported was electrical wiring. Perhaps there wasn’t proper service provided to the house. Maybe the overload protections were inadequate. The one that scares me the most is the DIY amateur attempts that can create downright dangerous situations.
Are you noticing fuses blowing a little too often? That can be a warning sign for serious wiring issues. This can lead to fire and other serious consequences.
The third most popular response was roof damage. While only 8.5% of respondents reported this challenge, that is still higher than the remaining seven problems. Inspectors report old shingles or improper installation of flashing frequently. This is an important issue to consider.
Roof damage once again leads to water damage, which means health and safety concerns due to mold and mildew. It’s more than just damage to your attic and the potential risk to structural integrity. Water can move into the ceiling and cause electrical problems.
Water and electricity are never a good pairing and can become a fire hazard.
A leaky roof could lead to a fire.
Rogue water can cause cosmetic problems like bubbly or discoloured paint.
Then there’s the inevitable increase in your energy bills, as it will most likely cost more to heat and cool your home if the air is escaping a roof in need of repair.
Problems with heating aren’t just an issue in the winter. This category covers air conditioning issues too. Beyond the risk of getting water in places which it doesn’t belong, you must also consider health and safety issues.
A blocked chimney or unsafe exhaust disposal means fire and carbon monoxide hazards.
What about gas leaks and electrical shocks? If the heating system isn’t working, what unsafe alternatives have you turned to? Consider the fireplace or electric space heaters and fans.
The risks are adding up.
Poor Overall Maintenance
These issues are usually pretty obvious, such as cracked, peeling, and dirty paint on walls. Crumbling cement and broken fixtures and appliances should be easily visible, and clogged gutters and insect infestations. The list can be long.
Makeshift repairs not only look unappealing but can add risk to safety, especially if we are talking about plumbing and wiring.
Often a homeowner without time or money falls victim to these issues because they simply didn’t have another option. Other times, procrastination just simply won.
Structure Related Problems
Often, because of the reasons already listed, houses sustain damage to structural components. Not keeping up with home maintenance allows the elements to seep inside your home. This presents a risk of problems with the foundation, floor joists, rafters, and window and door headers. We’ve seen our fair share of structural failures.
These can cause annoying inconveniences like doors not closing properly, slanting floors, and nail pops to more serious issues such as foundation cracks and bowing walls. Sometimes these can be catastrophic and result in the home being deemed unsafe to live.
Water issues are a recurring problem. This can include anything from dripping taps, slow draining sinks, clogged drains, running toilets, and low water pressure to more significant issues like old, incompatible piping materials and faulty fixtures and waste lines. Any one of these can wreak havoc in your home.
In this category, home inspectors were referring to problems with windows, doors, and wall surfaces. Typical issues resulting from these deficiencies lead to water and air penetrating your home. Inadequate caulking or weather-stripping can create leaks and drafts, and the result is unnecessarily expensive energy costs.
Speaking of drafts and trying to save energy, we may seal some homes up so tight that excessive moisture results. This can rot the elements of your home. Exposure to poor indoor air quality is also a health and safety risk as it can lead to infections, headaches, fatigue, and respiratory conditions. We are certain this isn’t the intention of most homeowners but happens more frequently than you may imagine.
There weren’t enough specific issues reported to round out a top 10, but what’s a top 10 list without 10 items?
The remaining house problems are usually cosmetic. They won’t affect the safety of your home but can impact the level of enjoyment you gain and can often be just as expensive to remedy.
InterNACHI disclaimed results will vary depending on regional climates and building codes and reiterated that they based their findings on averages. They also added that the age of the home plays a significant role in the frequency that we find these problems found.
Are the problems in your home creating health and safety risks? Do you look at water differently? How much would repair cost?
Must you fix them all before you sell your home? Do you have the time and energy to take care of the to-do list yourself?
Those are a lot of questions. Reach out to Matt and he can provide some advice so you can make an informed decision of what your next steps could look like.