The Details About Defects

It is the job of the home inspector to report the conditions of a home.  Houses are very complex systems and all the components deteriorate at different rates.  Few, if any, are flawless.  Consequently, inspection reports often cite many issues with otherwise-great houses. If you are a homebuyer, you must weigh the issues with the value of the home and determine if the issues are manageable.  If you are a home owner, pay attention to the issues that will mean most to your prospective buyers.

Negotiation after inspection

The major sticking points of a home sale are usually the undisclosed issues. Often these issues are unknown to the the seller as well.  This is the point where both buyer and seller must reevaluate what they believe the home is worth.  If their valuations align in light of this new information, then the sale can proceed.  A seller may adjust the price or offer to make repairs.

Conversely, a seller may firmly believe that he can find another buyer for the asking price and refuse to budge.  If this happens then the buyer must evaluate whether a better house with fewer issues can be found for that price.

Perspective: older houses will have more issues

If you are buying a home built in the 1980’s that has never been updated, you may already have a general impression on the 30 years of wear and tear on the home.  The roof, heater and AC are at the end of their life.  Some outlets my be broken.  Railings may be a loose. Door locks and windows may be difficult to open.  It should not be cause for alarm that the dishwasher doesn’t have an anti-siphon device.  It doesn’t mean that the dishwasher was improperly installed.  GFCI receptacles were not so commonplace at the time either, yet we home inspectors must report them if they are absent.  You are just as likely to find these issues in any home built in that era.

Easy fixes and expensive ones

Many issues are easy fixes, such as securing a railing or replacing an electrical outlet. These are important to know about but should not kill a deal. Its the expensive fixes that neither the buyer nor the seller knew about that are the most scary.

Big fixes include:

  • Bad roof: Old/badly installed roof.  They usually need to be replaced and cost thousands.Water penetration is the greatest threat to the longevity of a house.
  • Bad foundation:  Failing foundation is a safety risk and can (but not necessarily) be expensive to remedy.
  • Bad electrical: Overloaded/badly engineered electrical.  Substandard electrical is a big fire risk and safety risk.
  • Bad plumbing: Wrong materials and supply contamination are a health risk, leaks will damage the house.
  • Bad HVAC: Malfunctioning central AC and heating may be a health risk and can be expensive to replace.

SLD Home Inspections is not permitted to provided repair estimates as it is beyond our scope and a potential conflict of interests.  We strongly recommend that you consult with a trusted builder about the contents of your report to determine repair costs.