Once you find a home that you want to turn into your next investment, your subsequent step is to get a home inspection to ensure that investment is going to be a valuable one. The home inspection is an essential step in the home buying process and one that really shouldn’t be dismissed. Inspections have saved many people from making disastrous financial mistakes and have given new homeowners valuable insight into their new purchases.
As you approach your home inspection, there will be some items that you might want to ask your inspector about. These are the most common inspection issues found, many of which are location related in Northern Virginia.
1. Roofing Issues
Roofing problems are quite commonly noted in home inspections. As the house ages, the materials that cover the roof do, as well. Most asphalt shingles last between 15-40 years, meaning a typical roof will have its shingles replaced multiple times throughout its lifespan.
Harsh weather can take a toll on a roof, and Northern Virginia is an area where harsh weather can be seen throughout the entirety of the year. Missing shingles are very common, and easily replaced. Soft spots or serious structural damage can show up from time to time though, which can become a costly and time-consuming repair.
If the roof has been improperly maintained, it’s more likely to be faulty. However, this is not usually a deal breaker when a home is inspected. You can simply negotiate a lower price on the home or negotiate roof repair before purchase, as you will have to invest money into roof repairs or replacement soon after purchase.
Have your inspector look at your roof to see if there are any signs of damages from storms, missing shingles, or soft spots. Roofs are expensive to replace, and you should know what you’re getting into if you have a bad one.
2. Faulty Or Inadequate Electrical Wiring
The wiring of a home is another most commonly reported issue during an inspection. This can be dangerous, as poor wiring is the cause of far too many life-threatening house fires. Make sure to ask a lot of questions about the wiring of the home and get an idea of what shape it is in. Replacing the electrical wiring can be extremely costly.
Inspectors commonly find stripped wires, improper connections, underpowered breakers, and/or exposed wiring left over from previous repairs or renovations. These problems are considered a safety hazard and should be addressed immediately.
This is mostly a problem in older homes. Most modern homes have an ample supply of electrical power, and are wired to meet all modern electrical codes and standards, This is not often the case in older homes, built in the 1940s-1960s. Depending on the scope of the wiring issues, this could be a big problem after a home inspection. It may be a simple fix, or require the complete overhaul of the electrical system – it really depends on the specifics of the wiring found. Ask your home inspector for a recommendation on next steps.
3. Improper Attic Ventilation And Insulation
Some homes were not built with the idea of keeping energy efficiency in mind. An attic that lacks proper ventilation may be stifling and hot in the summer, which can even increase the risk of mold and other problems, due to the buildup of heat. Some attics may also lack proper insulation, in turn; reducing energy efficiency.
Typically, this is not a big deal. It’s fairly simple to ventilate an attic, or add more insulation; so if your inspector finds this, it’s not a cause for concern.
4. Poor Grading And Drainage Around The Home
Northern Virginia topography may be partially to blame for some of the drainage issues found on Northern Virginia properties. After all, parts of the northern areas sit at the foot of the Appalachian Mountains. As soils move and homes settle, drainage on a property may shift or change. Most drainage issues relate to having water flush back to the home’s foundation, which can cause a multitude of issues. Have your inspector look at the drainage specifically.
When it rains, the water needs to go somewhere, and not anywhere close to the house. Because rain run off isn’t a constant threat, these are issues often found by inspectors. Pooling water around a foundation can cause decay, mold and stability issues for the house as a whole.
This is a major cause for concern. If the grade and drainage around the home are not adequate, water can easily leak into the basement, or even make it to the foundation which may cause cracking or more serious forms of damage.
Water damage is a serious issue. If your inspector finds that the grading and drainage around the home could pose a risk, hire a professional to assess the integrity of the basement and foundation before continuing the home-buying process.
5. Plumbing Problems
Your inspector may notice several plumbing problems such as low water pressure, damage to pipes, slow drains, or signs of leaks. Plumbing problems are very serious, due to how the high costs of water damage. If signs of water damage or serious plumbing issues are found, a more thorough assessment should be performed.
Usually the issues found within a plumbing system are easily repaired such as issues like leaky connections or dripping faucets. However, every now and then; inspectors come across grossly damaged and defective systems that require total replacement.
6. Mold in Basements
Mold can be found in any part of the U.S., but Virginia inspectors are especially partial to seeing mold in the basements of homes. There are over 100,000 species of mold, so while it might be intriguing to wonder what kind of mold you’re dealing with, the bottom line is; you likely don’t want it in your home.
An inspector will be on the lookout for mold so you can alert the seller and have them remediate the problem. Mold can be a dangerous substance, and it should be eliminated so occupants don’t suffer from things like respiratory problems.
While home inspectors won’t know everything about specific pests, they are trained to look for those that can damage the structural integrity of a home or that might be dangerous for occupants.
- Termites – These are destructive insects that eat and chew through wood. A termite infestation can cause a lot of structural damage and be costly to deal with.
- Carpenter Bees – These insects can build their nests in the wood of a home and can come back year after year to the same location causing recurring damages.
- Carpenter Ants – Like termites, carpenter ants are wood eating and incredibly destructive insects. An inspector will alert you if he or she sees signs of these insects so the seller can take care of the issue.
- Powder Post Beetles – These insects saw through wood leaving wood powder in their wake. They are not quite as damaging as termites, but are a close second.
Know What to Expect During Your Home Inspection!
Home inspections are a valuable tool in the home buying process. They may seem complicated, but they don’t have to be! Work with your realtor to find a qualified inspector who is a trusted professional in your community. Listen to their advice and do your due diligence before you decide to purchase a home.
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This article originally appeared on Spectora
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