11 Things You Need to Know to Pass Your Home Inspection

Although homebuyers in Northern Virginia are as individual as the homes they plan on purchasing, one thing they share is a desire to ensure that the home they will call their own is as good beneath the surface as it appears to be.

Will the roof end up leaking? Is the wiring safe? What about the plumbing?

 These are only some of the questions that potential buyers of your home will ask. To find out the answers, they will hire a professional home inspector who will go through your home with a “fine-toothed comb.”

According to industry experts, there are at least 33 physical problems that will come under scrutiny during a home inspection. We have identified the 11 most common challenges you may want to identify and repair prior to finding your buyer. In some cases, you may be able to identify or prevent the issues yourself as long as you know what you to look for.


Defective Plumbing

Defective plumbing can manifest itself in two different ways: leaking and clogging. A visual inspection can detect leaking, and an inspector will gauge water pressure by turning on all faucets in the highest bathroom and then flushing the toilet. If you hear the sound of running water, it indicates that the pipes are undersized. If the water appears dirty when first turned on at the faucet, this is a good indication that the pipes are rusting, which can result in severe water-quality problems.


Damp or Wet Basement

An inspector will check your walls for a powdery white mineral deposit a few inches off the floor and will look to see if you feel secure enough to store things right on your basement floor. A mildew odor is almost impossible to eliminate, and an inspector will be conscious of it. It could cost you about $200 to $1,000 to seal a crack in or around your basement foundation, depending on severity and location. Adding a sump pump and pit could run you around $750 to $2,000, and complete waterproofing (of an average three-bedroom home) could amount to $5,000 to $20,000. You will have to weigh these figures into the calculation of what price you want to net on your home.


Inadequate Wiring and Electrical

Your home should have a minimum of 100 amps service, and this should be clearly marked. Wiring should be copper or aluminum. Home inspectors will look at octopus plugs as indicative of inadequate circuits and as a potential fire hazard.


Poor Heating and Cooling Systems

Insufficient insulation and an inadequate or poorly functioning heating system are the most common causes of poor heating. Although an adequately clean furnace without rust on the heat exchanger usually has life left in it, an inspector will be asking and checking to see if your furnace is older than its typical life span of 15 to 25 years. For a forced air gas system, a heat exchanger will come under particular scrutiny because one that is cracked can emit deadly carbon monoxide into the home. These heat exchangers must be replaced if damaged—they cannot be repaired.


Roofing Problems

Water leakage through the roof can occur for a variety of reasons such as physical deterioration of the asphalt shingles (e.g., curling or splitting) or mechanical damage from a windstorm. When gutters leak and downspouts allow water to run down and through the exterior walls, this external problem becomes a major internal one.


Damp Attic Spaces

Aside from basement dampness, problems with ventilation, insulation, and vapor barriers can cause water, moisture, mold, and mildew to form in the attic. This can lead to premature wear of the roof, structure, and building materials. The cost to fix this damage could easily run more than $2,500.


Rotting Wood

Wood rot can occur in many places (door or window frames, trim, siding, decks, and fences). The home inspector sometimes will probe the wood to see if this is present—especially if wood has been freshly painted.


Problems with Masonry Work

Rebricking can be costly, but left unattended, these repairs can cause problems with water and moisture penetration into the home, which in turn could lead to a chimney being clogged by fallen bricks or even a chimney that falls onto the roof. It can be costly to rebuild a chimney or to have it repointed.


Unsafe or Overfused Electrical Circuits

A fire hazard is created when more amperage is drawn on the circuit than was intended. Fifteen amp circuits are the most common in a typical home, with larger service for large appliances such as stoves and dryers. It can cost several hundred dollars to replace your fuse panel with a circuit panel.


Adequate Security Features

More than a purchased security system, an inspector will look for the basic safety features that will protect your home such as proper locks on windows and patio doors, dead bolts on the doors, and smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in every bedroom and on every level. Although pricing will vary, these components will add to your costs. Before purchasing or installing, you should check with your local experts.


Structural/Foundation Problems

An inspector will investigate the underlying footing and foundation of your home because structural integrity is fundamental to your home.


If you are considering selling your property, contact The Ashley Leigh Team. We provide a FREE walk through to assist you with identifying possible home inspection pitfalls. When you put your home on the market, you do not want any unpleasant surprises that could cost you the sale of your home. By having an understanding of these 11 problem areas as you walk through your home, you will be arming yourself against future disappointment. 

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