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What You Should Know

As a seller, when you put your home on the market, the last thing you want is unpleasant surprises that may delay the sale of your home. Per industry experts, there are at least 33 physical conditions that will come under scrutiny during a Home Inspection. I've identified what I consider the top 10 common concerns that could cost you in terms of repairs and possibly a lost sale. By understanding and addressing these conditions, you’ll be much better prepared to sell your home.

As a buyer, these same concerns, if not identified by your Home Inspector, may cost you plenty to correct.  Choosing a qualified Home Inspector is of the upmost concern, the inspection fee should be secondary to getting the best Home Inspector in your area.

1. Plumbing
High water-pressure (more than 75 PSI) is the primary cause of leaks in the water-supply piping. Plumbing leaks, visible or in concealed spaces may lead to moisture related damage to the building and to organic growth of various types (usually all bad).  Water heaters are rarely installed per the manufacturers installation instructions and are generally not properly strapped to resist movement as required.

2. Landscaping
Trees planted too close to the structure can have an adverse effect on the foundation. Vegetation touching or growing on the building provides easy access for insects and rodents. Trees rubbing the building in the wind may cause damage to the building.

3. Electrical & Wiring
The electric panels (main or sub) should have unobstructed access 30” wide by 36” deep by 6 Ft.-6” high (be readily accessible) for maintenance and emergencies. All breakers need to be clearly labeled to identify which circuit they operate. Improper wiring methods and use of extension cords is the primary cause of house fires.

4. Unsafe or over-fused Electrical Circuits
Circuit breakers protect the wires within the walls of the building and the appliances. Breakers that are rated higher than the wiring connected to them have the potential of melting the wires in the walls and causing a house fire.

5. Heating & Cooling Systems
Insufficient building insulation and a poorly maintained heating systems are the most common causes of poor heating or insufficient cooling. Rarely changed and dirty filters reduce the air-flow thru the equipment and system performance is greatly reduced.  Condensing units, being out of sight and out of mind are often neglected until they need to be replaced due to lack of maintenance.

6. Roofing
Water leakage through the roof can occur for a variety of reasons such as physical deterioration of the roofing material, or poorly sealed roof penetrations at plumbing vents, skylights and chimney's, these conditions may allow moisture to enter and become concerns with respect to damaging the building.

7. Attic Spaces
Roof leaks into the attic may lead to may lead to moisture damage to the framing and organic growth of various types (usually all bad). Poor ventilation allows the temperature in the attic to rise, which along with moisture promotes a host of concerns.  Damaged vent screens along with vegetation growing on the building provides ready access for insects and rodents.

8. Wood (Moisture Damage)
Poorly maintained exterior surfaces on the siding, doors, window frames, trim, decks and fences leads to moisture related damage. Water is the primary enemy of every part of the building. "It is cheaper to keep it out than it is to get it out."

9. Stucco and Masonry
As with all other building materials, stucco and masonry are subject to moisture damage. Stucco in contact with the soil with wick water out of the soil and deteriorated the stucco, weep-screed and adjoining building materials. Masonry, such a brick or stone veneer that is not properly flashed and sealed will allow moisture to enter concealed spaces where damage can occur.

10. Safety and Security
Basic safety features that will protect you and your home include proper locks on windows and doors: dead-bolt locks should be keyed from the outside only. Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms should be installed in every bedroom and on every level of the building.

This list of the top 10 common concerns reveals that moisture is without a doubt the primary enemy of all buildings. It causes all kinds of damage and damaged wood becomes the host to a number of living or organic concerns.

Next on the list is electrical. Electrical issues all too often lead to fires which can destroy the building and bring loss of life. Moisture harms the building and electrical harms the building and the occupants.

Everyone wants to feel safe and secure in their home and addressing the items on this list is a good start. Always hire the appropriate specialist to maintain or replace the systems or components of your home, as unqualified workman may cause more harm than good.

A statement I use often while referring to work that was performed on the building is: "they had Good intensions, but it ended with a Bad result". People do not intend to hurt the building or put lives in harm's way, but all too often they do not understand the consequences of their actions.

For the best experience in selling your home, hire a reputable Home Inspector to inspect it before you put it on the market, or as buyer, once you make an offer on a home. They will identify these and possibly many more issues of concern that can be addressed before anyone is aware of them. If you correct them, they do not exist, if they do not exist, they will not become an issue for the buyer to focus on later.