Pass your home inspection

1) 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.

2) 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 certainly be conscious of it.

It could cost you $300-$1,000 to seal a crack in, or around, your basement foundation depending on severity and location. Adding a sump pump and pit will run you around $1,000 and complete waterproofing (of an average 3 bed- room home) could amount to $8,000-$15,000. You will have to weigh these figures into the calculation of what price you want to net on your home.

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

4) Poor heating and cooling systems Insufficient insulation, and an inadequate or poorly functioning heating system, are the most common causes of poor heating. While an adequately clean furnace, with- out rust on the heat exchanger, usually has life left in it, an inspector will be asking and checking to see if your furnace is over its typical life span of 15-25 years. For a forced air gas system, a heat exchanger will come under particular scrutiny, since one that is cracked can emit deadly carbon monoxide into the home. These heat ex- changers must be replaced if damaged - they cannot be repaired.
5) 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 dam- age from a wind storm. When gutters leak and down spouts allow water to run down and through the exterior walls, this external problem becomes a major internal one.

6) Damp Attic Spaces In addition to basement dampness, problems with ventilation, insulation and vapor barriers can also 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 over $2,500.

7) Rotting Wood This can occur in many places (door or window frame, trim, siding, decks and fences). The building inspector will sometimes probe the wood to see if this is present - especially when wood has been freshly painted.

8) Masonry Work Rebricking can be costly, but, left unattended, these re- pairs 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 which falls onto the roof. the cost to rebuild a 5 ft. chimney is approximately $500. To repoint a 5'x10' area would run around $250.
9) Unsafe or Overfused Electrical Circuit A fire hazard is created when more amperage is drawn on the circuit than was intended. 15 amp circuits are the most common in a typical home, with larger service for large appliances such as stove and dryers. It will cost you about $600 to replace your fuse panel with a circuit panel.

10) 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 detectors in every bedroom and on every level. To install a Carbon Monoxide Detector would run around $200. You'd need to in- vest about $150 to install 2 deadbolts and a further $150 to install 3 to 5 smoke detectors.

11) Structural/Foundation Problems An inspector will certainly investigate the underlying footing of your home as structural integrity is fundamental to a good home. It would cost you about $300 to add a new footing and install a post, and around $1,000 to replace a 40 ft. beam.

When you put your home on the market, you don't want any unpleasant surprises that could cost you the sale of your home. By having an understanding of these 11 problem areas with you as you walk through your home, you'll be arming yourself against future disappointment.