Have you ever wondered what a home inspector focuses on in his or her search? Veteran realtor and North Tampa Bay expert Joe Lewkowicz reflects on some of the most commonly cited issues for home inspections, as he chronicles the inspections of his latest listings.
I have just taken stock of the last three home inspections performed on my listings that have been put under contract. It is interesting to see how different home inspectors will focus on different things when inspecting for a buyer. Here are my findings on the more common items/issues that came up on the last three inspections, and other items that I see more frequently.
The first house was built in 1995 and had a new roof put on in 2005. This home has a side entry garage door with wood rot, one of the most common to show up on inspection reports, in my many years of experience. If the door is soft, it may be repaired using wood putty, however, the correct, and long-term fix would be to replace the door. The inspection also called for the screened enclosure around the pool to have a bonding wire attached, this will ground the screen itself during a storm. Other issues, though more minor, were the bathroom tub diverter, or knob that you pull to turn the shower on, wasn’t working correctly, and there was a stain on the ceiling from a past leak that needed an explanation.
The second home had mostly electrical issues as the focus of the inspection. The home was built in the late 1970’s, and code at that time was likely much different than today’s. The electrical panel needed to have some work done. Several of the breakers had double lugging, where two wires come into the same breaker. Some of the GFI’s were not working properly either, which is another very common item to show up on an inspection report.
The third and final house had several roof trusses that were cracked (could be material defect), and some had been cut to accommodate a water heater. This is common on both older and newer homes. The proper fix is to replace the broken truss and the webbing attached to it.
In other inspections, I have seen the inspector note that the pool drain was not up to current code. That usually does not mean it needs to be replaced, as it was acceptable at the time the pool was built. New drain types are called “Anti-Vortex”, which diverts the suction to the pool drain, aiding in drowning prevention.
Additionally, older roofs suffer a loss of the material on the shingles over time. A roof that is 17 years or older, may have a hard time passing an inspection, preventing the buyer from obtaining homeowner’s insurance.
If your roof has been replaced in the last few years, you should check to make sure that a permit was pulled and that the permit was finalized. You can find that information online at www.hillsboroughcounty.org , in Hillsborough County, or your County permit website.
I have had three of these cases in the last year, where the permit was expired, but not closed out. To clear this up afterwards, you might need to hire an engineer to come out and inspect the roof, at a cost, and file the proper paperwork with the county, which can be timely as well. Another common roof-issue, is the vent stack cover deteriorating (or getting chewed up by squirrels), average cost for this replacement/repair is about $125.
I hope you have found this to be a helpful guide in preparing for your own home inspection. For more information regarding the Tampa market or general real estate tips and tricks, visit my Industry Insights page, or contact me directly at 813-908-7293. Remember, “No-one works harder to sell your home!”