As a busy metro area Realtor, we attend a lot of home inspections with our home buyers. During these inspections we invariably see the same repair items over and over. Here are the top ten items we typically see at a home inspection. These are usually quite easy fixes that should be done by the homeowner prior to the inspection.
1) Garage door electronic eye attached too high
You know those little electronic eye things on the side of your garage door rails that you have to jump over when you are trying to get out the garage door before it closes? Those are designed to protect kids (even those laying on their back) and small pets from getting crushed by the heavy garage door. They are supposed to be no higher than 6 inches from the ground. It is very common that these are installed too high. It is typically a very easy fix to lower them to no more than 6 inches above the ground.
2) Stove/oven without anti-tipping legs
Federal regulations require a stove/oven to have anti-tipping legs installed so that if a kid were to climb up on the stove (hopefully when it is not on) the stove won’t come tipping over onto them. These are small screw-down legs that attach right under the front lip of the stove and brace the front so the stove is harder to tip over.
3) Garage door closing sensitivity set too high
While the photoelectronic eye is supposed to stop the garage door from closing if something is in the way, it sometimes is not tripped because of the nature of the obstacle – say a vehicle parked halfway in the garage. In those cases the garage door opener has a sensitivity setting that can be set to trip if the garage door encounters an obstacle. Jim Gendeill, owner of Anasazi Home Inspections, uses an empty bleach bottle to test the garage door pressure. If the bottle is crushed, there is too much pressure. The bottle should only slightly deform before the garage door stops closing and reopens. This is an easy test for a homeowner and an easy fix by adjusting the garage door opener controls.
4) Dripping outdoor faucets
Outdoor faucets can easily wear and drip over time. This is usually caused by either the seal at the stem wearing out, or the shutoff rubber washer wearing out. Both are an easy fix and solutions can be found on Google. Be sure and shut off the water to your house before starting the repair!
5) Improperly sized AC unit breaker
It seems many HVAC contractors don’t read the voltage rating on the AC compressors they install. It is quite common for an oversized breaker to be installed on the HVAC unit. While this make sure the HVAC unit breaker does not trip all the time, it also is a safety issue in that the HVAC unit could short and cause an electrical danger before the breaker trips. You can read on the compressor nameplate the recommended voltage for the breaker. This is commonly around 30 amps. If they breaker installed is too high, say 40 amps, it should be replaced with the proper sized breaker.
6) Miswired electrical outlets
In just about every home inspected, we see electrical outlest that have the hot and neutral wires swapped. While the outlet will still work, it is not wired to code and needs to be fixed. This is an easy fix but something you should probably have an electrician take care of. You can test the outlets yourself buy purchasing an outlet tester at Home Depot or Lowes for a few bucks.
7) Improper drainage around foundation
Luckily in Oklahoma we don’t have the drainage issues that are seen in wetter climates such as Oregon, but proper home drainage is still important to protect a home from long term damage. This includes properly installed guttering with the downspouts routed away from the home. The dirt needs to be sloped away from the foundation so water does not pool under the home. Most (but not all) homes in Oklahoma are slab foundation. You want to make sure no water is running or pooling under the slab or you could end up with very expensive foundation repairs.
8) GFCI outlet not working properly
GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupt) is a type of outlet that trips immediately if it encounters some type of electrical short. You have probably seen these in your bathroom – the ones with the little red button on the front. These are important safety items of your home and protect you from electrical shock. GFCI’s can and do fail with time. They should be checked by pressing the red button to see if they trip. If not, have an electrician replace them prior to your home inspection.
9) Vegetation overgrowing home
Most homeowners love trees around their homes because they provide shade and beauty. However, you need to make sure the trees or other vegetation are not in constant contact with your home, especially the roof. A tree limb rubbing against your roof in our Oklahoma winds can cause premature roof failure. We often see this on a home inspection report.
10) Dishwasher vent line on kitchen sink not attached properly
Underneath your kitchen sink there is typically a dishwasher vent line that allows air into the dishwasher so that it drains properly. This vent line should be looped about the bottom of where the dishwasher drain goes into the kitchen sink. Failure to do so could cause your dishwasher to leak and flood your kitchen. The fix takes 5 minutes and basically consists of zip tying the drain line to the plumbing so it loops above the sink.
By fixing these minor items BEFORE your home inspection, you can save valuable time and money and improve the confidence of the home buyer.
It is important to note that a home inspection is targeted to look at material defects and structural deficiencies in a home. The inspector takes into account the age of the home, the building codes that were in effect at the time of construction, and the normal wear and tear that might be found in a home of similar age. A home inspector does not usually make note of cosmetic issues unless they are quite noticeable. They are looking more for structural problems, electrical and plumbing issues, and safety issues. A home inspection is also a snapshot in time and does not guarantee that you won’t have problems in the future.
Click here for an interview with home inspector Jim Giendell, owner of Anasazi Home Inspections.