Common Inspection Problems

It is good to know what the most common issues are that come out of a home inspection. Knowing these common problems will help you when looking at houses, and also help you to ask informed questions during the inspection.

Improper sloping (or draining)

Water damage can lead to some of the most expensive repairs a homeowner can face. When a property is not graded correctly, rain water drains toward the house instead of away from it. While a properly built home can withstand this for a while, this will almost always cause problems at some point. This is an indicator that we will may find foundation problems, rotting or mold.

Roofing materials

Aging roof materials can start to curl or shrink, exposing the wood underneath the surface. Each type of roofing (asphalt shingles, wood shakes/shingles, terra cotta tile, concrete tiles and slate, etc.) has unique problems that an inspector needs to be aware of. Roofing issues are one of the most common issues we see, and the problems are not always easily visible. For example, substandard repairs, incorrect installation, or hiding problems under a second layer of shingles all occur quite regularly.


The number one problem that comes up in a home inspection is moisture damage. Moisture stains on ceiling or walls, water collecting in basements, leaky foundations, plumbing problem, burst pipes… moisture can come from just about anywhere. The problems we find ranges from minor damage (mainly cosmetic) to major damage (black mold, dry rot, or structural damage).

Electrical wiring

Modern homes generally have a good supply of power and outlets, and if they meet building code should be wired correctly. None of this can be assumed on an older home though, where the electrical system was most likely not designed to handle the electrical usage of today. It is critical that the electrical system in an older home be rigorously inspected. Do-it-yourself electrical work is also commonly found in homes of all ages. Electrical problems are the biggest cause of house fires.

Heating/cooling system defects

Improper installations, inadequate maintenance and aged components are common.

Poor maintenance

Sometimes poor maintenance, especially if a previous home owner did not properly care for a home for an extended period of time, manifests itself in multiple problems. If a house is outdated it may just need cosmetic work, but an inspection can bring out many additional problems that you need to be aware of. Deferred maintenance is often expensive!

Drafty windows

Poor quality windows, improper window installation or cracks in a home can cause a drafty home. Not only will the home be expensive, but this can also lead to moisture problems.

Ventilation problems

Homes can also be "over-sealed" which can cause rotting – this often occurs in attics that do not have proper venting. Venting is very important to a building’s structure as it helps with humidity levels, and to remove excess gasses from the home.

Plumbing issues

Amateur plumbing workmanship can cause lots of problems. Incompatible piping material or bad fixtures are often found as well.

Cracks in floors, walls or ceilings

Interior cracks on floors, walls or ceilings are easy to find. They commonly occur by the corners of doors, windows and walls. Usually these are cosmetic problems, but occasionally can involve structural problems with floor joists, beams or settlement.