So what’s normal when it comes to home inspections? Are there things that come up on every one? Things that you should never see on a report? Things that every buyer asks for, or no seller will fix? What’s a “good” report? What’s “bad” report? What should you look for in a home inspector? Those are all excellent questions, will be our topic (s) of the day.
So what’s normal?
“Normal” or “common” really depends on the type, age, and location of the home in question. There are certainly things that we see on virtually every home inspection, regardless of whether it’s new construction (yes..there are defects we find inspecting those) or a 100 year old farm-house. The ultra common items include (but are not limited to) broken window seals, window leaks, broken window risers and stays, reverse polarity outlets, faulty GFI’s, missing shingles, slow draining sinks/tubs, radon, wood destroying insects of various sorts, poorly performing HVAC systems, plumbing leaks, faulty light switches, double tapped breakers, settling porches, broken hand-rails, tripping hazards, failed septic distribution boxes, mold, high moisture bathroom floors, cracks in basement walls (wet or dry) cracks in basement floors, mis-behaving appliances, missing check valve’s on sump pumps, poor grading, clogged gutters, and stucco/siding issues.
There are almost never (like 1 in 500) homes that have no issues. Most homes will have a combination of a few of the items above. And more often than not (like almost always) we’ve seen the issues before, have a good handle on the associated costs, and work through them with very little drama.
Where the red flags start going up is when you have multiple un-disclosed issues from most or all of the different categories I mentioned. That can signify that the house has been poorly maintained, and that the seller was either lackadaisical about filling out the seller disclosure, or was deliberately omitting items. Most homes will have 5 to 10 items on the report, and of those, most are very minor and easy to overlook. Stuff that’s hard to know about like a slow leak under a toilet. But when you see a ton of items on the list, and the costs to repair start running up beyond about $2500 to $3000 in repairs, it should be a sign for caution. Although it’s certainly possible to spend thousands getting through a home inspection, that’s not the norm. Typically we are able to negotiate repairs down to a range of somewhere between $750 (extremely light) and $2500. That’s the range for what we’d consider “common”.
So if you’re a seller reading this….prepare for it. Just expect that there’s going to be a price-tag associated with repairs, and it’s going to cost you somewhere in that $750 to $2500 range. It should not be a surprise. As nice as your home is, the inspector is going to find some things. If they’re good they will anyway. They do it all day, every day and know just where to look to find the warts.
If you’re a buyer, be prepared. It’s NORMAL to have things come up on the report to the tune of a few thousand dollars to fix. Don’t panic. This is fine. It’s expected, and odds are we’ll get you safely through without too much trouble. Just keep an open mind, and look for the win/win. Everyone wants to settle. Nobody wants repairs to show up. But they do. It’s GOING to happen. Adjust your expectations accordingly now, and you’ll be the happier for it.
A good home inspector can tell you what the issue is, and speak at length about the implications of fixing vs. not, and may even be able to recommend a good contractor and an idea of cost. A good inspector will be thorough, patient, instructive, and above all, should be able to put you at ease about your concerns. After all…the home is just a composition of parts, and there is nothing that can’t be corrected if all parties are willing to work together toward a win/win. Fortunately you don’t have to go in search of finding such a rare individual. There are very few home inspectors we haven’t worked with on multiple occasions. We can very reliably tell you who’s good and who to steer clear of.
If you’re thinking about buying a home and want to know more about how this part works, give us a call. We’re always happy to answer your questions, no matter how small they may seem.
As always…Happy Hunting!