Getting a thorough professional home inspection before buying a house is a must. Here are the 10 top problems found by home inspectors that can turn your dream house into a nightmare:

  1. Grading and drainage problems. It’s responsible for many common household problems: cracked slabs and water penetration of footings or crawlspace. The most effective remedies for bad drainage include re-grading the ground around the house, repairing or installing a gutter and downspout system and providing positive drainage away from the foundation.
  2. Improper and undersized electrical wiring. This includes such problems as insufficient electrical service to the house, aluminum wiring, inadequate overload protection, improper grounding and dangerous amateur wiring connections. Many times improper wiring has been done by do-it-yourselfers. This is a serious safety hazard, not just a cosmetic defect.
  3. Rotten roofs. Many wooden roofs are at the end of their useful life. Asphalt shingle roofs only last about 15 years. Roof leakage caused by old or damaged shingles or improper flashing is a frequent problem. It can be easy and inexpensive to repair damaged tiles and shingles and to re-caulk the roof penetrations. But, expensive, major roof repairs may be required down the road, if the repairs are put off.
  4. Deficient and older heating systems. Heating systems should be serviced and maintained annually by a professional heating serviceman according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Although expensive, the newer more efficient central heating systems will help to recoup your investment by reducing heating and cooling costs.
  5. Poor overall maintenance. Americans, on average, take better care of their cars than they do their homes. Many home inspectors see cracked, peeling or dirty painted surfaces, crumbling masonry, make-shift wiring or plumbing and broken fixtures or appliances. Although some of these problems may seem more cosmetic than serious, they reflect the overall lack of care that has been given to a home.
  6. Structural problems. Many houses sustain some, although usually not serious, damage to structural components such as foundation walls, floor joists, rafters or window and door headers. These problems are more common in older homes. A home inspector will analyze any potential damage and recommend the solution based on the urgency of the specific issue.
  7. Plumbing problems. Plumbing defects are among the house problems most encountered by home inspectors. These include old or incompatible piping materials, faulty fixtures and waste lines and improperly strapped hot water heaters. Surprisingly, home inspectors have even found natural gas leaks in the homes.
  8. Exteriors items. Flaws in a home’s exterior, including windows, doors and wall surfaces are responsible for the discomfort and damage caused by water and air penetration. Inadequate caulking and/or poor weather stripping are the most common culprits of a cold and drafty home.
  9. Poor ventilation. Due to overly ambitious efforts to save energy, many homeowners have “over-sealed” their homes, resulting in excessive interior moisture. This can cause rotting and premature failure of both structural and nonstructural elements. Moisture from unvented bathrooms and kitchens can┬ádamage plaster and may also lead to the accumulation of mold, which often causes allergic reactions.
  10. Miscellaneous items. This category includes various interior components, such as sticky windows or dripping faucets, as well as a number of environmental concerns, such as lead-based paint and asbestos.