When Home Inspections Fail Buyers
Home inspections are the most critical part of every real estate transaction. As buyers, the information contained within a home inspection can make or break the deal. In our experience, we have found that the following items to be the most commonly missed items during a home inspection:
1. Attics: Ventilation and Insulation Issues
Attics are easily one of the top areas that is commonly overlooked during home inspections. Due to limited access, many times attics are briefly glanced at or completely ignored. The most common items we see as problem areas in attics include:
- Improper ventilation
- Inadequate amount of insulation
- Exhaust fans not vented outside
Improper ventilation is a common problem we see. Most often it is due to a insufficient number or clogged roof vents or soffit vents. Having the proper balance allows for air to come into the soffit vents and go out of the roof vents. Vital air flow is needed to maintain proper humidity and air flow in the attic. Improper ventilation is a leading cause of mold in attics.
Inadequate insulation is another common problem especially with homes in the Kansas City metro area. Most homes in the metro have have an average of R-20 insulation. Energy Star recommends insulation at a minimum of R-50 for our area. Having an inadequate amount of insulation not only causes inefficiency, it can also lead to large temperature differences between upper and lower floors. Most importantly, improper insulation allows for vital heat to escape to the attic and during winter with freezing conditions this causes ice dams to form.
Exhaust fans from bathrooms and kitchens are many times vented to the attic without being properly vented outside. This causes a significant amount of humidity to be dumped into the attic which can lead to a significant mold problem. Standard building regulations require all exhaust fans be routed to the outside.
2. Exterior Siding Damage
Exterior siding damage is a very common problem we find. Most home inspectors are good at finding the obvious like wood rot and obvious damage. However, we see lots of water and mold damage around windows. Stucco is also one of the worst exteriors that retains water and causes mold on exterior walls. Finding mold or water damage that is less obvious is more difficult. We recommend you look for signs of moisture, especially around windows. Signs or warping wood, peeling paint, discoloration, condensation or mold are all signs of a potential bigger problem. Exterior siding issues commonly cause what we call hidden mold problems. Many times they are not see with the visible eye until the damage is significant.
3. Mold Damage
Home inspectors many times are not trained in mold and therefore can easily overlook mold problems. Molds can cause health hazards to your family. We recommend mold inspections in addition to home inspections. As a certified and experienced mold professional, they know where to look for mold problems in the less obvious places. Also a mold professional can conduct air mold testing and determine if their is mold spores in the air. We recommend the following articles when considering a mold problem during your home inspection:
- 7 Unusual Places Mold Grows
- Common Household Molds: What to Look For
- Mold Growth: Top 10 Places it Grows