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. Also, properties that tend to have problems AFTER purchase are ones that were flipped, rehabbed or a fixer-upper”. Because the focus was first placed on beautification vs. long-term condition. With move-in ready conditions, these types of properties are desirable for most buyers. However, they tend to have some hidden surprises. Hence, the need for detailed inspections. In our experience, home inspections commonly miss the following:
Home inspections frequently overlook attics. Due to their limited access, most often briefly glanced at or completely ignored. The most common items we see as problem areas in attics include:
Improper ventilation is a common problem we see. Most often it is due to an 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. Adequate airflow provides the proper humidity balance. 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 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, but it can also lead to large temperature differences between the 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.
Vented outside vs. expelled into the attic. This is how exhaust fans from the kitchen and bathrooms should be. If not, a significant amount of humidity will be expelled into the attic. Which can lead to a significant mold problem. All exhaust fans must vent to the outside according to standard building regulations.
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 retain 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 potentially bigger problem. Exterior siding issues commonly cause what we call hidden mold problems. Many times they are not seen with the visible eye until the damage is significant.
Many home inspectors lack training and experience to properly identify a mold problem. Therefore they can easily overlook mold problems. Molds can cause health hazards to your family. We recommend a mold inspection 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 there are mold spores in the air. We recommend the following articles when considering a mold problem during your home inspection: