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 conditions. 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 can consist of many different materials such as wood boards, stucco veneering, pvc sheets, vinyl panels, and faux stone panels to name some examples. Mold and water damage to these exterior finishes 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 still see lots of water and mold damage around the windows. Stucco is one of the worst exteriors that retain water and causes mold on exterior walls. We recommend you look for signs of moisture, especially around windows. Signs of warping panels, peeling paint, discoloration, and condensation, 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.
Wooden components, especially in homes that are located in moist, rainy, and snowy places tend to sustain damages due to express water retention. And this could lead to a whole new set of problems– the primary one being the rampant growth of mold. Decks, patios, windows, and other external components of houses would be the first to be affected by wet weather conditions. Mold-based damages could eventually prove to be hazardous as they could cause skin and internal allergic reactions, rashes, and other such issues. To protect your house against mold-based damage, you could consider patio and Deck Oiling, varnishing window frames, doors, and others while your house is nearly ready post-construction.
Regardless of the measures you take, you would have to make repairs due to gradual wear and tear somewhere down the line. Prior to making fixes, you should consider having your house inspected by professionals so that you could make arrangements to remove the mold before making repairs. However, 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. Certified and experienced mold professionals 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. Home inspectors need to know their stuff, that is why some will take additional training to get a home inspector certification that will show them the entirety of what they need to check for, this is important for homeowners to look out for. Anyway, we recommend the following articles when considering a mold problem during your home inspection: