May 7, 2021

The Most Common Issues Uncovered During Home Inspections in Colorado

That home sale is right around the corner. It’s just within your grasp. But first, you have to pass the home inspection.

The boulder flatirons on a beautiful day

That home sale is right around the corner. It’s just within your grasp. But first, you have to pass the home inspection.

Every home has its flaws, and a home inspection is explicitly engineered to identify them. It’s more than just a headache–it’s about making sure your home doesn’t have any glaring safety issues that would prevent it from being safely habitable.

The good (or bad) news is that many home inspections uncover the same set of problems. Here are some of the most common issues uncovered during home inspections in Colorado.

Exterior Grading

The grade or grading of your home simply refers to the level of the ground. It might not seem like a big deal, but how your home is graded is actually a deciding factor in how stormwater flows (in other words, how likely it is that your basement will flood at the first drizzle).

This can lead to anything from moisture buildup to foundation shifting, settling, or cracking. Plus, water in the foundations can easily translate to rot in your walls.

One of the most obvious signs is soft, spongy soil near your house, but your house itself can also give clues, like windows being out of square or interior doors that have large, uneven gaps when the door is closed.

This is a surprisingly common inspection issue. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the more expensive ones to fix. Improper grading may require regrading the entire front and back of the property.

Faulty Wiring

As long as the electricity works, everything is fine, right? Not exactly, which is why electrical issues often fly under the radar until they fester into major problems–or pop up during your home inspection.

Some wiring issues are relatively minor, like ungrounded, two-pronged outlet receptacles grandfathered into an old house, while some issues, like frayed wiring in the weather head, present a serious fire risk and have to be addressed urgently.

Stucco Issues

Traditional masonry stucco is a cement plaster applied over walls on the inside and outside of buildings, a mix of lime, cement, and sand that hardens to a low-maintenance, highly durable material.

When applied correctly, stucco will last a lifetime. When applied incorrectly, it’s an invitation for moisture to build up in your walls. The net result? An expensive repair bill.

When done right, stucco is supposed to prevent water issues. The system is actually rather brilliant. At the base of exterior walls, where the foundation and bottom plate meet, a stucco component called a weep screed is applied. When water hits your house, it wraps around the walls, sheds down the weep screen, and flows out of the building.

However, if your patio, sidewalk, or stoop was poured too high, the weep screed is buried, and the system doesn’t keep water out of your walls. You can spot this by walking around your house and looking for areas where the weep screed disappears in the concrete.

With stucco problems, you’re looking at two issues: water damage and repairing the weep screed. Water damage may vary depending on how early it was caught, but the truth is you’ll keep having the issue over and over until the weep screed is fixed.

Roofing Materials

Homes age. So does the material covering your roof. But those cracked or missing shingles aren’t that big a deal, right?

Wrong.

The whole point of having a roof over your head is to make sure the great outdoors stays, well, outdoors. If your roof is damaged, it’s no longer doing its job to keep the elements out, which can easily translate to moisture problems, mold, and leaks. Plus, heavy snow buildup on a damaged roof can compromise your home’s structural integrity.

Even if your roof is simply old, an aging roof no longer does its job as effectively.

If the issue is just a few broken shingles, you can get away with tearing off and replacing the shingles. However, if the damage is more widespread, or if your roof is due for a replacement anyway, that can quickly turn into an expensive repair bill before your home sale. It’s also one of the common dealbreakers that drive would-be buyers away from a home sale.

Water Damage or Moisture Buildup

Finally, in case you hadn’t caught on yet, water damage or moisture buildup of any kind is a serious home inspection issue. In home inspection reports, this often crops up in the form of moisture in the basement or attic, usually the result of cracks or damaged gutters. It can create anything from a bit of dampness to a rampant mold problem.

If the issue has devolved into mold or significant water buildup, you’ll have to repair the water damage and identify the source of the damage to repair it. This can be expensive depending on the extent of the damage.

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