Avi Korine is an Engineer and a NYS Licensed Home Inspector. A resident of Dix Hills, he has been inspecting homes and buildings since 1988. After inspecting more than 11,000 houses he states that there is no perfect house – whether older or new construction. Every house has some defects and items for improvement. Some of the deficiencies are very serious and consider a major defect such as: defective foundation, significant termite damage, structure and frame defect, flooding, etc. However, most of the defects and items of concern are considered to be relatively minor and somewhat easy (and not too expensive) to correct. He has compiled a list of the top 10 most common deficiencies and problems found during home inspections on Long Island. (This list is based on the frequency of the defects and not the severity, nevertheless, these defects should not be ignored, some represent safety issue and must be corrected.)
Drainage and basement water penetration: most homes have some kind of a drainage concern such as: poor grading around the house (soil and concrete around the house must be sloped away from the house foundation), improper drywells, none and/or improper basement window wells, improper down spout extension and water runoff control – all can result in water penetration to basement and crawlspace.
Chimneys: This appears to be the most neglected item in the home. Many chimneys are deteriorating, missing and/or loose bricks, mortar damage and/or cracks, some flues/liner are damaged, missing – and many chimneys have no proper rain cap.
Smoke and CO detectors: Amazing, but in most home inspections the smoke detectors are missing or not functional. Most homes have no Carbon Monoxide detectors – which is a major safety concern and can easily be corrected by the homeowner. A NYS requirement.
Electrical: missing GFCI, loose outlets, receptacles with no covers, permanent usage of flexible (extension) cords, open and abandoned wires, open junction boxes and various other deficiencies require a visit from your local licensed electrician
Roofing: Roof repair or replacement. Poor flashing condition and minor water penetration (around chimney, skylights, vents or by extensions). Roofing with too many layers (two is max). Old and deteriorating roof shingles that are over their life expectancy. Note: roofs usually have a life span of between 15 to 30 years.
Trip hazards: This is a safety concern. Defective and uneven sidewalks and walkways, no or improper handrails (for outdoor stoops and/or indoor stairs).
Vegetations: Over grown trees, bushes, vines and other dense vegetations that are in contact and/or overhang the house. All must be trimmed away or removed in order to prevent moss, algae build up and rot damage due to poor drying cycles.
House Exterior: Poor caulking, siding deterioration, missing and loose siding, vinyl siding, missing shingles, trims and caps, loose bricks and poor mortar, improper installations of EFIS (exterior finishing insulation system). These problems must be corrected otherwise water penetration and significant rot damage may result.
Heating system: Many boilers and furnaces inspected are old (more than 30 years), outdated, rusted and in poor condition. Many systems (especially gas) are poorly maintained and needing service. All items relating to boilers and furnaces are a safety concern and all systems must be checked and serviced annually.
Attic and Crawlspaces: Inadequate roof venting and attic insulation: excessive moisture and heat in the attic can cause deterioration and rot damage to the sub roofing and reduce the life of the roofing. Poor insulation translates to a waste of money for heating and cooling.
Other frequent deficiencies found: Clogged and sagging gutters; no secondary egress from fully finished basements; garage door openers with no reversing safety feature; relatively minor termite damage; minor cracks in fireplaces; minor settlement cracks in the foundation; poor window seals and caulking; poor bathroom-wall grouting and caulking; aluminum wiring; overloaded electrical panels; frayed wiring and main service; plumbing leaks; rot damage and more.
The above list only mentions some of the problems found in homes. Many more severe items can be exposed in a home inspection. For more information call Avi Korine at 631-423-6061 and visit www.house-engineer.com.