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14 most expensive defects found during a home inspection

The list of the top 14 most expensive defects found during a home inspection in 2020 has been tabulated by the Evergreen Property Inspectors team.

This list differs from the most common defects found here in that it takes into account the cost of the repair. For example a broken GFCI receptacle is a common but minor repair at $15. It could take a thousand GFCI repairs to equal one major foundation repair. This is why finding ‘major material defects’ including safety issues is the real purpose behind a home inspection.

The good news is that most homes do not have many major material defects or safety issues. But when they do, the knowledge gained through a professional home inspection can mean the difference between a smart buy and a money pit of repair bills.

  1. Foundation $600 – $20k+
    Foundation repairs can be as simple as sealing a basement crack to prevent water intrusion, all the way up to a bowed in foundation wall that needs to be replaced.
  2. Chimney $250 – $20k+
    Chimney repairs run from easy chimney cap replacements to full tear down and rebuild of the brick chimney structure. The interior of the chimney flue is not visible to the inspector and a chimney specialist is always recommended for brick chimneys.
  3. Siding $100 – $20k+
    Chips in siding from lawnmower damage is fairly common and inexpensive to patch or replace a plank or two. The flip side is improperly flashed siding or missing water shield that has allowed water to get behind the water barrier and damage the structure or wall sheathing. This can lead to wood rot and mold or mildew growth at the exterior walls.
  4. Roof $150 – $10K+
    Roof repairs are often simple rubber boot replacement or caulking around penetrations. However we sometimes find missing shingles that have let water get into the roof for months rotting away the deck sheathing and rafters.
  5. Driveway $300 – $10k+
    When the horizontal walkways and driveways around the home are neglected, water seeps into cracks that grow larger over time. As this water freezes or erodes the soil under the concrete it can lead to costly repairs.
  6. Asbestos $500 – $10K+
    Asbestos is a great building material and was widely used in home construction before the 1980s. Unfortunately, when asbestos containing material is damaged, the thin asbestos fibers can come loose and when inhaled can cause mesothelioma cancer in humans. Cleaning up asbestos material is highly regulated and expensive which makes this a potential expensive item even though it may not necessarily be a defect if the material is currently in good shape.
  7. Septic Tank $200 – $10k+
    Septic tank systems consist of distribution pipes, tanks, and drainfields. When storage tanks or drainfields start failing repairs can get expensive.
  8. Deck $250 – $10k+
    Wooden deck structures create great outdoor entertaining space to a home and building methods have changed drastically over the past 20 years. High profile deck failures resulting in multiple deaths has brought this topic to the forefront for home inspectors. NADRA, the North American Deck and Railing Association has great tools to help you identify high risks in older decks. https://www.nadra.org/membership/directory#!biz/id/5d515440f033bfd0698e9507
  9. Mold Removal $400 – $10k+
    While mold is pretty much everywhere, when you start to see it, it’s already getting out of control. The right temperature, humidity, and food source combine to create a mess that can cause allergies to flair up and some mold growth create toxins that can cause serious harm to occupants. Hiring a professional to evaluate the source, make repairs, and clean up the mess can be costly, but well worth the money to save your home.
  10. Termite/Pest $200 – $10k+
    Termite damage is often hidden. They like dark spaces, and this means they hide in the walls and follow the wood structure from the foundation and all the way up to the roof. The average termite eats very little each year, but a colony of termites can number into the hundreds of thousands or even millions of termites in one colony.
  11. Sewer Lateral $250 – 8K+
    The waste plumbing line that takes dirty water away from the home can fail and be a costly repair. These lateral lines have been made out of various materials over the years from wood and fiber, to clay, to iron, to PVC. As they age, the form cracks that allow soil or tree roots to further degrade or block the line. When these pipes fail it often results in a yard being excavated so repairs can be made.
  12. Plumbing $150 – $6K+
    Plumbing repairs can be as little as a new leak under a kitchen cabinet, to a toilet flange and seal that has failed over a six month period resulting in wood rot to the surrounding floors and walls.HVAC $150 – $6k+
    Furnaces and Air Condition components fail over time and at some point it makes more sense to repair vs replace a system.
  13. Electrical $125 – $6k+
    Outlets go bad and can be as cheap as $.99, however in an aged home with older wiring and distribution panels it can cost upwards of $10,000 to rewire a home.
  14. Water Heater $150 – $1,600+
    Water heaters have a typical lifespan of 8-15 years. How well the system is maintained and how hard the water is in your area will play a role in the life of this system.

Common defects vs expensive defects are often totally different lists. This list of the 14 most expensive defects found during a home inspection helps clients understand the purpose behind the home inspection process.

Evergreen Property Inspectors provides commercial and residential inspection services within 100 miles of the St. Louis Arch encompassing the Greater St. Louis and the Metro East Illinois areas with a mission of helping our neighbors accomplish their real estate goals. Contact us to book our services or call us at 877-805-5255 or 314-620-6822 with any questions.

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