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Common Defects Found During Home Inspections: An Interview with Glenn Stewart of The House Whisperer LLC

By Glenn Stewart

Tell us a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

The House Whisperer LLC has been conducting professional residential inspections in the Bay Area since 1999. As a one-stop shop, additional services are available including termite, roof, chimney and pool inspections. Our inspectors are experienced, certified and insured. Reports are delivered within 24 hours, typically the same day as the inspection. Our tagline is Inspecting the Bay Area... One house at a time.

What are the most common defects you find during your inspections?

A few of the common defects we find during home inspections in no particular order include:

- Water heater plumbing and seismic strapping issues
- Poor drainage around the building leading to wood rot, mold, foundation settlement and cracks
- Electrical problems caused by non-professional installations
- Missing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

Is there something that most people don't know about foundation or roofing problems that they should know?

Homes originally built with wood shake roofs had minimal attic ventilation. When it's time for roof replacement, it's usually with composition shingles requiring additional attic vents. What the inspector notes is inadequate attic ventilation with the new installed shingles - as additional vents weren't installed per instructions. Bottom line: the roof shingles won't last as long as they should, and the interior isn't as comfortable as it should be.

What are some of the most expensive defects that are commonly found during a home inspection?

Foundation repairs are the most expensive defects identified by home inspectors. If a foundation settles, floors can slope, interior doors won't close and wall/ceiling cracks develop. It's expensive to level a foundation. Foundation cracks are typically associated with poor drainage around a house. Repairing cracks can cost several thousand dollars.

What are the basic steps that people should take after getting an inspection report for a house with several defects?

The home inspection process is typically a two-step process, where the inspection report identifies the conditions found on the property and then makes recommendations for further review by an expert. Home buyers should review the home inspection report with their realtor. The House Whisperer reports help the home buyer sort things out by putting inspection findings into one of three classifications in the summary section:

1. Health and safety conditions (i.e., missing CO detector, water heater not seismically strapped)
2. Repairs that would affect the day to day living in a house (i.e., a leaking toilet)
3. Minor deficiencies (i.e., ceiling cracks, water stains)

What's the best way for people to contact you and your company?

Pre-listing and buyer inspections can be scheduled by calling our office 800-662-8589, Monday - Friday 7am-5pm, Saturday 7am-12 noon. Our inspectors are available Monday through Saturday; emergency inspections on Sunday.

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