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Thread: Help! How do I get started with home inspection report?!

  1. #1

    Default Help! How do I get started with home inspection report?!

    I know this isn't a very helpful thread title, and I'll have to farm out several threads eventually, but I just don't even know how to get started here.

    I've been a homeowner for almost 17 years and I'm ashamed to say that most of them were spent neglecting my home maintenance. In my defense, 50% of the occupancy of the house had worked in a hardware store, been a maintenance man, a welder/plumber, sheetmetal worker, etc., and I foolishly relied on him to be responsible for upkeep, which turned out to be a mistake. Now that he's gone, I'm left holding the bag and I don't know what to tackle first.

    I know I can do at least some of this myself; I have done minor maintenance on my car, gas dryer and stove, but some is going to be beyond me. I have limited funds, so I need to prioritize my repairs. If I post the list of deficiencies from the inspection report, can you please give me guidance on how to start? I'm so grateful.

    IX. Deficiencies
    Note: Right and left are noted as if facing the home from the street.

     There are settlement cracks throughout at various locations. Recommend an evaluation of the foundation by a licensed structural engineer and that necessary repair’s be completed.
     Recommend sealing the exposed metal (re-bar) at the slab.

    Grading & Drainage:
     The gutters are in need of being cleaned out.
     The rear left gutter downspout diverter pad is missing.

    Roof Covering Materials:
     At the roof – The roof edge shingles around the roof are not secured to the starter strips. Recommend securing to help prevent lifting during high winds.
     At the roof – There is 1 damaged / missing shingle at the rear side of the roof.
     At the roof – Recommend sealing the seams at the plumbing vent stack penetrations through the pipe flashings.

    Roof Structure & Attic:
     At the roof – A small section of the upper roof decking at the rear roof edge is loose.
     The lower attic wall vent exclusionary screening material at the rear wall is damaged.
     In the attic – 1 of the gusset plates / support boards is not secured to the attic frame.

    Walls (Interior & Exterior):
     Recommend trimming and maintaining tree limbs (at least 5’) and foliage away from contact with the home.
     At the right exterior wall – There is water damage at various locations along the bottom of the siding material and lower sill plate. The lower sill plate is visible in various locations. Recommend necessary repairs be completed to help prevent future water damage.
     At the front right exterior corner – There is a separation gap between the brick and composite siding material. Recommend covering / sealing the gap.
     At the exterior – The seams around the bases of the exterior light fixtures are in need of being sealed.
     At the front exterior wall – Recommend resealing the seams at the garage door frame boards.
     At the front exterior wall – There is an opening in the siding material below the bay window that is in need of being covered.
     At the front exterior wall – There is exposed wood around the bay window that is in need of being covered (paint or stain).
     At the left and rear exterior walls – There is evidence of previous / minor water damage at various locations along the bottom of the siding material and trim boards. Recommend necessary repairs be completed.
     At rear exterior side – The trim boards around the sliding screen door are in need of being covered (paint).
     At the roof – There is exposed wood and water damage at the trim boards and siding around the chimney. Recommend replacing the water damaged areas and covering (paint) the exposed wood.
     At the hallway bathroom – The sink to wall seam is in need of being sealed.
     At the master bathroom – Recommend cleaning and resealing the various seams around the shower / bath tub.
     At the master bathroom – There is evidence of previous water damage at the wall beside the bath tub.

    Ceilings & Floors:
     Various floor tiles throughout the interior are cracked.

    Doors (Interior & Exterior):
     There are no spring loaded hinges present at the door to the garage.
     At the master bathroom – There are no lower guides / tracks present below the closet doors.

     At the front exterior wall – 1 of the panes at the top half of the right window is damaged.
     At the master bedroom – There is water staining at the window sills / wall frames.

    Porches, Balconies, Decks, and Carports:
     Recommend sealing the cracks in the driveway. The driveway slab is not likely to have re-bar present.

    Electrical Service Entrance and Panels:
     At the right exterior side – There is no visible bonding wire present at the gas meter. This is common on a home of this age.
     At the sub electrical panel – There are sheet metal screws at the panel box cover plate; machine screws are recommended for this application.
     At the sub electrical panel – Not all of the circuit breakers are labeled / designated.
     Recommend contacting the electrical service utility provider to trim the tree limbs in contact with the electrical service entrance cables.

    Electrical Branch Circuits, Connected Devices, and Fixtures:
     The electrical outlets above the right and front counters in the kitchen are not Ground Fault Circuit Interruption (G.F.C.I.) protected.
     The bedrooms, hallways, living room, dining area, and similar general use areas electrical circuits are not Arc Fault Circuit Interruption (A.F.C.I.) protected.
     The bedrooms smoke alarms are missing.
     At the garage – There is no bulb guard present at the ceiling light fixture.
     At the A/C closet – The A/C electrical disconnect switch is not secured to the junction box. There is no cover plate present at the switch / junction box.
     At the living room – The chains at the fan / light fixture are damaged.
     At the master bathroom – 1 of the switches is installed upside down.

    Heating Equipment:
     The A/C closet ceiling is missing (fire blocking).
     The furnace exhaust vent pipe draft stop flashing is missing.

    Duct System, Chases, and Vents:
     The A/C filter is in need of being changed out; it is dirty.
     There is minor rusting present at various A/C supply grills.

    Water Supply System and Fixtures:
     There are no backflow devices installed on the exterior water hose bibs.
     At the right exterior side – There is no handle present at the exterior water hose valve.
     At the hallway bathroom – There is an active leak at the toilet tank to bowl connection. Recommend necessary repairs be completed.
     At the hallway bathroom – The sink bowl is not secured to its base.
     At the hallway bathroom – The shower head leaks at the connection point when in operation.

    Drains, Wastes, and Vents:
     At the master bathroom – There is evidence of previous leaking (rust) present at the drain line connection to the sink bowl.

    Water Heating Equipment:
     The water heater is 19 years old and has survived beyond its average useful life; recommend budgeting for replacement.
     There is a popping noise at the water heater when the burners are on. Recommend further evaluation of the water heater is a licensed plumber and that necessary repairs be completed.
     There is evidence of previous leaking (rust) at 3 of the water line connections above the unit.
     The water heater closet ceiling is missing (fire blocking).
     The water heater exhaust vent pipe draft stop flashing is missing.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Kent, WA


    Few of these you have to do. Some, you may be legally required to do (e.g. smoke alarms, and here in WA we must also have CO alarms) when you sell. Next, I'd look at which ones you are able to do and are easy to throw the buyers a bone. If they don't accept, then find another buyer.

    Some of these things are not problems. Your house is old enough that AFCI breakers didn't exist and you are under no obligation to retrofit them (and they may be difficult to do). Could be the same for GFCI's, although that are easier to install and rules for them have been around longer.

    Some of the issue were nebulous -- signs of water damage, but will you be able to figure out what the problem was and is it still a problem?

    Some of these are basic maintenance -- gutter cleaning and furnace filters and burnt out lights. For most people, those are easy. But if you have health, mobility, or balance issues, then even those may be too tough. People like to look for an excuse to pay less for a property. Drop your price, and give them a short list of what you know you can fix (or fix nothing).

    When I sold my last house, the inspector found about 20 things of which I was willing to fix 10. Some of these became stressful, and I used 6 bottles of concrete crack filler and the cracks still weren't filled. I thought it would be a bottle or two and be done. So then it was exterior spray foam and 2 more bottles of filler. This took time, as each application needed a day to dry and I was running out of time. Other things I thought were simple took longer. So don't bite off more than you can deal with. There will be more buyers if this one won't compromise. You'd think dead people or abandoned houses never sell when talking to inspectors. You may take a bath on price if there's some major things to fix, but paying people to fix things isn't cheap if you don't have the ability. A young or handy buyer can fix all of these things.
    Kent, WA

  3. #3

    Default Thanks so much!

    Basically, I'm the "buyer". 'S my house. I ain't leavin', 'cept for feet-first!

    I paid this inspector because I wanted to get on top of this stuff before it can swamp me entirely. In the three years I've been single I've learned to budget and save some money, which was never possible before.

    I have a home warranty, but I don't think any of this would be covered, except possibly the water heater, but at this point, the prorated value is probably $0.25!

    I have pictures of the water damage; it's basically the bottom of the siding is rotted, and it seems that the lower sill plate is visible in various locations.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    You can also see an example of a big crack between the siding and the brick. Here's an example of exposed metal at the slab.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    He mentioned I'd be able to cut off the affected siding and putting a big piece of trim to cover it, which I have noticed other homes in my neighborhood appear to have. I can't even figure out what kind of siding that is, because all the pictures online show these horizontal planks and these appear for all the world to be a few big giant sheets, not planks, and the "grain" running vertically. I'm sure it was the absolute cheapest of whatever was legal to use in 1984 when the home was built. And based on what I know about this now-defunct builder, probably not even that.

    It has been almost a year since I cleaned the gutters, fair enough. I will get after that the next few weekends. The filter I replaced later that day; I just didn't make it to the store before the inspector came.

    I am basically healthy and keep in decent shape, but I do have some joint limitations; I'll do my best to work around those. I'm not all that confident on the roof, but I can manage and I'll get better with practice. My partner has multiple disabilities, so he is limited, but he is eager to help me as much as he can! Usually, I just ask him to hand me things or possibly just stand watch and be ready to call 911 if there's profuse bleeding or I fall.

    It sounds like nothing is a three-alarm fire that I have to get fixed ASAP (like the homeowner shut-off leak a couple weeks ago!) so I have some time to learn more about this stuff as long as I keep it in focus and don't blow it off. Is that an accurate assessment? Thank you again!
    Last edited by bevocat; May 20th, 2017 at 03:13 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Kent, WA


    Your attachments didn't work. Suggest you try "preview" when posting to make sure it is right. Don't know if you forgot to hit the upload button or what.

    It sounds like you're describing T-111 siding. This is 4x8 plywood with grooves on either 4" or 8" centers and the surface is somewhat rough. It was a common cheap siding and I use it on sheds all the time. It isn't rot resistant and needs to be painted. Replacing a section is easy if the current T-111 has the same look and groove width/spacing. It sounds like most of your issues are caulk, flashing, paint, and gutter related.

    The only thing I'd fix now is the toilet tank to bowl leak and clean the gutters (make sure the downspouts aren't clogged too -- watch the gutters during a heavy rain to make sure they drain). You may need a new rubber doughnut between the tank and the toilet, or maybe you just need to tighten the nuts under the tank (don't over tighten as you could crack the tank and then you're buying a new toilet). Also consider cutting the brush away that is touching the roof or siding and maybe around the power line drop.

    Water damage is a slow thing. It leads to rot which means surgery (cut out and replace). If it is just surface items (trim and siding) that is easy to repair. Floor can be a bit more extensive. If the rot goes deeper and starts affecting joists, beams, or studs, then it could compromise the structure and is more invasive to repair.

    Some of these thing can be fixed by roofers or painters if it is time to reroof or repaint. Look at the fine print in the inspection report, as there any some systems they do not inspect. I think they try to judge overall roof condition and paint and I think he would have mentioned those if it is nearing time to redo. Especially if it was a self inspection.
    Kent, WA

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Welland Ontario


    Something is wrong with attachments. I tried to add some yesterday and it would not work.
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  6. #6


    Quote Originally Posted by joed View Post
    Something is wrong with attachments. I tried to add some yesterday and it would not work.
    Yeah, that's weird, because I did preview the message before I posted it, and now I've edited and re-added the attachments, and they are showing for me. Are they showing for others now?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Kent, WA


    Yes the pictures are there now. Your siding may not be T-111 but something worse. I had a house with fence made out of something looking like that. It was some type of pressboard with the grooves imprinted into it. It warped terribly and when it got wet just flaked apart. I've not seen it for sale in stores, but maybe someone still makes it.
    Kent, WA

  8. #8


    Yeah, we had a hard rain about 4 a.m. yesterday, and today (over a day later), it's pretty mushy. I'm going to get quotes to repair and replace the stuff on that side of the house, I guess. If it's garbage, I don't want to replace it with garbage. If it's going to hurt people's feelings that one side of my house is different from the others, they can pay for it to match.

    Or if I need to bite the bullet and get it all done at once, I guess I can figure out a way. I can get credit, but I want to avoid using it if there's any possible way.

    I was just outside and cut back the bushes on that side of the house so they're not touching the house, then went into the back yard and cut back some other stuff, but without a ladder I can't get at the branches threatening the power line. I was getting really discouraged by that time, so I wrapped up what I was doing and had to call it a day. I also re-secured the screen material covering of my A/C; one corner came undone.

    Next weekend I might be able to tackle the gutters.

    We have more brush in the back yard than can be put out for pickup tomorrow, so I will have to clear it out over a couple of weeks. Once I get that cleared out, I will call the power company to get them to trim back the trees from their line, and once that's done, I will inquire about tree trimming for the rest of my trees. There is a 20 year old or so Bradford pear tree outside my front door that would be resting on my neighbor's roof if I didn't have it propped up with a board; I've cut the lower branches I could reach, and there is a couple of inches of daylight between it and the roof, but I think it's wisest to have that out. I will have to limit it to what is a threat to people and property for now. We can pay for them to make it pretty in future years.

    And whenever the "must-do" safety and soundness stuff is taken care of, I need to get started on digging out the pea gravel we put in our yard to make it "maintenance-free" . For being too lazy to buy a lawn-mower and getting out for 20 minutes to mow our tiny yard, I have years of headaches and an ugly, weed-filled yard. Ugh. I just wish I had had the intestinal fortitude in the past to say "no, that's a hare-brained idea; there's a reason most people just have grass."

    Scratch that; I wish I had had the intestinal fortitude to say, "we need to buy a condo", but I had no idea he would be so neglectful of the things he just had to have that I didn't care about. Now it's too late and I'm stuck; I couldn't possibly afford to sell this house and buy a condo.
    Last edited by bevocat; May 22nd, 2017 at 10:11 AM.

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