How To Look At A House

McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of  

site-built, mobile/manufactured and modular homes

Do similar problems occur in houses in the same neighborhood?

Monday, October 22, 2018

Yes, we often find the same defects recurring in a neighborhood. It doesn’t mean they are areas to avoid, just that specific conditions exist in each part of town that naturally lead to certain defects. Here’s a few examples:

•• A neighborhood with dense, tall trees and moist soil—like in the photo above—tends to have more wood-rot on the exterior walls, trim, and eaves, along with fungal growth on the roof shingles.The moist soil and tree debris is a also a welcoming environment for subterranean termites.

 •• Hilly neighborhoods can develop soil erosion problems on the top and sides of hills and drainage problems at the base over time.

•• Some home developments were built with components that later proved to be problematic. Examples would be composite wood siding (premature deterioration), polybutylene piping (early failure), and Federal Pacific Stab-Lok electric panels (breakers fail to trip).

•• Certain areas have more uranium in the soil, with the resulting higher likelihood of elevated radon concentration inside a home. If you are concerned and want to learn more, check out our blog Does Florida have radon?

•• Other localities are known to have veins of clay soil and a higher incidence of structural problems related to soil heaving. Sinkholes tend to occur randomly, but certain areas have more sinkhole activity. To read more about clay soil and and sinkholes, go to our blog What is my chance of buying a Florida home over a sinkhole?

•• Developments with houses that were all built at approximately the same time have similar, predictable defects related to their age. Homes that are 20-years old, for example, are likely to have HVAC systems, water heaters, and roofs that are ready for replacement. Neighborhoods from the 1960s that have galvanized steel water supply piping—which was popular with builders during that era—are likely to have reduced water flow at the the faucets due to an accumulation of rust flakes in the pipes. To learn about average lifespans, go to our blog What is the average lifespan of the parts of a house?

  Every neighborhood has its own unique characteristics, and experienced home inspectors, like us, can often fill you in on the their particular quirks.

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  To learn more strategies for getting the best possible home inspection, here’s a few of our other blog posts:

How can I make sure I don't get screwed on my home inspection? 

How thorough is a home inspector required to be when inspecting a house?

Should I trust the Seller's Property Disclosure Statement?

Can I do my own home inspection?

How can homebuyers protect themselves against buying a house over a sinkhole? 

The seller gave me a report from a previous home inspection. Should I use it or get my own inspector? 

If we already looked at the house very carefully, do we still need a home inspection?

    To read about issues related to homes of particular type or one built in a specific decade, visit one of these blog posts:

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1940s house?

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1950s house?

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1960s house?

• What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1970s house?

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1980s house?

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1990s house?

What problems should I look for when buying a country house or rural property? 

What problems should I look for when buying a house that has been moved?

What do I need to know about buying a foreclosure? 

What should I look for when buying a former rental house?  

What problems should I look for when buying a house that has been vacant or abandoned?

What are the most common problems with older mobile homes?

What should I look for when buying a house that is being "flipped" by an investor seller? 

What do I need to know about a condo inspection?

What are the "Aging In Place" features to look for when buying a retirement home?

   Visit our HOME INSPECTION page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.

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