How To Look At A House
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What is the difference between a material defect and a cosmetic defect in a home inspection?
Wednesday, February 26, 2020
One of the dictionary definitions of the word “material,” when used as an adjective, is “having real importance or great consequences.” And that's the meaning describing a defect in a home when part of an inspection report.
The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) further clarifies it in the glossary of their Residential Inspection Standards: “A material defect is a specific issue with a system or component of a residential property that may have a significant, adverse impact on the value of the property, or that poses an unreasonable risk to people. The fact that a system or component is near, at or beyond the end of its normal useful life is not, in itself, a material defect."
A cosmetic defect is also defined in the Residential Inspection Standards as "An irregularity or imperfection in something, which could be corrected, but is not required."
Examples of material defects would be a roof leak, foundation damage, and a non-functional air conditioner. Cosmetic defects include things like a rug stain and faded but not flaking or powdering paint. An insulated window that has lost its gas between the panes and become clouded is considered a material defect, not a cosmetic defect, because it no longer provides the necessary insulation for the envelope of the home.
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To learn more strategies for getting the best possible home inspection, here’s a few of our other blog posts:
To read about issues related to homes of particular type or one built in a specific decade, visit one of these blog posts:
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