Step 5: The Inspection | Most Common Inspection Issues

A home inspection contingency is made a part of a real estate contract to protect you from buying a home full of problems not visible to the untrained eye.

Most Common Inspection Issues

As soon as the offer is accepted by the seller, it’s time to schedule a home inspection.  A home inspection contingency is made a part of a real estate contract to protect the consumer from buying a home full of latent defects and problems not visible to an untrained eye.  One should never skip this part of a real estate transaction. I will help you schedule the inspection as well as provide you with referrals for my most trusted home inspectors who have a long list of credentials and satisfied homeowners.  Below is a list of most common issues I have encountered in the past 29 years.

  1. Electrical wiring —the three most common issues I have seen are no GFCI outlets where they should be installed, double-tapping electrical wires in the circuit breaker box and undersized circuit breakers. While all of these issues are serious, they can be easily corrected by a licensed electrician.
  2. Roofs —those include more than 2 layers, water pooling on the roof, lack of proper flashings around spots where a chimney or vents are coming out of the roof.
  3. HVAC – 90% of furnaces will be called out for service and cleaning.  Older furnaces may have faulty motors or cracks in heat exchangers. More serious HVAC deficiencies may lead to unsafe CO emission and are considered a safety issue.
  4. Plumbing —poor water pressure, loose toilets and old wax rings, and slow drainage are the most common items I have seen on home inspection reports.
  5. Windows – whenever you see a foggy window, it’s good to check if it’s simply dirt from the inside or outside, or if the seal between the two panes is broken and the insulating gas has escaped. The esthetic part of it can be easily fixed by replacing the glass; however, it will not have the same R value as the original window.
  6. Basement and foundation — when you come into the basement and the smell is musty, look around to see any signs of mold on the walls.  Ask your home inspector if he would recommend further investigation by a mold specialist. When you buy a home that has been rehabbed, as if the seller installed drainage tile (most of the old Chicago homes don’have it).

If the answer is no, be extra vigilant to find out if there is history of water intrusion.

I always recommend for my clients to attend their home inspection. An 80-page inspection report can be overwhelming and you will not get the background information from the home inspector over the phone. When you are there with the inspector, he/she will give you their opinion and let you know whether the issue is serious or common for the type of a house you are buying. Please remember that every inspector has his own pet peeves so no two inspections on the same house are the same. Beware of inspectors who are overly alarmist – there are unscrupulous ones who will kill the first deal just so they can charge you for the second inspection. In some cases, a home inspector will recommend an opinion from a licensed mason, electrician or plumber. Occasionally, a more specialized expert will be needed. Depending on the market, these are some of the more specialized inspectors used by homebuyers – click here.

Once you receive the inspection report, we will go over it together and make a list of things to ask the seller to repair or give you a closing credit. Every situation is different, but in most of cases it’s unrealistic to believe that the seller will agree to all the requests, so it’s best to pick your battles.

Below you will find a list of our recommended home inspectors:

Jeffrey Swanberg

Premier Home Inspection

Phone: 312-543-3860


Jarrod Spadino

Windy City Home Inspection Inc.
Office: 847.926.4663


Rob Koncius

High Point Inspections
Mobile: 708.447.7235


Mark Wilczak
Secure Choice


For more info, please call 773-865-5661 or email us at