Make sure you have a permit for any additions to the home.

If you are thinking about or are getting ready to buy or sell a home, many issues could pop up during the home inspection — some major, some minor. If you live in an older house, a thorough evaluation of the home in its current condition can help you work toward getting it in tip-top shape for comfortable living. Whatever your situation is, these 10 issues are most commonly found during a home inspection.

1. Overloaded or double-tapped circuit breakers

Overloaded or double-tapped circuit breakers can cause a fire. All the home’s wires feed into the breakers, where there’s a place for one wire, or circuit, per breaker. The common problem is two circuits twisted into one little breaker. They can overheat and cause a fire. Homeowners often overload circuits when they put an addition on the house. Suddenly, the home needs more capacity for electricity, so the owner doubles up on a circuit.

To fix the problem, add circuits, don’t overload them. For this, you need to hire a Registrar of Contractors (ROC) licensed electrician, who will perform a load calculation and decide how much load can pull on that circuit.

2. Poor water flow in the home

We’ve all been there: someone flushes the toilet while you’re taking a shower, and suddenly, there’s no water pressure in the shower. The cause can be corroded pipes or poor water pressure in the house.

A plumber can discover whether the pipes are clogged and can cut around them to improve water flow. Sometimes, the cure is as simple as unscrewing the screen on the faucet and removing the white limescale buildup caused by Arizona’s notoriously hard water.

3. Poorly performing air conditioners

Perhaps your home’s ducts were not installed properly in the attic and are kinked or too small. Gaps in the attic’s ductwork or in the air handler, or a leak in the connection between a roof-mounted air conditioning system and the house, can cause cool air to blow out of the house and draw hot air in. These are mostly installation problems, but sometimes, the trouble is a lack of maintenance or missing insulation. A home inspector can identify the problem, and a professional ROC-licensed contractor can fix it.

roof tiles

Broken roof tiles could signal more serious problems with the underlayment that keep the water from leaking into the house.

4. Roof issues

Concrete tile is beautiful on an Arizona rooftop. However, in homes that are at least seven years old, the membrane underneath the tile, which keeps the house dry, can rot, tear or wear out and leak — especially if it’s made from lower-grade paper. Often, it’s not just one tile that’s broken. When homeowners walk on the roof to do self-repairs or hang holiday lights, they can break the tiles.

Those tiles protect the home from a lot of wear and tear from the sunshine and rain. Hire a professional ROC-licensed roofing contractor to inspect your roof. They know how to walk on every kind of roof. Don’t risk breaking the tiles, or your neck, walking on them.

5. Broken or damaged trusses in the attic

The truss is the wood that forms the triangle in your attic. It carries the weight of the plywood, shingles or tiles on the roof. Trusses are strong but if someone alters them by cutting through a member to make an air conditioning duct space, for instance, or to add an air handler, your roof could fail.

Hire a structural engineer and a ROC-licensed carpenter to re-support the trusses and get everything back to normal before any structural damage occurs, causing leaks or the ceiling to sag.

6. Slab damage

Clay-based soil expands and contracts when it gets wet and dries out quickly. Water can get under the slab and cause it to lift or drop, also known as heaving and settling.

Prevent water from getting near the foundation. If damage occurs and is extensive, you may need to consult a slab remediation specialist who can dig to the slab and lift or lower your home to level it again.

7. Bad repair jobs

These can almost always be traced back to an unlicensed contractor. That is why the individual you hire must be licensed to do the work you are hiring them to do. Again, licensed for the work they are hired to do. Not someone licensed to install cabinets whom you hire and repair your roof. Structural disasters waiting to happen include patio support columns without strapping, undersized wood used for the roof and a patch rather than a permanent repair.

8. Unfinished or unpermitted home additions

These are the easiest to spot: an enclosed carport with an air conditioning unit stuck in the wall and the outline of what used to be the garage door in a new room. Sometimes rooms don’t have heat or air conditioning systems, and some don’t even have electricity. When you try to sell your home, the appraiser will likely not count this kind of half-baked addition in the square footage and therefore, your asking price goes down. If you did not get a permit for the addition, it won’t be on the tax rolls and won’t be part of the appraised value of the home. If your addition isn’t finished, such as half of the drywall is up, the ceiling isn’t complete, etc., get a permit and finish it. If you are staying in your home, you’ll be more comfortable. If you are moving, you’ll get a better price and make a better first impression on potential buyers.

9. Lack of maintenance

Some people don’t do a thing to keep their homes in good shape and working order. The front doors are rotting at the sill, the window screens are torn, the eaves are faded, and/or the exterior trim paint is down to bare wood. Those are sure signs that no one cares about this house. And that’s just the neglect you can see.

10. The gas line is not capped

The worst offender is the gas line not being capped. Without a valve, gas can leak out when it is turned on in the house. Gas goes to the water heater, furnace and stove, among other appliances. Each appliance should have a shut-off valve. Call a professional ROC-licensed plumber to install the gas line properly.

A home inspector doesn’t fix these things; they only find them. The inspection is the first step in getting your home in shape for comfortable living or for the real estate market. JN

Rosie Romero, Jr. is co-owner of Arizona’s home improvement radio program “Rosie on the House.”