The Most Common Problems with Homes Based on 50 Inspection Reports

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When it comes to buying a home in Orlando, you don’t know what you don’t know. Orlando homes are built much differently than other parts of the country; get ready for a learning curve!

I’ve reviewed at least 50 inspection reports, and a few issues keep bubbling up, especially from buyers who are unfamiliar with the area or how Orlando homes are built. I was in Windermere showing a buyer homes today, when she asked me about a crack on the side of the home. That question sparked today’s article! Lets demystify the most common problems I see on a home Inspection report:

  1. Settlement Cracks
Settlement crack in driveway

This is the #1 concern I receive from out-of-state buyers. Those long, winding cracks on the side of a home can seem really scary! The weight of the home “settling” over time on top of the earth creates settlement cracks. Orlando building code requires all homes to have a concrete foundation, with concrete block walls on the 1st floor. All this concrete is great for tropical storms, but not so great for flexibility. As the weight of the concrete settles on our sandy soil, homes will eventually show hairline cracks in the foundation or block walls.

Think of it this way: the home is basically a very heavy, very solid, concrete box. The concrete box is placed on top of soil. Soil moves, and over time, the soil is compressed, meaning the home must “flex.” Settlement cracks are the result of “flexing.” Settlement cracks are pretty much unavoidable in Orlando. Its not a matter of if, but when. The good news with hairline settlement cracks is that the remedy is easy: My go-to inspector, John Weaver of Cornerstone Building Analysis, recommends sealing the cracks with caulk and paint to seal the cracks. Of course you’re welcome to use any home inspector you’d like too!

2. Your A/C Unit

AC Handler needing inspection

Your air conditioner is your BFF in Orlando. Like with any BFF, you want to make sure they’re getting the care they deserve. When inspecting the air handler, your inspector will note if the unit has had any “service dates” written down on the unit. If not, the inspector will recommend a precision tune-up to keep the unit running smoothly. AC units have a life expectancy of about 12-15 years here in Orlando.

3. Loss of Granules on your Shingles

Loss of granules noted at shingle tab

I anticipate seeing this listed on the inspection report if the asphalt shingle roof isn’t brand new. The Florida sun is intense, which means our roofs need to be replaced more often. Granules are the little bits attached to each shingle, and degrade over time. Architectural shingles are the style you see on all new build homes (or tile roofing) and typically have a lifespan of about 25 years. However, it’s much harder to insure a home with original roofing after the 20 year mark. Most “big” insurance companies will not insure a home with a 20-year old roof (that’s how they keep profit margins high, but that’s a story for another time), but there are insurance companies out there that will. 

Hiring a home inspector is a must, no matter where you live. I don’t let my buyers purchase a home without receiving a private, third-party home inspection. Even on a new build home! It’s essential to know the condition of the home you’re buying. We can negotiate accordingly once we receive the inspection report. If you’re looking to purchase a home in the Orlando area, we have a lot of helpful articles for you on Magicalmoves.com! You can also email me directly at eric@magicalmoves.com or follow us on Instagram.

Eric Gross

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