At RepairPricer.com it’s our job to turn home inspection reports into highly accurate repair estimates so that our clients can use our reports to negotiate for repairs after the home inspection. This means that we build up a HUGE amount of information on common defects and items that home inspectors find on a daily basis. And while we don’t share that information with anyone, it does allow us to put together some rather interesting statistics.

Even though we do this day in and day out, we were actually extremely surprised by our findings. We analyzed the last 15,000 home inspection reports we processed here in the US, and came up with our top ten most common items noted on a report.

My guess, as a Realtor who has personally sold over 400 homes, and as the previous owner of a brokerage that sold upwards of $70 million a year, was that our top item would be….

No GFCI protection at one or more location.

Boy was I wrong. It did make the top ten, but wasn’t even in the top 5.

So go ahead, make your guess about the most COMMONLY FOUND DEFECT in homes currently selling in the US today, then read on and let us know in the comments below if you were right!

TOP TEN DEFECTS – BASED ON SURVEY OF LAST 15,000 HOMES (July 2018)

Defective Item Occurance Percentage of homes
Exterior caulking and sealer is missing 2439 16.26%
Doors need adjusting and servicing 2320 15.47%
Faucets and heads need servicing 2213 14.75%
Outlets or switches with deficiencies 2100 14.00%
Cosmetic Sheetrock cracks or nail pops 1964 13.09%
No GFCI protection at one or more location. 1862 12.41%
Fixtures and or bulb deficiencies 1769 11.79%
Smoke alarms 1593 10.62%
Lot does not facilitate proper drainage 1575 10.50%
Exposed nails and shingle deficiencies 1390 9.27%

Surprised? I was, and also slightly concerned, especially by the number one problem according to our survey. Improper caulking and sealing can lead to slow and subtle water penetration issues that over time can deteriorate wood, wiring, insulation and more – leading to much larger defects including mold – which nobody wants in their home. Water penetration is like the silent killer no one thinks about, yet it’s SO easy and cheap to fix.

My other major concern  was that smoke alarms made an appearance on here. A lot of fire departments even give these out for free because they are SO IMPORTANT in preventing home fires and saving lives.

So do us a favor folks – grab a ladder, a smoke detector and a caulking gun and have a quick look around your house. Basic preventative maintenance is cheap and highly effective.

We’ll be back soon with an update on this report with a larger sample base (we’re hoping around 100,000 homes), so stay tuned, and let us know your thoughts below. We’d especially like to hear from home inspectors and Realtors – is this in line with what you would expect and see on a daily basis? And if you’re looking for a full list of all items an inspector is looking for, visit our home inspection checklist page.