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Welcome to our blog!
We want you to be an informed homebuyer, and each blog post is a question that we have answered for our friends and customers over the years. Hope they help you make a good choice for your next home.

    That list is sometimes long, and can be especially daunting for a first-time buyer of an older home. Part of the problem is that the same things that are considered authentic period details end up being on our defect list. For example, “original push-button light switches” means an ungrounded electrical system. “historic wood windows with wavy glass” translates to energy-leaking and difficult to operate, “patina of age” is another name for corrosion and oxidation, and even “1950s modern with exposed beam ceilings” means no attic and no insulation overhead.

    This is not intended to discourage you from buying an older house. Just don’t directly compare the features and amenities of a home in an historic neighborhood with a recently built house or you will be sorely disappointed. Grade it on a curve or give it the equivalent of a golfer’s handicap when evaluating one. Even older homes that have been extensively remodeled will have issues that you will have to accept in order to acquire an authentic vintage home.

    One realtor we know that specializes in older neighborhoods greets visitors at the door of his weekend open houses by asking “Are you ‘old house people’? If you are, you’re gonna love this house!”

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   To read about issues related to homes of particular type or one built in a specific decade, visit one of these blog posts:

  1. What are the most common problems with older houses?

  2. What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1950s house?

  3. What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1960s home?

  4. What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1970s house?

  5. What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1980s house?

  6. What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1990s house?

  7. What problems should I look for when buying a country house or rural property?

  8. What problems should I look when when buying a house that has been moved?

  9. What problems should I look for when buying a house that has been vacant or abandoned?

  10. What are the most common problems with older mobile homes?

  11. What should I look for when buying a “flipper” house?

  12. What should I look for when buying a former rental house?


While we hope you find this series of articles about home inspection helpful, they should not be considered an alternative to an actual home inspection by a local inspector. Also, construction standards vary in different parts of the country and it is possible that important issues related to your area may not be covered here.
© McGarry and Madsen Inspection


More Blog Posts on Similar Subjects:

  1. How can I make sure I don’t get screwed on my home inspection?

  2. Should a home inspection scare you?

  3. What is the difference between an appraisal and a home inspection?

  4. Are you licensed and insured?

  5. We looked at the house carefully, and it seems alright. Do we really need a home inspection?

  6. Is a home inspection required?

  7. Should I be there for the inspection?

  8. What tools do you use for a home inspection?

  9. Is it common for an insurance company to require an inspection?

  10. The seller has to fix everything you find wrong with the house, right?

  11. Is it still possible to do an inspection if there’s no electricity or water?

  12. What’s the difference between a roof inspection and a roofing estimate?

  13. Should I hire an engineer to inspect the house?

  14. Do inspectors go on the roof? Do they get in the attic?

  15. What happens at a home inspection?

  16. Does the home inspector also check for termites?

  17. What different types of specialized inspections can I get?

  18. What are the questions a home inspector won’t answer?

  19. What is the difference between a building inspector and a home inspector?

  20. What is the difference between a home inspection and a final walkthrough inspection?

  21. Should the seller be at the home inspection?

  22. What is the average lifespan of a house?

  23. Should I use my realtor’s home inspector or choose one myself?

  24. Should I use a contractor or a home inspector to inspect a house I’m buying?

  25. Should I get a home inspection before signing a contract to buy the house?

  26. Can a home inspector do repairs to a house after doing the inspection?

  27. What is a “continuous load path”?

  28. When did the first Florida Building Code (FBC) begin and become effective?

  29. Should I only hire an inspector that is a member of a national association like ASHi, InterNACHI, or NAHI?

  30. What is a “cosmetic” defect in a home inspection?

  31. Where are the funny home inspection pictures?

  32. Should I follow the inspector around during the inspection?

  33. Why do realtors call some home inspectors “deal killers”?

  34. How can I reduce the risk of an expensive surprise when buying a house sight unseen?

  35. Does my home have to be inspected to get insurance?

  36. Who should pay for the home inspection?

  37. Can you do a home inspection in the rain?

  38. What are the most Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) at a home inspection?

  39. How can I make sure my house doesn’t fail the home inspection?


  40. Does a home inspector give cost estimates for repairs?

  41. What’s missing? Our “Top 10” list of things that are home inspection defects because they are not there?

  42. What inspections does a bank or mortgage lender need for loan approval?

  43. What is the difference between a structural defect and a cosmetic defect?