Real Estate5 Most Common Code Violations You Can Avoid When...

5 Most Common Code Violations You Can Avoid When Selling a Home


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In real estate, building codes are crucial for the safety and health of anyone living in or are going to buy a house. So, when a home inspection report comes back that your house isn’t up to code, that means there are some problems which make it difficult to sell. Most buyers want a house that does not need any work and they may not even give your home a second thought if there are violations that require extensive repairs.

Even though Home Light’s 2021 real estate survey shows that 97% of real estate agents say their market favors sellers it still may be difficult to sell a house with code violations. You can avoid all the stress of trying to figure out your next course of action (do you want to do the repairs, lower your asking price, or sell it “as-is” to a cash buyer at a lower price) when you know the most common code violations and address the problems before listing.

Let us look at the common violations.

1. Handrail hazards

You would not think that the handrails in your home could be a code violation, but if the handrails are in disrepair, if they are not the right height, or the ends are not connected to a wall, those are violations.

To avoid these:

  • Have handrails that are no more than 3 inches in diameter, so they are easy to grip.
  • Make sure the handrails are 3 feet from the floor.
  • Handrail ends should attach to the wall to prevent purses or clothing getting snagged.

2. Windows are not installed properly

While you may not have been the person to install the windows, an inspector will ding you if the windows are not easily accessible or the glass isn’t tempered.

To avoid these:

  • Replace non-tempered glass windows near high traffic to prevent safety hazards.
  • Make sure there is at least one window in each room that is accessible for emergencies.
Selling a Home
Selling a Home

3. Smoke and carbon monoxide detector problems

Inspectors will look for smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure that they meet state requirements, otherwise, they would be a violation.

To avoid these:

  • Put smoke detectors are on each floor, in every bedroom, and outside sleeping areas.
  • Put carbon dioxide detectors in the same places as above, as well as in the garage.

4. Energy consumption violations

Traditional housing codes are not the only things you need to worry about. Energy consumption codes reduce energy usage, and these code violations could cost you a lot of money in misused energy.

To avoid these:

  • Seal around the exterior pipe and vent openings to prevent drafts or water damage.
  • Insulate areas (attic or basement) that are not air-conditioned to prevent energy loss.
  • Insulate ductwork to prevent water condensation and improve performance.

5. Unsafe deck

A deck is a nice way to enjoy the nice weather, but if the decking is old or in disrepair, that can get you a code violation.

To avoid these:

  • Check the deck ledger to see if it is secure and in good shape (no wood rot or rusty bolts)
  • Check the flashing to make sure it is not missing, discolored, or worn out.
  • Check guard rails to see if it is in good repair and at the correct height (36-inches is ideal)
  • If installing a new deck, follow the directions to the T

Avoiding code violations can make selling a house easier.

No one wants to hear that their home has code violations, but sometimes it happens. If you want to make sure your home sale goes off without a hitch, you will want to check your home for the most common code violations and address them as soon as possible. It may cost a bit of money, but it’ll be worth it once you get that “SOLD” sign out front!


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