Sounding the alarm

These are the 10 most common deficiencies in Dallas homes for sale

These are the 10 most common deficiencies in Dallas homes for sale

Signing deed to a house with money
There's nothing cheap about buying a home. iStock

An alarming number of homes in Dallas lack smoke alarms that work properly or lack smoke alarms altogether, according to a new report.

The report, from Dallas-based Repair Pricer, shows 62 percent of homes for sale in Dallas had defective smoke alarms or no smoke alarms at all. The report analyzed 5,000 inspection reports of homes for sale inside Dallas’ city limits to reveal the 10 most common home deficiencies.

Repair Pricer offers a tool that helps real estate agents, real estate clients, and home inspectors come up with accurate prices for home repairs.

The issue with smoke alarms and the need to adjust and service doors — an indicator of problems with the foundation — tied for the most common deficiency (62 percent) among homes for sale in Dallas. The deficiencies found with smoke alarms were by far the most life-endangering, though.

According to the Texas Fire Incident Reporting System, 108 civilians (not firefighters) died in Texas home fires in 2016; smoke alarms were absent in 22 percent of the fatal fires.

“Smoke alarms have become such a common feature in U.S. homes that it is easy to take them for granted. These devices have alerted countless households to ... fires,” the National Fire Protection Association says.

Across the country, smoke alarms were present in three-fourths of home fires reported in 2012 through 2016, the association says. Almost three out of every five home fire deaths during that period were caused by fires in homes with no smoke alarms (40 percent) or smoke alarms that failed to operate (17 percent). 

In the case of smoke alarms that fail to operate, the main culprit is that they’re disconnected or the power sources (such as batteries) aren’t operating.

What follows are the top 10 deficiencies discovered by Repair Pricer among homes for sale in Dallas:

  • Smoke alarms aren’t working or are missing (62 percent).
  • Doors need adjusting and servicing (62 percent).
  • No protection from a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI), a fast-acting circuit breaker designed to shut off electricity and prevent people from electrical shock (60 percent).
  • Exterior caulking and sealer that are missing (59 percent).
  • Faucets and heads that need servicing (54 percent).
  • Deficiencies with fixtures or bulbs (53 percent).
  • Cosmetic sheetrock cracks or nail pops (53 percent).
  • Outlets or switches with deficiencies (52 percent).
  • Problems with electric service panel (52 percent).
  • Lot does not offer proper drainage (51 percent).