So, the listing makes the house sound like a steal and the property is stunning in person—but wait. Before you rush into anything you may regret, watch out for the following signs during the home inspection.
During an open house, prospective buyers try to get a sense of how well a house will fit their needs: Does it have enough bedrooms? Is the kitchen large enough? Do the bathrooms need updating? It’s important to remember, though, that a house—the single biggest investment most people will ever make—has to do more than just suit a list of requirements. It also has to be in good shape. To help prospective buyers determine the condition of a property, the standard listing contract includes a disclosure form where the seller is supposed to list all the known defects of the house. The seller may not, however, be aware of all the defects, and some sellers may intentionally omit problems, hoping you won’t notice them. To avoid unexpected repair costs, click through to learn about some common issues that should make you think twice before you buy after your home inspection.
Doors That Won't Close
Doors that won’t close are an indication that framing members have shifted and the door frame is now out of square. In some instances, the homeowners may have cut a bit off the top or bottom of the door to get it to close. So, if you notice a door with a little trimmed off the top or bottom, beware: The door may shut properly, but the problem that led to the shifting still exists.
Virtually all poured concrete foundations will crack at one time or another, but hairline cracks are not an indication of a problem. If a crack is wider than 1/2 inch, however, it’s a good idea to have a foundation contractor examine the area. This also holds true for cracks that appear to have been recently patched. Large cracks can indicate an unstable foundation
Most mold isn’t of the scary toxic variety like, for instance, Stachybotrys, but inhaling any type of mold spores can contribute to respiratory symptoms, headaches, and other illnesses, and the presence of mold may indicate a problem with the house. If you smell mold, check beneath sinks, around windows, and in basements and crawl spaces for leaks. If a leak has been going on for a long time, construction materials, including wood members, drywall, and carpets may need to be replaced.
Active Insect Infestations
The presence of live termites can throw a house contract into jeopardy, so it pays to recognize the signs before making an offer. One telltale indication is small piles of tiny brown droppings on a floor near a wall. Other signs include a hollow sound when you knock on a wood surface and the presence of mud tubes on a foundation. Termites are subterranean, so they construct tiny tunnels of mud along foundations and walls to protect them from sunlight as they travel back and forth between the wood they’re munching and their below-ground nests.
Water and construction materials don’t mix. The trickle of water from a leaky roof or window can over time rot away structural wood members. If water stains are yellowish or brownish, they may be evidence of a plumbing problem on an upper floor. Until you know where a leak is coming from and how much damage it’s caused, don’t make an offer.
No matter how quaint and cozy the house, if the ceiling sags, it’s a red flag. A saggy ceiling—even if the sag is only slight—can be the result of roof leaks, structural movement that’s causing the ceiling drywall to work loose from the ceiling joists, or an insect infestation that’s eating away at the joists. Whatever the cause, fixing it could be expensive.
Replacing a roof is an expensive proposition: A new roof can cost $6,000 to $20,000 or more, depending on the size of the roof and the type of roofing materials, so it pays to check out the roof carefully. Shingles that curl up at the corners, missing shingles, cracked shingles, or exposed nail heads are all signs that the roof might need to be replaced. A roofing contractor will know for sure.
Inadequate Attic Ventilation
From outside the house, look at the underside of the roof eaves (the soffits). You should see one or more vents—these are intake vents. Additional exhaust vents should be located along the ridge of the roof, on the face of the roof near the ridge, or at the top of a gable wall. Without adequate ventilation, an attic can become blazingly hot during summer, which can lead to damage of the roof sheathing (decking) and the shingles themselves.
Aging HVAC System
The average furnace lasts 15 to 18 years, and the average AC unit lasts around 10 to 12 years. As heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) units approach the end of their useful lives, they’re less efficient than they once were. As a result, you’ll pay higher utility costs to run them, and they may not heat or cool the house effectively. There’s also the chance that one or both of them will quit working entirely, and you’ll be left with the cost of replacing them.
Normal settling can cause floors to be slightly out of level, but if the slope is noticeable, it could be related to a foundation problem, broken floor joists, or rotted support beams. Structural problems can cost thousands of dollars to repair, so it pays to have a structural engineer take a look at the home if one or more of the floors are sloping.
Get the help you need for the home you want from 4u Inspection Services. Schedule Your Home Inspection Now or call (443) 539-8710 for additional information about booking an appointment.