It’s helpful to be prepared at every stage of the home buying process, and the home inspection stage is no exception. If you’re looking to purchase a home, you’ll want to be on the lookout for common (yet alarming) problems you may come across. You’ll be able to adjust your offer or move onto a property that’s in better condition.
If you happen to be selling your home (or think you might be in the future), you’ll also want to note these home inspection issues. Getting them taken care of before you put your home on the market can make the sale and negotiation process much easier.
Whichever side of the transaction you find yourself on, keep your eyes open for these 10 home inspection issues.
1. An Old or Faulty Electrical System
If you’re looking at an older or historic home, make sure the electrical system is up to code. Especially if it has a pre-1960 electrical system, you might want to keep it simple and look elsewhere; the walls may even need to be knocked down for the home to pass inspection.
Old wiring is a fire hazard that can cost several thousand dollars to repair. If you’re looking to buy a historic house, there may also be limits on what types of changes you can make to the building when you’re trying to fix the problem.
2. Foundation Issues
Foundation issues are a buzzword you should be on the lookout for; they’re typically very expensive. Nearly every home undergoes “settling” of some kind, as the weight of the home causes it to settle into the ground over the years.
Many structures will have, for instance, tiny cracks somewhere in the basement. While some of these cracks are nothing to worry about, others might signal very serious problems with the home’s structure. If your inspector is in doubt, he or she may decide to refer you to an engineer who can confirm whether it’s truly worrisome.
3. Mold Problems
Surface mold happens, especially in places like bathrooms with inadequate ventilation. But when black mold materializes in a home’s basement, crawl space, or a similar location, you should probably be worried. Black mold has a history of exacerbating asthma and causing very serious health problems.
Black mold in a home almost always indicates a much more serious issue, like flooding. It might appear inside cracks in the foundation where water has leaked through, or water has built up because of major issues with the house’s plumbing.
It’s a big financial burden to get the mold out and make sure it doesn’t come back. If you’re the potential buyer, it’s best to head for the door.
4. Plumbing Issues
Plumbing problems are common, but you should still be on guard when it comes to the need for expensive repairs. As for issues like leaking or outdated/defunct parts, total system replacement is very often the only solution. It’s a sizable investment most homebuyers want to avoid!
5. Water Damage
Did the home inspection uncover standing water in the basement or water leaks anywhere else in the home? This can be a major problem, signaling roof or skylight damage, drain tile deterioration, or an entire plumbing system that needs to be replaced.
Even something like a much smaller water stain on the ceiling may seem innocuous – but it still reveals that water infiltrated the home at some point. Be very careful!
6. Poor Attic Insulation/Ventilation
This concern is straightforward, yet still very costly. If the home inspection uncovers subpar insulation and ventilation, this can result in sky-high utility costs and uncomfortable living conditions.
7. Roof Issues
If your home inspection spots curling shingles on the roof or water damage on the ceiling of a home, it might point to some costly-to-repair roof issues. The appraiser can usually pinpoint how many years of life are left in your roof. When it’s less than three years, it can often be a point of negotiation with the seller.
The price of a brand new roof can range from $15,000 to $150,000 depending on the size of the house and the type of roof. The true state of a home’s roof often can’t be seen from the outside, which is why it’s so important to get a home inspection.
8. Furnace Problems
Once the heater dies in a home’s furnace, it’s simply time to get a new one. Average cost of a new furnace in 2016? $3,602.
Sometimes your home inspection professional will bring in a separate furnace expert from the gas company if there’s controversy around the life left in the current system. If the news is bad, it’s a large expense on top of the cost of a home.
9. Vermin Concerns
Now and then, most homeowners will spot a mouse or two. But when it comes to something much more serious like termites, keep your eyes glued to the home inspection findings.
Mice can be taken care of with traps or extermination. Termites, on the other hand, appear when moisture finds its way into the wood of a home. Making them disappear once and for all is extremely difficult. Any wood they destroyed will also need to be replaced; then it’s up to the homeowner to closely monitor the area to prevent their return. It’s certainly not good news for these issues to turn up in a home inspection.
10. Deferred Home Maintenance
Putting off home maintenance risks a potentially high-cost situation. If the previous homeowner didn’t take care of the home, the responsibility will fall on someone else’s shoulders down the line.
Does A New Build Require A Home Inspection?
You may think that if you’re building a new home that you may not need an inspection. According to the American Society of Home Inspectors, municipal inspections that are conducted as the house is going up only verify compliance with local codes, so many things could still go wrong. A home inspection can identify the need for major repairs or builder oversights.
While new homes typically offer a warranty, you can be at the mercy of the builder as to when it gets done. Bottom Line? Get a home inspection and don’t move in until it’s right, or you could be looking at a long road with repairs instead of enjoying your home.