Signs of Problems When Buying a House

by : Gina Labarbera

When buying a home, some people put more importance on the color of the walls than the condition of the roof. Paint color is an easy thing to change, but replacing a roof is a costly undertaking. Always hire a trained home inspector before you finally purchase a home, but use these tips as a guideline to help you weed out some of the potentially serious problems during the first walk-through.

Moisture: One of the sure signs of an over accumulation of moisture is a musty smell. If it has gotten to that stage, then mold may be a serious issue. Pay attention to strong scents of air fresheners that may be used to cover up an existing problem. Look for signs of water damage on wood flooring, inside cupboards, around toilets, appliances, or the loosening of grout in ceramic tile (often caused by a wet sub-floor). Watch for white powdery stains on basement floors, indicative of water seeping through the concrete.

Bathroom: Turn on the shower, if the water pressure is very low it could be a sign of leaky pipes. Also, give a little tug on the soap dish; if it's loose it could be a sign of rotting behind the ceramic tile.

Floors: Check the condition of the hardwood floors. Do they feel tight? Do the floors have a springing or sagging sensation when walked on, or are there cracks in any of the concrete floors or foundation? This could indicate structural problems.

Doors & Windows: Check to see that the doors and windows open and close easily, if not, it could be a sign of settling problems. Also check for wood rot along the sills.

Electrical: Look for an excess of extension cords being used, this could be a sign of electrical problems.

Furnace: Find out when the furnace was last serviced. If the seller is reluctant to give up this information, it's not a good sign.

Maintenance: The overall appearance of the home will give you a good idea as to how well the seller has maintained the property over the years.

Roof: Take a quick look to see if shingles are curling or shrinking, or if the roof is bulging. On the inside of the house dampness in the ceiling can be a sign of a leaky roof. Glance at the soffits for wood rot or nesting squirrels.

Drainage: Look at the condition of the gutters or if there is any sign of water build up around the foundation.

Siding or Brick: Take note of the overall condition of the siding or brick, checking for mold or wear..

Deck: Look for any sagging or uneven flooring that may suggest structural problems or rotting in the main beams.