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  • Self inspection guide: Red flags to look for when viewing homes

    Tuesday, October 18, 2022   /   by Amy Brown

    Self inspection guide: Red flags to look for when viewing homes

    It's a big investment in time and money to shop for a home and put one under contract. By the time you order the inspections, most buyers are usually thousands of dollars invested and it can be difficult, to say the least, to take the loss if you decide that you don't want to continue with the purchase. 

    Here are a few things that you can look for yourself when viewing a home at the first showing that should tell you when to walk away; saving you time and money!

    *Disclaimer: I am not a home inspector and this is not meant to be a guarantee of faulty items. This is simply a list of warning signs to ask further questions when viewing a home.

    1. Water stains - water is death to a home! Not only does it cause surface deterioration but inside the walls, you could be looking at mold growth if the problem has not been remediated. 

    What to look for: Ceiling rings, warped trim, bubbling paint, dark growth near the floor

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    Does this always indicate an active leak? NO, but the seller should be able to explain and provide documentation of the repair. 

    2. Uneven floors, sills, doors that don't shut property, cracks of greater than 1/8" in the drywall, windows that won't open - this could indicate a shifting foundation

    While all houses experience some settling there are certain areas where a potential foundation failure can be noticed. Most commonly is around the fireplace and on the exterior fascia near porches. 

    Also, if a door does not shut properly, don't be immediately alarmed. Usually there needs to be a more significant indicator such as cracking or an unevenness felt when walking across the floor to be concerned. Concern is warranted with multiple indicators.

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    3. Efflorescence seen on basement walls, floors, and ceiling floor joists - efflorescence is an indicator of high moisture levels and water seepage. This is an item that can be fixed; however, it can be a costly repair and one that the seller should be aware of. Efflorescence on basement walls can be an indicator of positive drainage towards the house requiring the installation of additional draining methods such as French drains and then basement sealing.


    4. Roof - a new roof is a costly item. I have found that many sellers when notified that their roof has a defect are willing to offer some type of credit to the buyers but that is not a guarantee. Here are signs that a roof is either damaged or at the end of its useful life. Any degree of sagging indicates that there may be a problem in the attic with a failing truss. This can be repaired but should be noted. Also, if you see significant granule loss throughout the entire surface of the roof, that indicates an older roof that is nearing time for replacement. You can see a lot of the surface area if you will step back a bit from the house and take a look. While this is not a dealbreaker, it should be on your list of major repairs.

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    5. Pest damage - we live in an area where termites are prevalent so if you are looking at a home that has wood or log siding, or has a deck you will need to be aware of what termite damage looks like. 


    While this also does not have to be a dealbreaker, it can be a costly expense depending upon the extent of the damage. The wood will need to be replaced and a termite remediation plan activated for immediate treatment and for the long term. 

    I hope you found this helpful as it can really save you a lot of headache if you are aware of what potential problems look like and are prepared to factor these items into your negotiations. It puts you one step ahead!