8 Home Inspection Red Flags To Lookout For In Any Home

Home Improvements  Inspections  Real Estate 101

Let us start by saying that it’s perfectly normal for homes to have a couple dings and dents when they’ve been lived in and loved for many years. That is what they are made for after all, living! These are often superficial problems that can be easily fixed with a can of paint or new carpeting, but sometimes what you don’t see that can do the real damage.

Hidden leaks, faulty foundations, broken roofs and pervasive mold are only a  few common occurrences that are hard to spot and shouldn’t be taken lightly if found. Not only can these cost you a lot of money in repair bills, but some of them are likely to be recurring and will bring you nothing but more headaches down the line. So, next time you’re looking through a home inspection, make sure none of these red flags are on the list!

Home inspection red flags - roof

1. Roof Problems

Having to install a new roof isn’t going to be a cheap or easy fix if your home inspector happens to overlook a bad one! On average, roofing can run you anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000 dollars depending on the size of your home and leave you with one huge headache.

One good thing to remember is that it isn’t necessarily the age of your roof that matters, but how it has been maintained. Many well-installed and well-maintained roofs can last up to 30 years or more, while poor ones can last only a fraction of that time.

On of the worst problems you can have with your roof is when it begins to sag. This means that the rafters will need either replacing or reinforcing and this will set you back an even heftier price. Make sure you pay close attention to this in areas with high snow fall, as heavy snow loads can often cause more damage the roof.

Home inspection red flags - mold

2. Mold

Mold can happen to any home and for a variety of different reasons. Sometimes, it may be a small problem with a quick fix like a poorly ventilated bathroom. Simply installing a new fan may permanently solve the issue, or at least until you need to replace the fan.

Other cases of mold can be persistent and pervasive problems that you may want to avoid all together. Since so many people are allergic to mold or have mold-induced health problems like asthma, it’s essential to know just what you’re getting into when you purchase your next home.

A lot of the time, mold can be nearly invisible, only showing up if you happen to break open a wall, or start suffering from mold-related illnesses. This type of mold is mostly due to excess moisture in the home and simply cleaning up the mold you can see won’t stop it from returning in the future.

If mold is found in your prospective home, make sure you know if it’s treatable or persistent, and if it’s the latter, start running for the hills!

Home inspection red flags - pests

3. Pests

It’s pretty safe to say that most people don’t want to share their new homes with pests of any kind. These can range from termites that can damage your foundation to racoons or squirrels living in your attic and wreaking all sorts of havoc!

Much of the time, this may seem like a relatively easy fix by hiring an exterminator to get rid of the problem. But, there are many times when these creatures will come back to haunt you and your home, and no one wants to be dealing with a bug infestation every 6 months!

If you do decide to go through with the purchase of a home with some pests, make sure you ask your pest control expert how to keep the pests away after they’re gone.

Home inspection red flags - drainage

4. Drainage Issues

Poor drainage can lead to a variety of hard-to-fix and costly home repairs that, many times, may have been prevented. Damaged or missing gutters are mostly to blame for poor drainage and can lead to things like wood rot, wet basements, wet crawl spaces and terrible mold problems.

If caught early, this may be a small problem that is easily fixed with newly installed or repaired gutters, but if it has been a persistent issue for years, undoing the damage that has been done may cost you more than you’re willing to spend.

Keep an eye out for any puddles in the yard, water stains in the basement and mold growth throughout the house as these can be the key signs that your new home has drainage problems.

Home inspection red flags - electrical

5. Old Electrical

Old electrical panels and wiring can not only look bad, but can be serious fire hazards as well. Many older homes have not had an update to the panel and therefore may be overloaded, not properly grounded or contain old materials that are no longer up-to-code.

While many of us aren’t electricians and don’t necessarily know what to look for when looking at our new panel, some reg flags to watch out for are flickering lights, constant circuit breaks and any outlets or faceplates that get hot while in use.

It’s always best to have a professional check out the wiring in your prospective new home before purchase. Replacing the electrical in an entire house can cost you anywhere from $8,000 to $15,000, and that’s only if your home falls into the average 1,500-3,000 square feet. There is also the issue of having to remove drywall to get to the wiring, which could take this price skyrocketing!

Home inspection red flags - stains

6. Stains

As we mentioned earlier, stains on the walls can be as superficial as peeling paint or as deep as a major water leak and serious underlying mold problem.

Since water travels so easily, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly where the leak may be coming from and it could extend much farther than you first anticipated. Brown stains on the ceiling are especially troubling as they could indicate severe roof damage as well.

Home inspection red flags - plumbing

7. Plumbing

Plumbing is another especially crucial place to have checked when looking into buying your new home. Even small problems can cause big damage over time, like what seems to be a “harmless” slow leak in the faucet.

The bigger issue when it comes to bad plumbing is that chances are, you won’t be able to see it. Since plumbing is mostly hidden behind dry wall, you won’t know if your home has incompatible or inappropriate fixes that could lead to bigger problems down the line.

Make sure you address any and all plumbing problems before you buy the home, as they could lead to big repairs and big bills in the near future!

Home inspection red flags - sinking

8. The House is Sinking

The foundation is one of the hardest and most expensive parts of your home to fix, and sometimes it can be downright impossible.

The first sign of a house “sinking” or settling, is cracks in the concrete or blocks in the basement. Many times, these cracks can be harmless like if the house is quite old, there is often heavy frost in your area or they are only hairline fractures. But, if they are large, gaping or big enough to put your fingers in, it’s a sure sign that something is wrong with the soil your home has been built on.

Before you decide on your next home, make sure to have a professional look it over once, or even twice to make sure you know all the damage that exists. While it’s common for a home to have a few minor problems, anything that’s going to set you back an extra $10,000 or $15,000 probably isn’t going to be worth it in the long run.


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