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The Top 5 Issues to Watch Out for When Buying a Home

August 1, 2017

Buying your first house is one of the most exciting times in a person’s life. While comfort and space are important factors for any family, it’s also wise to ensure an adequate return on equity (ROE) and return on investment (ROI). Nobody wants to get bogged down with costly repairs and health hazards. That’s why it’s important to watch out for common problems and hire a house inspector. Securing a reasonable investment and family home will always be much easier with the help of a knowledgeable home inspector, who will help you to spot these 5 home buying issues:

1. Asbestos

Asbestos is known for its fire resistance properties, but also as a carcinogen. Used since ancient times, the Greeks were fascinated with the mineral’s resistance to fire, which is why this material became popular with housing manufacturers centuries later.

When used as insulation, asbestos has been linked to terminal diseases, including mesothelioma. Although some investment properties, such as character homes, contain the material, this is often remedied by an investor who budgeted its removal along with renovations.

2. Mold and Mildew

Toxic mold isn’t anything to ignore either. Like asbestos, it can become airborne and cause a host of diseases and illness for home occupants. Stachybotrys chartarum, better known as black mold or toxic mold, can cause respiratory problems, giving off mycotoxins that cannot be seen with the naked eye. While mold can be cleaned, it is important to note that if the source of the problem isn’t taken care of, it could keep coming back.

So, what do you look for? Homes that have leaky pipes, a leaky roof, poor ventilation, or previous flood damage could be susceptible to mold. Watch for these signs. When in doubt, ask your home inspector to ensure your home is up to health and safety standards.

3. Electrical Problems

Not only can electrical problems be an inconvenience and hazardous to home occupants, the cost of repairs can be shockingly high. Things to watch out for are everything from the main pane, to wiring, grounding, circuit breakers, receptacles, and more. Is the electrical panel fitted with breakers, or outdated fuses? Is the wiring up to code? If a problem were to occur in any or all of these areas, repairs may exceed the buyer’s budget.

4. Roof Repair

Drip. Drip. Drip. The dreaded leaky roof is something you don’t want to be surprised with when spring rolls around. The time to catch any potential problems is before closing costs are settled and the deed is signed. But when it comes to roof repair, what do you watch out for?

The fascia (the band along the edge of a roof) and soffit (the exposed surface beneath the overhang) are areas to keep a close eye on when buying a home. Vented soffits have small holes to aerate the roof and attic by drawing out moisture. It is important these function properly to help avoid mold and other potential hazards.

To maintain regular upkeep, shingles should be replaced every few decades, depending on conditions such as climate and type of material used. An important question to ask is when the shingles were last replaced, and when they would be required to be replaced again. In an ideal situation, this can be factored into the price of the home, before making an offer.

5. Plumbing Problems

Last but definitely not least is the house’s plumbing system. Large problems can not only be costly, but like the other issues previously mentioned, can cause a host of health-related issues. While leaking faucets or showers in the kitchen and bathroom can be a nuisance and cause further damage to the home (including mold), a properly functioning septic system is integral to a healthy house. Ensuring the septic and sewer system has been maintained isn’t something that should be compromised. To best assess your potential purchase, consult your home inspector.

Honorable Mentions

While structural elements, radon levels, and the home’s exterior are integral to a thorough home inspection, when compared to issues such as a mold hidden in the attic, these components are easier to test for and are rarely overlooked. Remember, it is easier to deal with a problem you know about before the deal is complete than when you’re holding the deed. For more information on home inspections, and to schedule a detailed inspection for your prospective home, contact Stratton Home Inspections LLC at 712-281-3080.

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Stratton Home Inspections
Serving Des Moines, IA Council Bluffs, IA & Surrounding Areas
712-281-3080 - Council Bluffs
515-664-4303 – Des Moines
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