Home inspections: 3 costly problems to look out for

Ginger Dean

November 4, 2013

By: Ginger Dean, Home Finance Specialist

In: Finance and Legal

There is nothing worse than saving all your hard earned cash to buy a home and then finding out that your new investment is a lemon. If you want to make sure that your home is up to par, here are 3 things to look out for during a home inspection:

Termites: Your home is made of wood. Termites eat wood. It's a bad combination. Termites come in clusters and they eat away - literally - at the structure of your home. A sign that you may have termites in your home is wood that looks rotten and breaks off easily. Check doorway frames, wooden siding, and behind baseboards to look for termite damage such as cracks or gaps in walls and floors. There is no quick fix for termites, and unfortunately, getting rid of them isn't cheap. However, once you spot the damage you can make sure they're gone for good. Still, you may need to determine if the home is worth the financial investment and risk of future infestations.

Cracks in the foundation: If you have ever watched a reality TV show about real estate, you know that damage in a home's foundation can definitely be a deal breaker when it comes to buying or selling a home. It's expensive to fix, especially since cracks in the foundation can cause damage in other areas of a home. If there are cracks in the walls or ceilings or if the floor is uneven and bubbling there could be a crack in the foundation of the home. Be aware of how much it can cost to fix this problem. Emecole sells a DIY Foundation Crack Repair kit, but my advice? Invest the money now to have a professional make sure that your foundation is in good condition because it will help you save money and avoid problems later.

A leaky roof: The cost to repair or replace a roof can be as much as $10,000 to $20,000 depending on the extent of the damage. Unfortunately, unless rain water is actually dripping into your home, there may be no obvious way to tell if your home has a leaky roof. During the home inspection, the inspector can climb onto the roof to assess its age and give an estimate of how long the shingles will last based on their current condition. A roof usually lasts approximately 20 years, so it's a good idea to ask the seller what year the roof was installed.

As you go through the process of buying your dream home, check for any potential red flags that could turn your purchase into a money pit. Termites, foundation cracks, and leaky roofs are all costly repairs, and if left unfixed, could be even costlier in the future. Should these issues become apparent during your inspection, discuss potential remedies with your home inspector and then perform a cost benefit analysis. Remember, you worked hard to get to this point and no matter how much you may love a home, make sure the numbers drive the decision to purchase and not just your heart.

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