6 Signs That Could Mean Expensive Trouble In Any Resale Home
Cracks, bulges, stains, odors, squeaks, and tilting are easy to spot and can mean a little or a lot of trouble in any home.
The first sign of trouble that you should look for is in the foundation.
You can do this by looking around the outside of the home. If you can see cracks, bulges, mold, wood rot, or a tilt there may be severe problems with the foundation. Bearing in mind that all concrete and asphalt will crack as it settles, hairline cracks will be acceptable, anything larger is not. These things could mean a large foundation settlement because of soil instability or that the builder didn't use proper structural reinforcements indicating potentially slipshod work throughout the home.
You'll have to look high to see the second sign.
Are shingles rough, broken, curled, bubbled, warped, or split? Are there rotted eaves and downspouts? These things could indicate a leaky roof, or one that will need to be replaced in short order. Make sure to look for old, leaking gutters that may contribute to a wet basement.
The third sign of trouble hits you when you walk in the door.
How does it smell? If it smells like Fluffy or last night's dinner -- that can be fixed by carpet cleaning and a little time and fresh air. A moldy or damp smell could suggest mold in basement or closets, which would require more work to remove.
You'll feel the fourth sign of trouble as you walk around inside the house.
Are you walking on a slant? Do the floors squeak when you step down? Can you feel or see lumps, breaks, or cracks? As you look at the joining of the floors and walls, is there a separation? These things can indicate a problem with the sub-flooring or an underlying foundation condition. Some setting is to be expected in most older homes.
Look to the walls and ceilings for the fifth sign of trouble.
Walls that are cracked can indicate a problem with the foundation particularly around doors, windows, and ceilings. The cracking, peeling, and bubbling of paint can indicate mold or moisture in the walls or above the ceiling. Is there a round-shaped discoloration? Is there any bubbling, cracking, or bowing in the drywall or paint? All of these things can indicate the presence of moisture -- any sort of water leak. Depending on how big and how long the leak has been there, the damage can be as little as discoloration or as much as rotten framing timber.
The sixth sign is in the bathroom.
Take the chance to flush each toilet and run water in each sink. If the water pressure is overly low, there could be corroded galvanized plumbing within the house OR an old 1/2" water service leading in from the street. Check the shower for missing grout or loose fixtures which could allow moisture to infiltrate behind the tile or tub surround.
These six things are easy to spot, but a professional home inspector is the perfect person to have for this job.