Concerns for homebuyers & sellers

A friend, who is a home inspector shared these tips with me:

When buying or selling a home, people are often surprised to find how appropriate that old maxim, “the more things change, the more they remain the same” can be. That's because no matter the age, style, size or location of a house, there are common problems that are likely to turn up during a home inspection, so knowing what these potential defects are, and preparing to deal with them, is key to making the most out of the circumstance. Craig Hostland, RHI, of Pillar To Post, one of North America's leading providers of home inspection ser­vices, identifies these problems as the 10 most common – which are best understood prior to an offer being made on your home:

  1. Structural damage: As the foundation settles, it can knock doorways, walls and support beams out of alignment. The end result could make the entire house a safety hazard. Or foundation cracking may be merely cosmetic with no issues.
  2. Leaky roof: Roofs may leak due to poor construction or aging materials. The question is, will the subsequent repairs be minor (replacing shingles) or major (replacing the entire roof)?
  3. Faulty wiring: Older homes often need electrical upgrades, especially if you plan on installing a lot of electronic equipment (computers, exercise machines) or a pool or hot tub. When electrical circuits are not overloaded, the risk of fire is reduced.
  4. Defective heating system: If it's an older system, it can pay to upgrade to one that uses less energy and is more efficient. If you've got gas or oil heat, a carbon monoxide detector is advisable.
  5. Poor drainage: If the property is not properly graded, water may not run away from the house. In addition, gutters and down­spouts should be checked and replaced if necessary.
  6. Plumbing problems: Older homes may have faulty pipes made of galvanized steel -- popular in the 1940s which are prone to leakage and should probably be replaced with newer, more reliable materials. PB plastic piping used in the 80s and 90s has a stigma attached due to poor installation practices in the USA, but has stood the test of time in the Okanagan.
  7. Poor ventilation: Check the bathrooms. Without sufficient ventilation, moisture may have built up, potentially causing structural damage inside the walls.
  8. Water seepage: If water's coming in, be sure to add caulk and/or weather stripping to your shopping list. Water leaks can lead to mold, mildew and dry rot.
  9. Improper maintenance: Any did-it-themselves, non-profes­sional repairs could be a source of aggravation down the line.
  10. Hazardous materials:  Older homes may contain lead-­based paint, asbestos, carbon monoxide, radon gas or toxic molds. Any of these could eventually cause serious health problems.

For further information please contact us so we can put you in touch with a qualified home inspector.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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Tracy Head helps busy families get a head start on home ownership.

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