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Top 10 Concerns for Home Buyers and Sellers

When buying or selling a home, people are often surprised to find how appropriate an 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.

Knowing what these potential defects are, and preparing to deal with them, is key to making the most of the buying experience.  

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.

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/cooling 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 polybutylene-popular in the 1970s till the mid-1990s-which are prone to leakage and should probably be replaced with newer, more reliable materials. 

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, nonprofessional 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.  

Having a home inspection can help a buyer find out about potential 
maintenance problems and repair bills.