Buying a home can be an exciting adventure . . . but it can also be nerve-wracking. Buyers who’ve found the perfect home and are ready to shell out hundreds of thousands of dollars are usually nervous when it comes time for the inspection. They just don’t know what the inspection will reveal – or whether it will uncover all the major problems that may cost them a ton of money down the road. To help set your mind at ease, here are 5 red flags to look for after a Princeton home inspection.
1. Tell-Tale Cracks
Most homes at least a few years old have a crack or two in the walls and maybe ceiling. These usually aren’t a great concern. There are, however, cracks that can indicate bigger problems, and you need to be on the lookout for these after a Princeton home inspection.
“Cracks in a property’s walls and ceilings can indicate problems with the home’s foundations. This means the home may have warped from its initial construction shape, and while sometimes harmless, other times it has the potential to cause severe costly issues.”
Here’s what to keep in mind and look for . . .
“Look for cracks around windows, along ceilings, walls, and where walls join ceilings. You’ll also want to check that doors open and close easily – if a door is jamming or swinging wildly within its frame, you could have a foundation fault on your hands. . . . If you find a crack in a wall, keep in mind that not all cracks are worthy of worry. Narrow vertical cracks are often caused by minor settling and normal shrinkage and are not structural defects – especially if the home is old, then this is to be expected. Horizontal cracks on the other hand are much more of a concern than vertical cracks.”
2. Electrical Problems
Any evidence of electrical problems turned up during a home inspection should also be a concern. Not only can this entail costly repairs (if, for example, you have to hire an electrician to re-wire the house), but can also pose a grave fire danger.
Here some of the things you need to look for yourself and in the inspection report:
- Electrical outlets warm to the touch
- Lights that flicker and dim
- Circuit breakers tripping when appliances are turned on
- Lights dim when appliances are turned on
- Buzzing/crackling sounds when switches are turned on
- Frayed or chewed wiring
3. Grading and Drainage Issues
Though it’s often overlooked, you should also be on the lookout for grading and drainage issues revealed by the home inspection.
The grade or slope of the yard hugely affects how well water drains after rain or when the snow melts. So if the property doesn’t properly slope away from the home, you may be inviting a soggy yard at best and water damage in the home at worst. And even if the property seems to be properly graded, there still may be low spots where water can pool and mosquitoes can breed.
Some of the grading and drainage red flags are:
- A completely flat yard without any slope
- Property that drains toward the house
- Moist areas and puddles
- Patches of dead grass
- Moist soil near and around the home
4. Mold and Mildew
As we’ve come to realize in the last few years, mold and mildew can pose some grave health hazards. And mold abatement can be a lengthy and very costly process, so be sure to be alert for this red flag during and after a Princeton home inspection.
If the mold results from a simple lack of cleaning, then it may not be much of a concern. But if it’s the result of other problems such as poor ventilation, accumulating moisture, or roof leaks, that’s a red flag.
The tell-tale signs of mold damage include:
- Large patches of black mold
- A discernible mold odor
- Bathrooms lacking vent fans and/or widows
- Areas of patchy/peeling paint
5. Signs of Pests
Many homes have a few pests, especially in rural areas, but you certainly don’t want a large infestation, especially termites that can eventually cause structural damage. Full-scale pest extermination is usually expensive and will likely be ongoing for a while.
So pay attention to the report after the home inspection, being alert for these pest red flags:
- Any powdery substance around door frames, windows, or counters
- A musty smell
- Scraping, grinding, buzzing, or tapping sounds (usually within walls)
- Dead or damaged plants, grass, and/or trees
- Insect droppings or parts both inside and outside the house
- Weak or spongy areas in walls and floors
A Princeton Agent: The Best Insurance
These are the top red flags to be aware of, but there are in fact more. So you may need your Princeton agent’s assistance in reading the inspection report to make sure you don’t miss any. Your agent will know what to look for and when to pass on a house or renegotiate with the seller. To discover more about red flags to look for after a Princeton home inspection, contact us today at (609) 436-5221.