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Home Defects - Do You Know The Red Flags When You See Them?

Aug 17, 2007
I always advise any home purchaser to get a professional home inspection. But, home inspections can be expensive! So why not get in the habit of looking for those tell-tale red flags for yourself anytime you are looking at property for sale.

Many times, you can tell if a home has been well taken care of as soon as you pull up in the driveway. Here is a quick overview of a few things you might want to keep in mind when viewing a home.

Exterior:

* Take a look at the roof. Does it have any discoloration? This can mean poor attic ventilation or mold. What about the shingles? Are they laying flat or are they curled?

* How about the landscaping? Has it been well maintained? This might indicate whether the current owner has pride in ownership.

* Do you see splash blocks under the downspouts? If not, water has likely been running under the house or into the crawl space every time it rains. Water is one of the worst enemies a house can have.

* Check the gutters. Do you see any rust spots? This could indicate water leaks and/or damage.

* Do you notice any cracks or lifting in the concrete driveway? Look for the cause. It might be tree roots coming up or a possible water line leak. Either one should have a closer look.

* Take a look at the brick, especially on the corners. Do you see cracks in the brick or mortar joints? Think foundation problems!

* What about any discoloration around the foundation? Water problems again.

* Check for any wood that is making contact with dirt. This is a termite picnic waiting to happen (if it hasn't already).

* Are you aware that a termite inspection may not cover landscape timbers? They can be full of termites, not not be shown on the report.

* Do you see any firewood up against the house? Again, termites! Dirt, wood and water are termite favorites.

Interior:

* Do you smell a musty odor when you walk into the house? This could indicate moisture problems or mold.

* Don't let mini blinds stand in your way. Check out the windows. Do you see any moisture in the glass. This indicates a broken seal and that window will have to be replaced.

* What about cracks in the walls, especially around door or window frames? This could indicate foundation or settling problems.

* Always look for any discoloration on walls, ceilings and vinyl floors. Again, water problems!

* Check around sinks, toilets and dishwashers. That soft mushy feeling under your feet means putting in a new floor.

* Be sure to open and close the garage door several times. And also check for a detector that would protect a child from danger.

* Take a look at the circuit breaker box. You don't have to be an electrician to tell whether the box looks neat and organized...or if there are wires everywhere.

* If the home has a basement, look carefully for any signs of water stains on the concrete block. This water problem is very hard to correct.

* Be aware of possible attempts to cover problems with new paint, etc. This doesn't happen often, but if in doubt, check it out further.

These are just a few red flags to watch out for. Never be afraid to ask questions. And always be prepared to walk away if you don't get the right answers! When you feel comfortable enough to make an offer, don't forget to include a professional home inspection in the contract.
About the Author
Pam Rumley is a veteran real estate broker in the Nashville, TN area. She is a true Exclusive Buyer's Agent. There is never a conflict of interest regarding your real estate transaction. You can be assured of receiving 100% of her attention and loyalty - 100% of the time.

For more information, visit her comprehensive website, www.NashvilleRealEstateAuthority.com
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