Shopping for a new house is an exciting experience, however, most of the time you won’t be buying a brand-new, never-lived-in-before house. Even if you do, it’s not going to be perfect.
For this reason, it’s important to pay attention to small details while you are shopping to avoid the frustrating experience of realizing you picked a “lemon.” A trusted Seattle home inspector, like Mountains to Sound Home Inspection, can help you look out for these warnings and help you make sure your money is well spent. Here are 4 warning signs your potential new home could be a lemon.
1. Foundation Cracks. The foundation is an essential part of your home. Check for hairline fractures or major cracks in the foundation, which might include the basement or crawl space area of the home. You can also look for cracks in the foundation around the perimeter of the house. If one side of a crack is displaced from the other, this could be a sign that settling is taking place and may be a sign of more serious structural issues. More commonly, small cracks typically aren’t structural issues, but can lead to water intrusion to the crawlspace or basement.
2. Water Damage. Water damage can happen when you least expect it and is often hidden from view. Worst of all, it is a costly repair because large areas can be affected before you even notice the problem. Look for water damage under sinks, in the attic, near the water heater, and in the basement. Water damage often manifests as stains, buckling floors or walls, and crumbling wood.
3. A Leaky or Sagging Roof. Take a good look at the roof from the interior and exterior of the home. Does it look structurally sound? Unattended leaks can compromise the structural integrity of the roof. Similarly, a sagging roof is a huge warning sign. It could mean there are too many layers of shingles or has faulty workmanship. As roof repairs can also be pricey, you will want to do your homework beforehand to make sure the structure is in proper condition based on the area, age of the house, and typical weather conditions.
4. Recalled Electrical Panel. When you are looking at a house you like, look at the electrical panel and see who the manufacturer is of the panel. If you see that it is built by either Zensco or Federal Pacific “Stab-Lok”, you’ll want to think hard about purchasing the home. Both of those panels are no longer made because their products were proven to be possible fire hazards with some statistics stating a fail rate as high as 60%. Replacing a panel can cost thousands of dollars.
These 4 reasons give you a little insider knowledge about what to look for when shopping for a house to avoid picking a lemon. As always, it’s always good practice to get a home inspection, old or new.