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Buying a house is a serious business. Whether it is a recently built estate or a modest fixer-upper, getting a lowdown on your potential home is of great importance. A qualified home inspector is always your best bet for getting the home inspected before buying but you can also have a good understanding as to what to look out for. A little snooping around and bringing out the Sherlock Holmes in you won’t harm anyone but will help you in your decision about the home you want to buy.

A lot of inspectors feel that water is the main devil that causes the maximum problems, as it weakens the foundation, dampens the wall and causes rot and decay. Here are some problems that you have to check when you go for a resale home. From testing the shower, to scooping out how a home’s storage measures up, here are some tips to sleuth out the important features that you won’t find on the listing.

Play the private eye and do a few drive-by. Try to figure out the neighborhood, the people living there. Once you have stalked the place in a vehicle try doing the rounds on foot. Scope out the nearest public transportation stations. See the conditions of the sidewalks, and public plantings. Then check and snoop around for the following things:

1) Faulty Wiring- Worn or outdated systems and homeowner additions are the common defects, especially in older homes. Electrical system problems are safety related and hence need immediate attention.

2) Roof Problems- Improperly installed and aged surfaces occur frequently. We also see poorly installed or missing flashing at transition areas. Repairs may be simple or the entire roof may need repairing. So following up any roofing problem with a roofer is important.

3) Heating/Cooling System Defects- Improper installation, inadequate maintenance and aged components are a problem.

4) Plumbing Issues- The most common defects are leaking, outdated or problematic systems. Repairs can often be made but at times total replacement is necessary and the only solution.

5) Inadequate Insulation and Ventilation in the Attic- Poor insulation and ventilation cause increase in the utility cost and lack of occupant comfort.

6) Whole House is Poorly Maintained- Deferred maintenance represents a potential high cost to bring the house back into a livable condition. If the home owner did not care for the home someone will have to later on.

7) Poor Drainage around the Structure- Water needs to drain away from the structure near the perimeter to prevent intrusion of water into the structure. See that the roof gutters and water spouts are in proper workable condition.

8) Air and Water Penetrating the Cracks and Window Perimeters- Structure cracks and separations at the windows can allow water to penetrate into the cavities, which is conducive to mold growth.

9) Minor Structural Damage- Cuts and trusses are often seen in attic cavities and we also see structural components missing. Usually repairs are needed.

10) Potential Environmental Problems- Mold growth represents the latest environmental scare. Homebuyers should consider a complete environmental evaluation before going in for the sale.

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