5 Often Ignored Things to Look at Before Buying a Home

Foundation, leaks and mold are just a few things to keep an eye out for.

Guest post by Apex Waterproofing Inc., a leader in basement and crawl waterproofing in Arlington, VA.

Although the aesthetics of a new home is a vitally important element to consider, there are a few more things that should be examined when viewing your prospective homes. While size of a home matters to many people, you should ensure that there are no underlying potential problems that can cost you a grave amount of money after you buy.  By making yourself aware of any possible unforeseen issues, you will be able to effectively work the financial details into your purchasing budget, hire the right help or even request a decreased sales purchase price, to cover the cost of these repairs.

1.     Foundation
Foundation cracks generally start small and continue to grow and expand over time if left untreated.  This occurs as a result of continuous water pressure on the basement walls, which can also spread to other areas of the home, such as your house’s frame, flooring, ceiling and walls.  The cracks can be effectively sealed with the appropriate products, if applied properly. It is important to hire a professional to assess the situation and take the correct measures. Concrete has variations in chemical properties, therefore there are no DIY cure-alls when it comes to the repair of your concrete.

Here are a few things that you can check manually, which have clear indications that you may need to hire a contractor:

  • Diagonal (stair-step) cracks in brick walls. Cracks may go through brick or mortar and vary in width
  • Sagging brick lines when sighting along a wall
  • Bowed or non-vertical walls
  • Separation of wood trim joints at corner
  • Separation of concrete driveway, patio, or sidewalk from foundation
  • Tilting of landscaping/retaining walls
  • Cracks in sheetrock walls or ceilings
  • Bowed or non-vertical walls
  • Bottom of wall separating from the floor
  • Cracks at wall corners
  • Cracks above doors
  • Sticking doors (warped door frames)
  • Sticking windows

2.     Floors
Issues with the floors may not always be noticeable.  Here are a few signs that there may be foundation damage that has begun to affect your floors as well:

  • Uneven floors, slopping or sagging floors
  • Cracks in ceramic or vinyl tiles or concrete floors
  • Hearing a cracking or popping sounds when you walk across the floor

Keep in mind, you can’t solely rely on the seller to disclose these problems because they too may be unaware. Hiring a qualified and accredited inspector is usually highly recommended by a real estate agent.

3.     Mold & Moisture
Keep your eyes open for any suggestions of water damage, such as mold, mildew, damp areas or evident leaks, which may be seeping through the cracks. Mold anywhere in your home can be potentially dangerous. If you don’t notice any visible mold and want to be sure that the mold isn’t hiding in the walls, hire a professional that specializes in mold detection and remediation.

4.     Leaks
Leaky walls may be hard to detect at first glance, especially in poorly lit areas of the home.  Small leaks can be more deadly than huge leaks that are easily noticed and can occur anywhere in the home.  Wall leaks would be best detected using a passive or active leak detection system, which a water leak detection company would have access to. It is necessary to find out why and where the leak is, to best address the issues before further damages transpire. Here are a few items that you may be able to check on your own to determine if you may need to hire a plumber after purchase:

  • Pressure release value of the hot water tank – listen for a hissing sounds
  • Toilets – remove the tank lid and listen for any sounds
  • Meter line – check the line that runs from the house to the meter

5.     Basements
Everyone knows that basements are the most common place for water, mold and structural issues.  Any issue that may be detected in the foundation, floors, walls or ceiling may require significant interior or exterior repair, such as excavation or maybe even a complete rebuild depending on the severity of the damage. To maintain your basement repairs and to stop water, mold and moisture from re-entering these areas, preventative measures like basement and/or crawl space waterproofing can be used. Having your basement and crawl space professionally waterproofed is superior to DIY options because these experts know how to meet the various structural needs through the use of advanced techniques and specialized tools.

For more great buyer resources, or to find a real estate professional in your area, visit coldwellbanker.com.


Header image courtesy of Flickr user ArmchairBuilder.com


Husband. Father. Socializer. Mets Lifer. TV Aficionado. Consumer Engager.

David Marine is the Chief Marketing Officer at Coldwell Banker, where he oversees the brand’s marketing efforts and content strategy including acting as managing editor for the Coldwell Banker blog and heading up video production efforts. While CMO by day, David runs a three ring circus at night as he is the father of 4 boys. He also happens to be married to Wonder Woman. True story.

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