When you are planning to buy a home, especially an older home, it is necessary to hire a professional and an experienced home inspector for proper inspection of the property. His inspection reports will form the basis of your decision whether to buy the property or not. The home inspector’s job is to inspect each and every corner of the home right from the wiring and plumbing to the ceiling, roofs and framework of the home. His job is to inspect the structures and components of the home and determine if there is a potential problem. They report all the problems to the concerned person and also recommend further examination of the property. While inspecting older homes, a home inspector will definitely come across common problems which are:
1. Defective plumbing: Defective plumbing is the most common problem in older homes. The home inspector looks for possible leakages or clogging in the pipelines. Leakages can be detected very quickly. He checks the pressure of water by turning the faucets on. He checks for any discoloration of water when the faucets are turned on which rules out the possibility of rusted pipelines.
2. Wet cellar: A wet cellar produces mildew odor which cannot be masked and the home inspector detects this problem very quickly and easily. He inspects the walls and floor for any white residue which is a common problem in wet basement.
3. Unsafe or outdated electrical system: Electrical systems installed in older homes are obviously not advanced and that can pose a major threat later. The home inspector checks for problems like insufficient distribution system, aluminum wiring etc. An over fused electrical circuit draws more current which may go beyond the allowed limit, thus causing fire hazard. Hence replacing the fuse panel with a circuit panel is strongly recommended.
4. Old heating and cooling systems: Old heating and cooling systems can pose health and safety risks. A home inspector detects this common problem in older home and recommends replacing it after determining the age of the furnace, which is normally 15 to 20 years. Moreover, old heating systems give out carbon monoxide gas which is poisonous if inhaled. These are irreparable and hence must be changed.
5. Structural problems: Structural problems are quite common in older homes, for example, cracked plaster or improper foundation. Though it can be ignored, but can become major as time passes by.
6. Roof leakage: Asphalt shingles last for 15 to 20 years and leaky roofs are the sign of wear out of asphalt roof. Heavy storm can cause mechanical damage which can cause the roof to leak too. Hence, installing new roof is recommended, but before that you need to determine the number of shingles and layers beneath need replacing.
7. Bad ventilation: Poor ventilation in kitchen and bathrooms can breed fungus and mold. The air within the home gets infected and can cause serious allergic reactions. Mold damages the household furniture and plaster.
8. Air leaks: Poor door fittings, low quality attic seals and weather strips old caulking etc. can cause air leaks making the home cold and drafty. The repairs can be done easily without spending much.
9. Drainage problem: This is the most common problem seen in almost every old home. Clogged drains can cause serious health issues. Moreover the sewage odor is unbearable. This problem can be resolved by re-installation of new sewage outlets and downspouts draining water directly away from the house.
10. Basic safety features: Protection of home is of prime importance and the home inspector with check the basic security features of the old home. Strong security gates, locks on doors and windows, smoke detectors, strong patio doors with locks and high and strong fencing walls must be present in older homes. Ask the professional home inspector if more safety features are required for increased security.