- Musty smell in basement: Storage in the basement that is raised off the floor (such as books and boxes), stains, or efflorescence on walls could indicate water in the basement. A professional home inspector can assess potential causes. Simply improving the property grading or draining downspouts further away from the foundation could be a solution.
- Wall or ceiling stains: Any stain seen should be further evaluated to determine the cause and extent of any possible hidden damage. A professional home inspector will look for causes of the stain as well as test the stain using a moisture meter to determine whether or not the stain is active.
- Numerous extension cords: This could be a sign of an outdated electrical system. Today’s electrical needs have grown significantly and as a result the home could require an entire electrical upgrade to meet these new demands. A professional home inspector would be able to assess whether a new panel and wiring was needed or additional receptacles will be needed to be installed.
- Low water pressure or gurgling noise in a drain: If you turn on the faucet and the pressure is low, it could be evidence of a problem with older galvanized piping or inadequate piping. A professional home inspector will indicate the type of piping and estimated age and determine whether or not an entire new plumbing system is required. In many instances, sections of piping can be replaced on an as needed basis to correct the problem.
- Horizontal foundation cracking: Vertical cracks may be an indication of a serious structural concern – but usually if only fairly significant I size. But even a relatively small horizontal cracks can be a harbinger of major problems. A horizontal crack generally results from hydrostatic pressure against the home’s foundation. Correction will often involve excavation, drainage provisions as well as repairs to the wall itself. If horizontal cracking is evident, several structural engineers should be consulted to ascertain the extent of movement as well as corrective measures. Opinions do vary and with a structural element issue, it is best practice to get several opinions.
When purchasing a home, a buyer should never forego a professional home inspection. The tips above are provided as guidelines so that potential buyers can effectively and efficiently narrow down their options. Once a choice has been made, a professional home inspection by a qualified inspector will provide the potential buyer with an education regarding the condition of the major elements in the home enabling them to make an educated real estate decision and potentially negotiate repair needs.
Note: These tips are only general guidelines. Since each situation is different, contact a professional if you have questions about a specific issue. More home safety and maintenance information is available online at www.housemaster.com.
Originally published by HouseMaster on 11/22/13; modified by Lisa VanderLoo
Contact me for a list of reputable home inspectors in the Greater Grand Rapids area.