If you’re in the market for a house, you may be worried about whether it will need major repairs right away. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to tell when and where a house will experience its next problem.
An inspection can catch many issues, but inspectors usually focus on the basics and may not identify every problem. To help, you can learn about potential problems and ask to have them examined.
Here are three warnings signs to check before signing on the dotted line.
Some foundation issues are obvious, such as large cracks, crumbling mortar, and exposed rebar. Other issues are subtle but just as crucial. For example, a foundation problem could manifest in misaligned or sticking doors and windows, cracks in interior or exterior walls, cracking or sloping floors, and gaps around windows and doors, according to Arizona Foundation Solutions.
Damaged foundations don’t have to be a deal breaker. Depending on the type of problem and its severity, a contractor specializing in foundations can fix most cracked or sinking foundations. You can get a price quote for the work needed and then negotiate that into the final amount you offer on the home.
Checking out a new house is about more than walking through the rooms. You should also inspect spots you don’t normally see, like the crawlspace, where signs of problems may pop up. For instance, a crawlspace with standing water is a red flag, but even a damp basement or one with a musty smell can spell trouble.
Dampness can cause mold, which releases spores that eventually end up in the air inside your home. Dampness also attracts pests and can lead to rotting wooden support structures, which are expensive to repair. Damp air that infiltrates your interior is also harder to cool and heat, leading to higher energy bills.
If you find a house you love, but it has a wet crawlspace, all is not lost. You can have the space waterproofed, which will also give you a clean, safe area for extra storage.
High radon levels
Homes with crawlspaces are especially at risk for unhealthy levels of radon, although it is impossible to know whether radon is present without performing a test.
“Radon is an odorless gas produced by uranium decay in rocks and soil,” according to Arizona Foundation Solutions.
Radon is found in every state and is as likely to cause cancer as asbestos and tobacco smoke. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends you take action if radon in your home is detected at a measurement of 4 picocuries per liter of air.
Fortunately, a radon specialist needs only one hour to set up testing kits that will collect data on air quality. The kits sit for about 48 hours, after which the specialist will collect them and assess the results. If radon mitigation is needed, the specialist can explain the process for installing a simple system that will remove cancer-causing radon from the home.
If you’re concerned that your desired house is in an area at risk for radon, you can request a radon test be completed as part of your inspection.
For more information on home repair solutions before or after you’ve bought a house, visit FoundationRepairsAZ.com.