Purchasing a home is a huge investment and a significant life decision. It’s a place where you and your family will live for years — perhaps even decades.
When shopping for your dream home, many property buyers search for specific features like a beautiful yard or a large living room. Wise buyers, however, should add one more feature in their checklist: A solid foundation.
Before you buy that house and apply for a home mortgage, you need to take a good look at the home you want to purchase. Some properties on sale have signs of disrepair.
Here are four red flags that point to a structural problem in a house:
Bulging and Bowing Walls
The internal support structure of the house might be too weak or inadequate if you come across walls that are bulging or curving. This can be due to walls that are too thin to support the weight of the upper floor or ceiling. Another possible cause is the vibration from heavy traffic or construction work. If you want to stay in this kind of house safely, you’ll have to reinforce the beams, walls, and partitions, which costs a lot of money.
Masonry and foundation cracks are typical in homes. They develop over time when the materials swell or shrink from seasonal temperature changes. Although minor hairline cracks here and there are okay, others are a huge red flag. When inspecting a home, be on the lookout for these problems:
- Cracks with Stair-Step Pattern – This is often due to a clogged gutter applying pressure onto a wall. This is a red flag when the crack is wider than a quarter of an inch.
- Diagonal Cracks – You’ll usually find them on the tops of windows or the corners of door frames. This might indicate that the footings holding up the house might be sinking.
- Horizontal Cracks – This structural damage is serious. This signals that moisture is making its way into a house’s foundation. The moisture can expand when it freezes and contract when it thaws. As a result, it weakens the property’s structural integrity. Over time, it could break major sections of a foundation.
Tiny Holes in Wood or Drywall
The small spots you see on the walls aren’t a design choice. They’re a home safety issue.
The holes might point to an active termite infestation. These spots appear when flying termites create exit holes to enable their young critters to escape. When you see this structural issue, think twice about buying this house.
Unless you’re looking for a disco house, you might want to stay away from homes with flickering light fixtures. This can be a sign that the property wiring isn’t sufficient for the amount of energy needed to illuminate the house. The circuits might also be loose. Regardless of the problem, you’ll want the property owner to have his/her wires or circuits fixed before putting the home out on the market.
These are four structural problems you should check whenever you’re browsing homes. When shopping for homes, don’t simply focus on aesthetic features. Consider safety, as well. After all, you and your family will want a house that will stay in good shape for years to come.