Problems with Home when Buying

No home is flawless, but certain physical problems can be expensive.  Here are the Top Problems with Home when Buying to Watch for:

  • Worn roofs. Look for broken, missing or buckled shingles.  Look for raised nail heads. Look at the texture of the shingle to see if they still have granuals,  as well as water spots on ceilings.Towards the end of their life span composition shingles become brittle and curled (especially the areas of the roof most exposed to the sun), and the granules on the surface begin to disappear in earnest. You’ll know you need a new roof if shingles break when they’re handled (mainly when they’re cool or wet). Composition shingles in good condition are pliable and will bend some, particularly when it’s warm. As your composition shingle roof ages you’ll see bits of roof material and granules accumulating in the driveway and gutters more and more, especially after a storm. (By the way, these shingle granules will ‘shed’ naturally for a few weeks with a brand new roof; there’s no reason to worry.) The hot Florida sun does a number on roofs.  Depending on the type of shingles used (three tab or architectural)  the life of a roof in Florida is usually shorter than the label on the side of the shingles.  A traditional rule of thumb is that three tab shingles will last about 10 years and architectural shingles will last about 15 years.  But, you will want a licensed roofer to investigate the roof to make sure that there are no leaks or issues.  They can also give you an idea of the time frame left on the roof. 
  • Air Conditioning Unit.  Not cooling properly?  Check the age of the unit – inside and outside. Common problems with existing air conditioners result from faulty installation, poor service procedures, and inadequate maintenance. Improper installation of a central air conditioner can result in leaky ducts and low airflow. Many times, the refrigerant charge (the amount of refrigerant in the system) does not match the manufacturer’s specifications. If proper refrigerant charging is not performed during installation, the performance and efficiency of the unit is impaired. Unqualified service technicians often fail to find refrigerant charging problems or even worsen existing problems by adding refrigerant to a system that is already full.Check our Vendor List for a list of recommended good ones.  
  • Water leaksLook for stains on ceilings and near thebaseboards, especially under windows, under the air conditioning unit in atwo story unit with upper floor unit, under bathrooms in atwo story unit.   Water leaks can come from various sources.  Sometimes the issuemay be a simple and easy to repair while other issues could be a complete structural disaster.  Florida heat can quickly lead to other damages to wet wood such as termites and mold.  Some inspectors usethermographic guns in their inspections to detect water leaks as well as other issues such as termites. 
  • Shifting foundations. Look for large cracks along the home’s foundation.  It is a good idea to look around the entire exterior of the home for cracks that lead up the side of the home. 
  • Drainage. Look for standing water, either aroundthe foundation of the home of in the yard.  During the peak rainy season in Florida, a property may receive rainon a daily basis. Sitting water on the property can lead to structural damage.  Water that sits in the yard and around the home also can lead to homes for mosquitos making for an itchy backyard barbecue. 
  • Termites. Look for weakened or grooved wood, especially near ground level. A termite inspection is a good idea. Termitescan be hard to spot; and they can do extensive damage to a home. 
  • Inadequate wiring. Look for antiquated fuse boxes, extension cords (indicating insufficient outlets), and outlets without a place toplug in the grounding prong.  Does the home have a Federal Pacific electrical panel?  These electrical panels were one of the most common type between the 1950’s and 1980’s, yet many of these unitshave been discoveredto be a fire hazard.  Some insurance companies will not insure a home if it has a Federal Pacific box.The replacement of these boxes can cost between $1000 and $2000 on average. Look for stains on ceilings and near thebaseboards, especially under windows, under the air conditioning unit in atwo story unit with upper floor unit, under bathrooms in atwo story unit.   Water leaks can come from various sources.  Sometimes the issuemay be a simple and easy to repair while other issues could be a complete structural disaster.  Florida heat can quickly lead to other damages to wet wood such as termites and mold.  Some inspectors usethermographic guns in their inspections to detect water leaks as well as other issues such as termites. 
  • Plumbing problems. Very low water pressure? ,Does the home have polybutylene piping? Polybutylene (PB) was a plastic manufactured between 1978 and mid-1995 for use as piping in home plumbing systems. It was inexpensive and offered plenty of advantages over other materials, such as flexibility, ease of installation, resistance to freezing. Pipes made from polybutylene were installed in up to 10 million homes in the Unites States during that period. Despite its strengths, production was ceased in mid-1996 after scores of allegations surfaced claiming that polybutylene pipes were rupturing and causing property damage. In the homes that still contain this material, homeowners must either pay to have the pipes replaced or risk a potentially expensive plumbing failure. 

Do you need an inspector?  Estimate for repairs.  Get a recommended professional for those items that you need help with.