1. Minor maintenance problems:
Poor overall maintenance usually leads to a large
range of problems that will require the new
homeowner's attention. These can include everything
from peeling paint to rotting decks.
2. Minor structural problems:
These problems are typical in older homes, and can
cover everything from cracked plaster to small
movements in the foundation. While they are not
likely to cause the house to fall down, they should
be corrected before they become more serious.
3. Grading/drainage problems:
In many parts of the United States this is a very
common problem. Improper grading and drainage can
often lead to damp or wet footings/basements.
Correction can range from installing new roof
gutters and downspouts to installing weeping tiles.
It should be noted that sometimes simply re-grading
the surrounding lawn to channel surface water away
from the house is sufficient.
4. Older/insufficient electrical system:
It is very common to find older homes with
undersized services, aluminum wiring, knob-and-tub
wiring or inadequate/poorly-renovated
distribution systems. It is important to have these
problems looked into since they are potentially
5. Older/poorly installed plumbing:
It is also very common to find plumbing problems in
older homes. Repairs can range from a simple
10-minute fix to expensive replacement. It is a good
idea to get an expert opinion.
6. Older/leaking roof:
On average an asphalt roof lasts 15 to 20 years. It
is difficult to estimate roof age accurately from
the ground unless the roof is either very new or
very close to the end of its lifespan. You also need
to know how many layers are under it in order to
determine if the roof needs to be completely
stripped before installing the new shingles.
7. Older heating/cooling system:
Older and poorly maintained heating/cooling systems
are inefficient and could pose a serious safety and
health risk. While replacement may seem expensive,
the newer more efficient systems do reduce
heating/cooling costs substantially, thus helping to
recoup your investment.
8. Poor ventilation:
Excessive moisture from un-vented bathrooms and
cooking areas can damage plaster, promote the growth
of mold and fungus, deteriorate windows and cause
allergic reactions. These problems need to be
corrected before the damage becomes excessive.
9. Excessive air leakage:
Poor weather stripping, badly fitted doors,
deteriorated caulking and poor attic seals all
contribute to a cold and drafty home. Repairs are
usually simple and inexpensive.
10. Environmental problems:
These can include asbestos, formaldehyde, leaking
underground oil tanks, nearby gas stations,
contaminated drinking water, lead-based paint and
radon gas. It is important to discuss these
potential hazards with a professional and arrange
for a specialized inspection if necessary.