Are you searching for the perfect next home? Once you think you’ve found the place, take your time with the home inspection process. It may feel tedious and repetitive. However, the home inspection process is incredibly important to understanding the condition of your potential new home, especially when it comes to judging its structural condition. Look out for these signs of structural damage and know what to look for during a home inspection. Here are some of the most common signs of structural damage.
Importance of the Home Inspection
A home inspection is a crucial step in buying or selling a house. You should never skip or breeze through this step; home inspections help you discover damages, faulty appliances, and unsafe living conditions that might be present in your future home. Additionally, most lenders don’t even offer financing on a home if you haven’t completed an inspection. By completing a home inspection, you also have the flexibility to walk away from the purchase if your inspection does uncover any damages. Through this process, the existing damages won’t be your responsibility. But what sort of damages should you look out for during a home inspection?
Structural Damage To Check For
Now that you understand the importance of the home inspection process, here are some of the damages to look out for during an inspection. Be on alert for signs of structural damages; they can be the most dangerous to live with and the costliest to fix. Unless the home you’re considering is brand new, all homes will have some surface-level damages such as stains, scratches, and scuffs. What you should really be on the lookout for are these signs of structural damage.
Indoor and Outdoor Cracks
One of the first things to look for in a home inspection is visible cracks. Cracks in a home’s interior or exterior can be signs of different issues depending on their location and severity. Smaller cracks may simply be signs of wear and tear—or they could be the first signs of a structural problem.
If you notice horizontal or diagonal wall cracks, they could be signings of the home’s foundation settling. Always ask your home inspector or contractor about the severity of these cracks and whether they’ll need immediate attention. Also pay close attention to doors and windows in the home, as these are the weakest areas structurally and will be the first place to show cracks.
Uneven flooring is common in older homes, and it means a variety of things the place. Wood may bend slightly as a natural process, so it isn’t always a concern about structural integrity. However, if the wood is significantly bent or sloped, it could be another sign of the foundation settling. Settling is a natural process in newer homes—but settling over longer periods of time (like in older homes) can lead to structural damages. In older homes, evening out sloped floors may actually do more damage, so your contractor may recommend stabilizing the structure rather than fully evening it out.
The quality of a home’s roof can tell you a lot about its foundation. A quality roof is a crucial aspect of any home—and it’s also one of the most expensive areas to fix, so make sure to pay close attention during your inspection. Check shingle quality and coverage, damages, and overall structure. A sagging roof is a bad sign of serious structural damage. A roof may sag over time due to movement and shifting in the foundation, which is a big red flag. Watch for signs of a leaking roof as well, as water damage also affects foundation strength.
Termites are every prospective homeowner’s worst nightmare. Pest infestations like termites have the potential to cause thousands of dollars in damages to your home’s foundation. Termites can target any wooden surfaces around your home, including wood supports, frames, and flooring. You may not even be able to see the insects during your inspection because they’re so small. To gauge whether or not a home has termites, look for signs of timber rot, small holes in drywall, and hollow-sounding wood. The homeowner may need to hire a pest control service and make any necessary repairs.
Drainage and Foundation Issues
Improper water drainage has a huge effect on the condition of any home. During the inspection, make sure that the home has been using the proper drainage system so runoff water has a destination that isn’t anywhere near the home’s foundation. Pooled runoff water can seep into the ground and the home’s foundation, leading to water and structural damage. Also, note if the home is located on a hill or slope and if any erosion has occurred. Any trees that grow too close to the home’s foundation also pose a threat to the structure in the long term.
A common sign of water damage to a home’s foundation is water stains and mold. An inspector has the skill to notice these signs. Water damage can affect the structure of the home and the health of those in it. If you discover mold during a home inspection, turn the job over to a mold removal or restoration expert. For help with mold removal in the Hoffman Estates and greater Chicagoland area, reach out to us here at Aloha Restoration Co.
If you’re currently house hunting for a new place, make sure to note these signs of structural damage and what to look for during a home inspection. These signs are a great reminder to never skip your home inspection process because you may miss some of these red flags and telltale signs of structural damage. After all, you don’t want to get stuck with a home that requires thousands of dollars of repairs right after you settle on it.