When shopping for a home, remember first and foremost that you are purchasing a structure. Try not to allow real estate “bling” (i.e. fancy finishes and other cosmetic details), to blind you to more important problems that can be very expensive and time-intensive to repair.
Some things to look for include:
Dark or discolored floor joists.
Cracks in the foundation.
Small “tubes” that appear to be made of mud.
Metal jacks; these may be a sign that a floor has experienced sagging.
Leaking pipes. Water, though slower, can be more destructive than fire.
When in the attic, things to look for include:
Dark or discolored rafters.
Wet spots on the roof sheathing, rafters, or attic floor.
On the exterior of the home, look for:
Damaged, “flipped-up” or puckered roof shingles.
Discolored brick masonry joints.
Before purchasing any home, be sure to have it inspected by a reputable home inspector. These valuable professionals may be able to identify a property’s problems—before they become your problems.