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Buyer Beware: 14 Common Home Defects

Buying a home is a big commitment, so it's crucial to know what you're getting into before you buy. Here are the most common home defects that every buyer should watch out for.

Whether you're looking to buy a first home or a vacation home, it's a big investment. Buyers must look beyond beauty and examine the integrity of the elements that make up the home.
Rotted Wood
Wood that's exposed to moisture rots over time. Inspect wood in the kitchen and the bathroom, including a tub surround, toilet seat, countertop, and flooring. These spots are especially vulnerable to moisture and should be protected with a special paint or finish. Don't forget to check the exterior of the home, including the deck, eaves, and trim, for signs of rotting.
Inadequate Ventilation
If a home doesn't have proper ventilation, moisture cannot evaporate and will inevitably cause problems. Make sure the attic is properly ventilated to ensure that the roof has a long and functional life. Proper attic ventilation allows the intense heat of the sun to escape from the attic space and promote evaporation of moisture that would otherwise damage interior walls and structural elements.
Improper Maintenance of Appliances
Extend the life of appliances and other equipment by taking the simple, smart action of performing regular maintenance. This includes cleaning out the oven and stove top and cleaning filters in the airconditioning unit and extraction hoods.
Amateur Repairs
The longer a person has lived in their home, the more likely you'll find household repairs done by the homeowner or another amateur. Often these repairs, most commonly seen in the areas of plumbing and electrical, don't follow building regulations and are likely to fail or cause more damage down the road.
Poor Drainage
Inadequate drainage around the exterior of a home leads to water intrusion in basements, garages, crawl space and above damp proofing. This can compromise the foundation of a home and create mold problems.
Failing Heating & Cooling Systems
A failing or aging heating and cooling system in an older home will likely require costly maintenance. These systems could also emit carbon monoxide fumes harmful to your family. These old systems are less efficient than modern choices so have higher heating and cooling costs.
Environmental Hazards
Because there was limited technology and fewer building restrictions in the past, an older home may contain lead-based paint, high levels of carbon monoxide, radon, toxic moulds, or even asbestos. Any of these require professional testing and monitoring to ensure the safety of your family.
Plumbing Problems
The pipes under a sink can be made of incompatible materials that lead to dripping faucets, leaking fixtures, and slow drains. Address all plumbing problems before you buy a home to save yourself from a costly repair in the future.
Electrical Safety Issues
Dated or insufficient electrical systems can cause breaker tripping or, worse, a fire. Examples of electrical safety hazards to watch out for are ungrounded outlets, lack of earth leakage interupters, aluminum wiring, and faulty wiring in electrical panels or elsewhere in the house. These potentially hazardous defects must be taken seriously.
Controlling Water
Water intrusion can be one of the most destructive and expensive problems. Check for well-maintained gutters, downspouts, and proper grading around the foundation to direct water away from the home.
Loose or Missing Hand Rails
Over time, railings inside and outside of the home can become loose or go missing. Unstable or insecure railings aren't safe. Examine a home's porch, deck and stair railings, and landings to make sure they conform to building regulations.
Roof Problems
Roofing can contain old or damaged tiles or improper flashing. Should you buy a home with roof concerns, do not ignore it. Repair the roofing in order to prevent costly damage.
Storm Damage
No part of this country is impervious to storm damage. Damage from strong wind, tornado, or flood can plague a home for years. Inspect the roofing, walls and exterior railings for wind and water damage and defective repairs. Also, inspect the internal walls for water intrusion that could create potential mold problems.
Adapted from an article by  Better Homes and Gardens
A comprehensive home inspection by done by me is your best bet for discovering these defects and making a smart buying decision.
For your own protection find out about important information concerning clauses to include in your home purchasing contract!
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