5 inspection red flags that can cost big bucks if not addressed before the closing.

Before closing on your home, it’s important that you be made aware of any possible problems that either you or the seller will need to fix. An inspection is your chance to walk through the home with a trusted professional who can point out issues with the property. In Greenwich and the surrounding areas there are a number of great inspectors that your agent can recommend. Just remember, whenever receiving a referral from an agent there should be a minimum of three to avoid any conflict of Interest.

Sometimes, inspection report will only list some minor repairs needed to get the home into great shape. In other cases though, you may find yourself facing some serious problems. If you’re in love with the home, you can always try to negotiate with the seller to pay for the repairs or reduce the price of the property.

1. Foundation Problems

One of the things your inspector will evaluate is the foundation of the home. When something’s wrong with the home’s foundation the cost to repair can sometimes be in the thousands. If any damage or observed issues arise its best to bring in a builder to get an estimate on what the repairs will cost. You’ll need hard evidence to show the owner and you can assume they will get their own estimate as well.

2. Old Roof

The roof is one of the most important elements to a home as it protects the rest of the house from weather, energy loss, water damage, and a number of other issues. The average lifespan of a roof depends on the material it’s made of, but an asphalt roof typically lasts between 20 to 30 years.

There are some key signs your inspector will look out for that indicate that the roof is nearing the end of its lifespan. Some examples are water stains or dark streaks, cracked or curling shingles, and moss growth. Also, expect them to check the gutters as well. A clogged gutter can lead to water buildup that can overflow onto the roof or create an ice dam in the winter that will also lead to water penetrating the roof.

3. Major Plumbing Problems

While some plumbing issues are quick fixes, major repairs or replacements to plumbing systems can be costly. Some of the most common signs of a broken or outdated plumbing system include water pressure issues, poor heat distribution for hot water or steam based heating, and leaky pipes which can lead to mildew and mold problems. Your inspector will try to best assess the age of any furnace, water heater or any other system to give you an idea of how much time you have before it will need replacing. If mold presence is suspected a separate mold inspection and test can be ordered by your inspector for an added cost.

4. Old Electrical Systems

Like the plumbing system, repairing or replacing the electrical system in a house is costly and time consuming. Wiring systems are sometimes disorganized, especially in older homes, which makes it difficult for electricians to make adjustments. Depending on the size of the home, a new electrical system can cost in the thousands. More importantly, a faulty electrical system can be a serious fire hazard. Exposed wires, flickering lights, faulty switches and discoloration around electrical outlets can all be signs that something is wrong with the electrical system. Greenwich has strict electrical codes that electricians must follow. Your inspector should be aware of these codes as well and will look for any violations.

5. Gradient Sloping Toward the Home

Although the grading around your home isn’t a structural component or system within the house, it can still create problems. Water damage can be devastating for the foundation and structure of your home, especially if it goes unnoticed for a long time. If the gradient slopes toward your home instead of away, it’s a sign that water could drain into your home and affect its foundation.

During your inspection, the inspector should examine the perimeter of the home to look for potential problems with water drainage. You can fix gradient problems by adding dirt around the foundation and leading downspout gutters away from the home.

The last thing you want to do after you buy a home is spend thousands of dollars on repairs. If your inspection reveals any problems you’ll have to decide with your agent how best to address them, whether it’s negotiating with the seller on price or asking to have the issues taken care of before closing. Whatever you decide, what’s most important is that you are fully informed about the well-being of the home before you close.