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The Most Common Home Defects and Solutions

Before purchasing a home, it's important to have an inspection done to detect some of the most common home defects. Many of the more common issues can be fixed without "breaking the bank," but it's critical that you know of them before buying the property. Here are some of the most prevalent, as well as solutions for fixing them.

Poor Drainage/Foundation and Basement Water Damage

Inspectors frequently find homes with wet basements. Moisture can cause damage to a home's foundation and structure. If poor drainage is found or there has been damage to the basement or foundation, it can often be corrected by simply regarding the ground outside the foundation wall or adding on a roof drainage system to the home. However, in some instances further remedies such as a major re-landscaping or ripping out and replacing damage done by the moisture may be the only solution. Most often the cost of the repairs caused by poor drainage range between $600 and $5,000, depending upon the extent of the damage.

Bad Electrical System

Many older homes have electrical systems which are out-of-date or not up to the current codes. Many such common problems include ungrounded outlets, aluminum wiring, or lack of GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters). These are all common yet potentially very hazardous and need to be fixed when purchasing a home. The average costs of repairing a faulty electrical system, depending upon the extent, range from approximately $20 to $1,500.

Roof Damage

Again, in many older homes, you may find damage to the roof due to lack of maintenance or improper installation. This very common problem may call for repairs as opposed to an entire roof replacement. If the roofing shingles are old, however, you will want to have them replaced. The cost to replace the shingles can be between $1,500 and $5,000, depending upon the quality of materials and the roofing company you choose.

Faulty Heating Systems

With older homes, faulty heating systems are common. This problem can become a very serious safety and health issue if not addressed. While it's a major expense and one that can run between $2,000 and $5,000, depending upon whether you're repairing the old system or replacing, the benefits will outweigh the cost.

Termite Damage and Dry Rot

If termite damage or dry rot is discover, you'll want to make sure they're taken care of immediately. If left alone, it will only cause further damage. The cost to repair damage can be as little as $50 and as much as $10,000, depending upon the amount of damage and where it is located.

Plumbing Problems

Plumbing problems are often common in older homes and they must be taken care of to make sure more damage takes place. It may involve simple leak or as much as replacing the full plumbing. The cost of fixing such plumbing issues can be as little as $300 and as much as $5,000.

When purchasing a home, it's very important to place inspection contingencies on your offer to purchase. This will protect you should you find any these common defects. If a defect is found, you'll have options to have the seller repair the problems or allow for money to be taken off the price due to the defect. The key point is that many common defects and damage can be repaired at an affordable cost.

Republished with Permission from
© 2008, HouseValues Inc.