When looking to purchase a property, one of the most common errors that potential buyers make is ignoring house fundamentals. They get caught up in the exterior beauty and spaciousness and fail to pay attention to the fine print (aka the boring stuff).
Purchasing a property is much more than finding terrific curb appeal. When looking around the inside, you should take care to check items beyond just the flooring, walls, and kitchen!
There are several focal points that we will discuss. Today’s topic, however, will deal specifically with water systems throughout a property. There are few things in a home that can drive up repair costs quite like water. Within this realm, there are a few key areas that you MUST check prior to making an offer on a property (or during the due diligence period).
Oh boy, if you have ever had the luxury of replacing one of these guys, you will understand the frustration! Not only will your bank account feel punished, but you are also putting your family at risk of serious injury in the case of malfunction.
The major issue with a faulty water heater is the damage it does to the surrounding structure. They are fairly easy to check when inspecting a home. The first thing you should do is check the dates on the label. When was it manufactured? What is the recommended lifespan of the heater? What is its energy efficiency rating?
A basic exterior check of the unit should be conducted next. Are there signs of rust or leaks on the unit? Are the fittings secure and functional? Be sure to check the water itself. Does it get hot, or just lukewarm? Finally, an inspection of the surrounding structures will be conducted to check for any signs of a leak. Does the floor or pedestal feel spongy? Is there any sign of rot? Is there an odor to the area? Checking these things now can save you a tremendous headache in the future. (***And trust me-THIS is why you want a professional home inspector-feeling overwhelmed yet?***)
You may be wondering why a toilet made this list. Well, it really isn’t the toilet itself. A toilet isn’t necessarily a major investment, but the surrounding structures are.
When a toilet leaks, the water is going to leak toward the ground. Gravity wins every time! When a leak is persistent over an extended period of time, the floor will inevitably begin to rot. This can lead to several issues such as floor warp, fungal growth, and even an overall compromising of the structural foundation. It is these issues that make this a major area to check.
Simply check the flooring around the toilet like you would for any similar area. Is it spongy? Are there signs of fungal growth? Does the floor bend when you put pressure on the toilet? If there are any issues at all, an inspection will be required to rule out structural damage. If the area is compromised, you can expect to make quite an investment to repair the problem, if it’s not negotiated with the seller prior to closing.
Under the sink
The most common area in a Charlotte home to detect a plumbing leak is under faucets and sinks. While this problem is relatively minor if fixed in a timely manner, it can grow to a more serious issue if ignored.
The problem with piping that is leaking under a sink is similar to the issues with a leaking toilet. The damage it can cause to the surrounding structures can require a complete overhaul of a cabinet, as well as the pipes themselves.
This issue shouldn’t be a deal breaker if there aren’t any signs of rot. Pipes can be replaced at a low cost (depending on the material), and a slow leak can be relatively simple to solve. If the current owner, however, has neglected to care for these areas, it may lead to costly repairs in the future. Fungal growth is an extremely common problem under sinks for the fact that it is largely closed off. ALWAYS visually check under sinks and faucets, and know that our professional home inspectors do the same.
This check is much more common than the others on this list. It is by far the single most important check you must make in regards to water systems.
While it is quite rare in the Charlotte area due to the relatively mild overall temperature swings, properties in this area do occasionally spring foundation leaks. If you notice any leaking from the foundation of a home, you should have this inspected IMMEDIATELY. If it does indeed prove to be a leak from a pipe going through the foundation, you are likely looking at a major repair.
While you are checking the foundation for moisture, also check the exterior walls of the home. There could be plumbing components leaking within the walls, or even signs of a faulty roof that will be present on the exterior. If water is showing up somewhere that it shouldn’t be, there is typically a (not so good) reason that it is there.
If you are feeling a bit worried that you may miss some critical indicators of a water leak, give us a call today and we can walk through a property with you. We are the team to turn to in Charlotte. We can allow you to comb through a property with confidence that any possible issue will be located and resolved. Come see us, TODAY!