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Checklist for Buying a Home
I had a client who called saying that his bath tub just fallen through the floor in his new home (new to him). Mold had eaten away the floor from the crawlspace up. The seller had placed a few 4x4s under the floor to hold everything up long enough to sell the house and get out of town.
I asked if he had the house inspected before he bought it. He said, "no, was that important?"
Even if you do get a home inspector, look for these things yourself. Some home inspectors don't look for these items. Some never go into the house.
The number one problem faced by new homeowners is mold. You read about it in the news. Every week I get a call from an attorney gathering info for a lawsuit against a home seller and their real estate agent. The topic is always mold.
You can get inexpensive mold test kits at http://www.tennesseemold.com
The number one cause of mold in a home is improperly installed or damaged gutters. They allow water to pour into the walls. And water causes damaging mold to develop inside the walls. Make sure the gutters are level and aren't bent.
Mud on walls
This goes back to gutters. If the gutters are undersized, excess water pours over the edges of the gutters and onto the ground. This splashes mud against the outside walls. BUT the excess water also seeps into the foundation of the house.
Plants too close
The new owner, of course, can correct this, but did the previous owner allow the plants to trap moisture in the walls? The damage from this moisture may already be there waiting with costly repairs. There should be at least 18 inches between the plants and the outside walls.
These vents are designed to let air flow through crawlspaces. This house may not have a crawlspace. But if it does, check the vents. Do they open and close? Some builders slop concrete on them and they are permanently open or closed. Potential mold and wood rot problems can result.
A sump pump is there to remove water from your basement. If there is a sump pump, then there has been excess water in the past. To work, a sump pump needs some water in it anyway. This standing water can lead to mold and termites. Avoid houses with sump pumps.
Does the yard allow water to flow into the house?
Blown in insulation
Most blown in insulation is cellulose or ground up mold food (wood). Yes that deadly chemical they put in it will stop mold for a few years but not forever. And even the cellulose free insulation sends particles into the air that we can breathe. This is a major problem according to lung surgeons.
Do attic vents work?
Is the attic hot? Just because the attic has vents doesn't mean they work. Motors rust or burn a fuse.
Crusty stuff on basement walls
If you see crusty white stuff on the block in the basement, it means long-term water problems. That white stuff is minerals deposited over time by drying moisture. RUN away FAST!
Water spots on ceiling.
These always hold mold. You only have 48 hours after a leak before mold begins to grow. After that drying won't help.
By all means, hire a home inspector. Don't use a home inspector recommended by the seller or their agent. If an inspector says something bad about a house, they don't get future referrals from the agent. And make sure the inspector goes INSIDE the house.
Sounds stupid but I have been in lawsuits where the inspector did all his work from the yard or even worse, from his car.
For 30 years, Dr Graham has been helping people treat and prevent disease by showing them how to live in a clean environment.
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