6 Common Housing Problems that Spook Buyers

Potential home buyers with lots of homes to choose from can be easily spooked by disclosures and the results of property inspections — even when the shortcomings are typical for homes of a certain age.

Here are six common issues that trouble buyers and some factors to weigh:

1. Water damage. Evidence of water damage frightens buyers, but all water damage isn’t serious. Minor leaks generally cost no more than a few hundred to repair. Get an estimate.

2. Missing permits. Ask the home inspector if the work was done well and meets code requirements, even though a permit wasn’t issued.

3. Code violations. How expensive is the repair? Ungrounded electrical outlets are common in old houses and easily fixed.

4. Cracks in the garage floor. Ask the inspector whether these cracks suggest other related problems. Generally these don’t affect the structure of a home.

5. Termites. Termites and termite damage are very common in many parts of the country. It’s important to get rid of them and to get a clear sense of how bad the damage is.

6. Foundation cracks and other foundation issues. Older homes often have cracks in the foundation. Get an expert to inspect the problem and estimate — what if anything — needs to be done.

Source: The Mercury News, Margaret Steen (10/19/07)