Home defects can haunt a buyer long after moving into their home. We can’t all buy a brand new home, and the cost of buying land and hiring a home builder to build a new home is substantially more than buying an existing home, but an existing home may be on the perfect piece of land in the perfect location. Buying a used home is what most of us choose to do. But an older home can have home defects of various kinds. Here are a few home defects to watch for when you are looking at homes.
Latent Home Defects
The home in this photo was built in 1976, and it is in a perfect location at the end of a private drive and with a stunning mountain view. Notice the messy front concrete step. Six months after the buyer moved into this home, he realized how slippery the tile was on the front step, and there was some kind of white sticky stuff oozing up from between the tiles. When he grabbed one of the tiles, it came up with a slight lift. This was one of many projects done by the previous owner.
A latent defect exists when a homeowner, who has no clue how to do construction work, does his own work on a home and disguises it with an apparent normal appearance. These kinds of latent defects are hard, if not impossible, to recognize when you are looking at homes.
Home Defects Multiply
If a homeowner did a lot of things cheaply or without proper knowledge during the many years he lived in a home, you might not discover all the problems until you’ve been living in the home for the first few months to a year. Light switches in the wrong places, a bathroom shower with no exhaust fan at all, an electrical panel that needs upgrading, cabinetry that doesn’t fit right, soffits that need stronger wire screens because the woodpecker broke through, and a dozen little weird things that were not done right.
Build a brand new home and you won’t have to deal with home defects from a previous owner who should have hired licensed contractors but did not. On the other hand, I wouldn’t trade my 1976 used home for a new home across town. You see I’m the buyer who bought the home in this photo, and I love it with all my heart, despite the many little problems.
I recommend hiring a good home inspector, but having done that, you still need to pay attention to the kinds of defects I’m writing about, because most home inspectors miss a lot of the common home defects that will annoy you later.
Last Updated on May 6, 2016 by Chuck Marunde