A home is a complex technological artifact designs to function under enormous stress, in perfect security, for decades at a time.
With the sort of damage inflicted upon buildings by rain, wind, snow, sun, accident, and human error, it is no surprise that parts of the home will age, weather, or break.
This is especially common in areas with humid or wet weather, such as canal front homes. Therefore, every potential homeowner should be extremely careful when inspecting their prospective purchase.
Here is a short list of some areas that should be looked at in great detail.
Begin with the foundation, carefully noting any cracks in the masonry or settling. Study the patterns of drainage around the house, as poor drainage will lead directly to foundation problems and mold. Inspect the roof for leaks and missing shingles.
Now is the time to move to the utilities. Test all the faucets and spigots, both inside and out. Locate the power box and make sure it is accessible.
Examine the heater and the air conditioner, ascertaining that access to the air filters is unimpeded. Test the heater and the air conditioner.
Go into the attic and the crawl space under the house. Look closely for leaks or signs of water in either area.
Visit the property several times. Try to stop by during different weather events, especially rainstorms. Stop by at night. Get to know the land as much as you can before you spend a dollar on it. After all, you may very well spend years of your life in this edifice.
Finding the problems now can make the difference between a quick fix and a future catastrophe, and naturally the price may still be negotiable for a home that is not quite as well maintained as it originally seemed to be.