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Buying a home is a major decision in an individual’s life. With prices averaging just under $230,000, it’s an expensive purchase that leaves little room for error. Prospective buyers are often prepared to check for or inquire about structural issues such as roof damage and rotten wood or problems with the house’s electrical wiring and plumbing system. There are other red flags, however, that sometimes escape a buyer’s scrutiny. Here are some potential problems that you should investigate before purchasing a new house.

Insects

Infestations of insects may not be outwardly noticeable, but the damage they cause can be severe. Wood-boring insects such as termites and some species of ants and beetles destroy wood, putting a home’s structural integrity at risk. In fact, the damage from termites alone averages more than $5 billion annually in the U.S. Other species, meanwhile, can make family members incredibly ill. One of the most common household pests, cockroaches are known to spread salmonella, cause gastroenteritis and trigger asthma attacks.

Odors

When it comes to some problems, the nose knows. Foul-smelling odors can alert buyers to hidden dangers such as gas leaks and clogged sewer lines. Additionally, scents like cigarette smoke and pet urine can seep into carpets and even paint, sparking allergic reactions in some individuals and making a home less welcoming to guests. Vigorous cleaning may improve the smell, but severe cases often require professional treatment. Knoxville TN odor removal specialists or those in your area should be able to eliminate any foul stenches.

Insulation

Every home needs insulation, but improper installation can result in a variety of problems. Moisture damage and mold growth are two of the most serious concerns, and when poor insulation impedes an attic’s ventilation, it can result in ice dams that wreak havoc on a roof. Insulation problems also negatively affect a home’s energy efficiency, driving up electric bills.

There are many things to consider when buying a home. Find one that feels right, but don’t forget to check for potential problems.