Surprise Conditions


Anyone who has done an extensive remodeling job on an older home has encountered some surprises.  Unfortunately, those surprises are usually not in the form of lost treasure.  Here are some of the surprises that I have encountered:


Bois d’ Arc- Built prior to WWII.  Most likely needs to be replaced with concrete piers.

Concrete Pier and Beam- Shallow perimeter beam (1945-1965).  Rotten wooden beams.  Wood vs. steel shims.  Inadequate clearance between soil and bottom of wood beams. 

Slab- No beams under slab.  Poor drainage.  None to very few cracks in exterior brick veneer combined with numerous cracks in interior walls and ceilings, concentrated throughout the center of the house- good indicator of leak in sewer line under slab!


Flat roof- to be avoided.

Composition Roof- Multiple layers.  Shingles cut short- results in water ponding behind fascia and in soffit.  Rusty turbine vents- good indicator of old shingles or cheap replacement job.

Comp over wood- Best way to pick up on this is from underneath… in the attic.  EXPENSIVE!


Service line- must be minimum 12’ above ground if overhead service. 

Service panel- watch for double lugged breakers.  Any open slots in box?  System grounded?  Adequate distribution? 

Aluminum wiring- can be EXPENSIVE!


Galvanized water lines (prior to 1960).  Will likely need to be replaced with copper or PEX.

Cast Iron Sewer Line- Will likely need to be replaced with PVC.  See comments regarding leak in sewer line under “Foundation”.


Rust stain on exterior of structure, in vicinity of auxiliary condensate drain.  Indicates that primary condensate drain is blocked.  Also indicates rust in the condensate drip pan.  May be about to rust out and dump water into the house!

Horizontal gas unit in attic- more than 10 years old.  Possible problem with heat exchanger.

Ice on exterior line set- inadequate air flow over interior coil.  Very dirty filter or dirty coil.

TERMITES – Check the sheetrock proximate to any exterior tunnels for brown spots.  To a termite sheetrock is like angel food cake!

Failure to recognize and accurately cost estimate repairs is the #2 reason that real estate investors loose money.  If you are an investor, or wannabe an investor, hopefully this brief checklist will enable you to do a more thorough job of assessing a prospective property.

If you are a homeowner who is contemplating a sale; hopefully this check list will give you a better idea of the items which will be of interest to an experienced investor or home inspector. Click here for a more detailed list of surprise conditions.

Mike Brendel
Your DFW Problem House Buyer

If you need help because of your SURPRISES…..

Call our distressed property expert today at

 469-774-6655! Or….

Problem House Buyer

and tell us “sell my house fast”!

We’ll take it from there.

DFW Problem House Buyer buys problem homes for cash, whether it’s due to divorce, inheritance, a problem rental, poor condition, or any other life circumstance that requires you to liquidate a home fast for cash. DFW Problem House Buyer offers “As Is” Cash Purchases, Specialized Brokerage Services, and/or Guaranteed Sales Plans. DFW Problem House Buyer serves Denton, Tarrant, Dallas, and Collin counties, including but not limited to: Fort Worth, Arlington, Hurst, Euless, Bedford, North Richland Hills, Colleyville, Grapevine, Trophy Club, Keller, Roanoke, Argyle, Robson Ranch, Grand Prairie, Mansfield, Dallas, Richardson, Garland, Mesquite, Plano, Frisco, McKinney, Allen, Denton, Corinth, Carrollton, Lewisville, Highland Village, and Flower Mound. © 2013 All Rights Reserved.