1. Structure: Roof, Foundation, and Systems
Some of the things we think about the least in a home matter the most. We often purchase with our eyes and what seems comfortable but it is essential to also look for damage that can lead to costly repairs down the road. A solid foundation and a new, sturdy roof are great signs. A small crack in the foundation wall or a few aging shingles can turn into big-money problems in a hurry. Old faulty roofs can cost $5,000-$10,000 (or more) to replace. Ignoring roofing issues can cause damage to your entire house, including the foundation. And foundation issues? Those can run into the tens of thousands to correct. We know it is not the sexiest aspect of home ownership, but you know what is sexy? Not having to spend an extra $15,000 2 years after purchasing a home.
Also, make sure the following systems are in good shape:
Sewer or septic (and well, if there is one)
2. Check for Water Damage
Water is a home’s worst nightmare. Yes it can damage your belongings and lead to an expensive clean up, but water damage on the foundation of a property is a much bigger issue. Make sure to check a home for water damage or ask the inspector because, as mentioned above, a faulty infrastructure is not a cheap thing to improve. The origins of water issues can be tough to find and correct, so signs of past damage can be warning of future damage. Discolored rings on ceilings are good to look for, but there are more subtle clues, too. Look to see if storage systems are slightly propped up off of the floor. Another giveaway is a musty smell.
3. Renovation Needs
Ugly carpeting and wild paint colors throw off buyers, but those can be easy, and relatively inexpensive fixes. Often times the less noticeable renovation needs are the most expensive. For example Kitchen and bathroom renovations can cost up to $20,000 where a new paint job will not cost nearly that much. If you are buying a fixer-upper or trying to save some expenses by settling on a cheaper home – make sure that you are settling on the least costly fixes.
4. Check the Windows
Especially if you are in the market for an older home, check all of the windows for functionality. Inoperable windows can be early signs to foundation issues. On top of that, who wants to live in a room where you cannot open the windows.
5. Health Hazards
Older homes are full of charm—and sometimes mold, asbestos, and lead paint. These are major issues to look for when buying a house. A home inspection won’t necessarily point out mold and asbestos-prone materials, so it’s up to you to get them professionally tested. When looking for homes ask the listing agent if this step has already been completed. If not, make arrangements quickly. Owning a home improves most people’s lives – make sure your home doesn’t harm yours!
6. Look at the Neighborhood
Your ideal home could still be a flop if you are not in the location that suits you. If you dream of walking to nightlife and restaurants, you may never be happy in suburbia. And if you fall in love with a home that’s not in the right school district for your kids, it’s a no-go. Look up basic information on the neighborhood. You can use many different sites – or you could let us get a neighborhood breakdown and diagnosis for you!