You don’t have to be a “do-it-yourselfer” to spot some obvious “warning signs” when looking at houses. Here are some simple tips and things to look for when house hunting! Remember that having a certified inspector take a look at the home you choose to put an offer on is vital to saving money down the road. With these tips you can rule out homes that look “nice”, but have costly issues, before you get to that point.
From the curb.
Before you enter the house, take a walk around the outside. Look at the foundation. Is the landscaping angled away from the home to control water run-off? If water is pooling near the foundation this can cause deterioration of the foundation and be a sign of leaking in the basement if the house has one. Also, notice if there are any cracks in the foundation. Large cracks and walls that appear uneven can be a warning sign of bigger problems. Take a step back to the curb and look at the roof. If there is obvious bowing or shingles appear to be coming up, the roof might need to be replaced. Also, large old trees can be nice to look at, but if they are too close to the house there is danger of roots growing into the foundation. They can also be a hazard in bad weather if they are leaning towards the house.
Once inside the house, start on the lowest floor and work your way up.
If the home has a basement or crawl space, take a look. Pooling water or mold on walls is an obvious hazard and sign of leaking. Look for cracks in foundation walls and signs of walls that are leaning. If everything appears to be solid take a look around for the electrical box and furnace. Both of these need to be in good working order and up to standards for the state you live in. According to the FHA guidelines, electrical should be at least 60-watts, if it appears to be running the appliances that are present sufficiently. For homes with all electric, heating and appliances, 200 watt amperage is recommended. Take a look around the furnace for pipes that are broken or disconnected.
Main living area, kitchen and bathrooms.
While you’re looking around to see if you like the layout of the house, take a look at the walls and ceilings. Are there cracks that appear deeper than just the paint? Do the walls appear even and free of holes or areas that “look” repaired? In kitchen and bathrooms, check under the sinks for leakage and mold. Look around walls near bathtub and sinks for signs of water damage and mold. Mold can be dangerous as well as pricey to get rid of. Check the pressure of the water if possible and notice if water appears to drain easily. Check for discoloration and mold around window sills and doors. Windows and doors a can both be pricey to replace.
There are a million and one things to consider and worry about when purchasing a “new” home, but with a little sleuthing and a basic idea of the most important and most expensive items to replace/repair, you can save yourself a lot of time and money! Happy hunting!
Finding obvious signs of deterioration might not be as hard as you thought!
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