Key Warning Signs When Buying a Home
Buying a home for yourself and your family is never easy. No matter how many times you’ve purchased houses before and how much you think you know about this process, the chances are you don’t know absolutely everything there is to know. That’s why you need to be careful and pay attention to what you’re doing, trying to avoid mistakes as much as you can. You could even talk to your friends or family who have more experience than you and ask them to give you a hand with this process. The last thing you want to do is miss any potential warning signs when buying a home!
It’s all about being patient, being careful, and not rushing into anything you’re unsure of. So, if you too are thinking about purchasing a home, here are some of the warning signs you should take into consideration.
Explore the neighborhood
Finding a perfect house might seem like the easiest thing in the world, but it’s definitely not as easy as people think. You need to invest quite some time, energy, and patience into this, and you could still make a mistake. The reason for this is quite simple – besides exploring the property you’re thinking about buying, you also need to explore the neighborhood as well.
Having an amazing home in an area that’s secluded, not adequately maintained, known for criminal behavior, or prone to weather disasters doesn’t really mean that much, so be sure to spend some time exploring the neighborhood before moving into it.
Purchasing a great property in a bad neighborhood is a dilemma lots of people are facing every single day, and the worst thing is that there’s no right or wrong answer. Of course, living in a calmer area is always better, but most of us prefer having an amazing home regardless of the things that surround us. So, give this issue some thought, and try to determine what’s more important: your home or your neighborhood.
Look into cracks and tilts
This is another common issue all future homebuyers have to deal with when thinking about buying a new home. While most of us focus on the interior space, very few people shift their attention to the exterior, and that could be one of the biggest mistakes they make. After all, this is where you can notice all those cracks and tilts that have appeared in the past, especially if you’re thinking about buying a house that was built in the mid-20th century, or even before that.
The biggest problem with cracks and tilts is that you need to repair them as soon as possible, and that might be rather tricky, time-consuming, and expensive. Nobody likes spending more money immediately after buying a home, but you can’t live in a place that’s tilted and full of cracks. The only way to avoid dealing with these problems is inspecting the property beforehand and simply not buying it – that way, you won’t have to waste more time, money, and energy on it, but find a home that’s in much better condition elsewhere.
Inspect the foundations
Speaking of things that need to be avoided, this is probably on the top of everyone’s list. Having problems with your foundations automatically means spending a ton of money on taking care of them, and it’s the money you could’ve spent elsewhere. Unfortunately, this is an issue that lots of people around the world are dealing with, and everyone from Canadians to Australians will tell you the same thing – check your foundations before purchasing your home!
Still, this isn’t something you can do on your own. Even if you know a thing or two about construction, you probably don’t have enough experience, skills, and tools to make everything right. Calling in qualified help for the large jobs, like foundation work, are always the best approach.
Finding professionals in knock down and rebuild could, therefore, be the thing you might think about doing as well – sometimes, it’s better to destroy everything and start fresh than fixing all those things that need fixing. This method could prove to be cheaper, quicker, more effective, and ultimately better, so get organized, figure out what you need to do, and get professional help when inspecting your basement.
Check the ownership
Not everyone thinks that this could turn out to be such a serious problem, but you’d be surprised how many homeowners discover ownership issues right after purchasing their property. This happens all over the globe, by the way, even in the most developed countries, and it’s something that could happen to you as well, no matter how careful you are. That’s why you need to look into the ownership history of a property you’re about to buy and consult with someone with experience too, just in case.
One of the things that could be a warning sign is a high turnover of a certain property. If people keep buying and selling it all the time, without actually living in it for some time, the chances are something’s wrong with it, and that’s the kind of property you want to stay away from.
These things can be easily checked online, so don’t be afraid to invest some time and effort into doing that. Being prepared is vital, and it’s better to be safe than sorry, so in case you notice something might be wrong with the ownership history of your potential home, just pass the offer.
Uncover water damage
Unlike building a new home from scratch, purchasing an older house is always risky, and uncovering hidden water damage is one of the riskiest things that could occur. That’s something that may be a result of a flood, smaller water damage, or a permanent issue with the plumbing – whatever it is, you need to discover it and react adequately.
Discovering water damage in a home sounds like the easiest job in the world – all you need to do is walk around the property and check for signs of leakage – but it’s actually not that easy, especially if the damage is concealed by paint.
Repainting the damage is an elegant way to hide it, which is why lots of buyers use this hack to trick potential buyers who usually aren’t even aware of the fact that something wrong might be happening. Nevertheless, this doesn’t solve the problem, because repainting water damage just traps the moisture in the walls, which usually leads to mold.
So, if you notice mold here and there in the bathroom, the kitchen, and other areas, you need to uncover the damage done by water and figure out how to deal with it. Again, staying away from this property is a good idea, or you could just try to solve the issue on your own. If that doesn’t work, find a contractor who can help you out and make your new living space actually livable and suitable for you.
Focus on the floors
This is another common problem of all older homes, and probably one of the biggest warning signs that you probably shouldn’t purchase a property if the floors are uneven, bouncy, or too old. What’s even worse is that sometimes you can’t notice that something’s wrong until you actually buy the place and move in. But, if you hear strange sounds, notice that your kid’s favorite basketball is rolling in different directions, or start tripping over time after time, you’ll become suspicious!
So, what can you do if you end up spending a ton of money on a home with uneven floors? You can try to level it and prevent further damage, or you could pay a professional to rip out the old floors and install new ones. This will be quite a big investment, and it’s something none of us want to do right after moving to a new place, but you can’t really live in a home with crooked floors, can you? So, avoid this project as much as you can, and stay away from a place that has faulty floors.
Take a look at the roof
Unless you’re a professional with tons of experience or a person who has lived in a home with bad roofs, you probably won’t pay enough attention to this problem. We all assume the best and hope everything will be all right, which is why we believe there’s nothing wrong with the roof even if the evidence indicates otherwise.
Even if the roof was properly installed, this probably happened a few decades ago, and in case previous owners failed to maintain it adequately, it’s probably ready to be fixed.
Replacing the shingles and tiles doesn’t have to be that expensive, to be honest, but it will take quite a lot of your time and patience – not to mention energy. You probably won’t be able to live in your home while your roofing experts are getting it ready for you, so you’ll regret the day when you failed to take a proper look at the roof.
Asking your roofing guys to tag along might also be a great idea, as this will give them a chance to inspect it before you make your choice and decide to purchase the property.
Don’t forget the plumbing…
Once again, this is a situation that doesn’t have to be too serious, time-consuming or expensive, but only if you make a great plan and figure out how to solve the problem. Lots of homeowners think that the plumbing is limited to the kitchen and bathroom area, but this isn’t exactly true.
While these two spaces are the most important ones for your plumbing system, it actually spreads to other areas too. What this really means is that buying a home with a faulty plumbing system is a mistake that could put your entire future in jeopardy.
There are several ways to prevent this from happening. When you’re visiting the property for the very first time, don’t be afraid to run the water in the bathroom and the kitchen, just to make sure it’s running smoothly. Also, flush the toilets too, because this will show you whether they’re working properly or you can expect some problems with the drains down the line
Finally, inspect the water heater, the sewer, and other parts of the system, just to ensure everything is all right. Do that yourself, or talk to a plumber who can do that in your stead.
… And the electrical system
After paying attention to the plumbing, there’s one more thing you need to do – check out the electrical system as well. This is another major hazard that could put your life in danger, as well as a sign that should warn you not to purchase a certain property. But, unlike the plumbing, the electrical system is present in literally every corner of your home, which means fixing it might turn out to be even pricier than you’ve imagined.
Even though absolutely every part of the electrical system is important, there are a few pieces that are more important than the others, which means these are the things you should look into while performing an electrical inspection before purchasing your home. First, check the switches and outlets, making sure absolutely every single piece of equipment is performing at the highest level.
After that, look for wiring that’s not done professionally and correctly because these can burst into flames any minute now, putting your family in danger. Finally, check the service panel because this is the where you can turn off the power in your entire home should something unexpected happen. That’s why this fuse box needs to be working properly and giving you a chance to protect your home against potential dangers.
All of these tips should help you do one thing – determine whether a certain property is suitable for you or not. You can always renovate it and fix the problems, but some of these are too hard to fix, so skipping a problematic home is sometimes the best, easiest, and cheapest way to go!
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