Buyer Beware: 5 Common Problems You May Find in Homes
Searching for your dream home is tough all on its own, but discovering your new home has big and possibly expensive issues lurking between the walls could put a damper on your excitement. This is a common fear among house hunters, as it ultimately affects how much you’ll spend on making the home, your home.
However, there is some good news for you! There are so many who’ve gone through this process and run into such common issues that we’ve compiled a great list of what to look out for when house hunting:
1. Watch for Issues with Electric Wiring
When it comes down to the truth, the way your house is wired is imperative. Bad wiring could lead to minor annoyances causing a tragic house fire - it’s that important. If the circuit breakers trip on their own or you note a light flicker, you may have some faulty wiring issues.
You should also know that circuit breakers do, in fact, wear over time and require replacement, so be sure to take a look and even have an electrician come to perform an inspection of the wiring before you make a decision.
2. Water Damage or Problems
Rainy out? Perfect! Take advantage of the downpour to take a look at defective, clogged, or damaged gutters. It’s also a great chance to ensure that the water coming down is being funneled away from the home. This could save you money in the long run, as many homeowners do not recognize these types of water damage issues until long after the sale has closed.
In the event that the water isn’t channeling away from the property, it could lead to a litany of problems including foundation damage and mold. To see how things are going in that department, check the basement. Look for water stains or residue, gaps in the tops of doors, cracking or misaligned windows to evaluate whether the foundation may be cracking or settling due to water damage. Other signs include issues such as sloping floors and visible cracks.
In regards to water in general, ensure you have proper water pressure flow, slow drainage, and no ceiling leaks. If the pipes are leaking, you can’t always see it until it’s a real problem, such as damaging walls and floors or causing mold. If you’re seeing low water pressure, there may be a deposit build-up in the filtration system that needs to be addressed.
3. Clear Lack of Maintenance
Let’s face it - not all homeowners have the time or ability to upkeep their home; what works for some won’t work for house-hunters searching for their dream home. A home may look great, but if not properly maintained the damage isn’t visible until it becomes a larger (and pricier) fix.
We’re not quite talking about a simple coat of much-needed paint. We’re looking at items like:
● Crumbling masonry
● Patched wiring
● Makeshift plumbing
● Broken fixtures
● Cracked driveways (could be structural)
● Visible carpet damage (a sign of negligence)
These issues, on their own, are not particularly expensive fixes - making them completely doable with the right know-how. In fact, many new-to-the-market home buyers are looking for an affordable and exciting fixer-upper opportunity! Be sure to have a clear plan as to how to tackle the needed maintenance and what that adds to your purchasing costs.
4. Airflow and Ventilation
Airflow is incredibly important not only to prevent the growth of mold but also to the comfort of your family. No one wants a drafty home during any season, as this could also increase your electric bill.
Ironically, though, sometimes a previous homeowner with the best of intentions has become a bit zealous about sealing up the windows and actually contributes to excessive interior moisture because they’ve clamped the environment up too tightly!
If it feels stuffy, you see interior condensation or the HVAC sounds like it is about to kick the bucket, you want to take a closer look.
5. Take a Look at the Roof
The state of the literal “roof over your head” is as important as having that roof in the first place. It’s incredibly valuable to ensure that the roof is not suffering from a dry, sagging appearance as it could be a sign of rotting and breakage.
Taking a look at the attic also helps. Check the ceiling for water stains and get a good look at the top of the roof. If you notice curling shingles or broken flashing, you should contact a roofer to help you understand the extent and cost of the damage.
The entire home buying process is tricky from beginning to end, but there is some good news. Mortgage lenders require a home inspection before any contracts can be signed, and a good home inspector will routinely examine all those problems.
Your real estate agent will also be well versed in these common problems and can help you determine if they exist in the property you want to buy, as well as how difficult it will be to solve them.
Even newly built homes can end up with structural problems if the builder doesn’t pay good attention, so trust your home inspector to give you the scoop on your potential home!