How to Avoid Purchasing a Money Pit
Home inspectors are a necessity when it comes to home buying. Hire your own inspector to perform a thorough assessment. Do not rely solely on the buyer’s report. Before purchasing an inspection, however, there are some things you can evaluate on your own to see if there are any red flags.
Homes should have a solid foundation; it should be square, and the walls should be straight when looked at from a distance away. The home should not lean, this indicates an unstable foundation. Make sure the floors are completely flat and that they feel strong and sturdy underneath your feet. While this may seem silly, try jumping up and down in the center of your floor. If the floor feels bouncy under your feet, this is a sign that the structure needs more support.
Make sure to keep an eye out for any cracking in your foundation, this could indicate major structural defects that will be very costly to fix. Cracking on interior walls might be a sign that the foundation has shifted over time and the ground underneath is problematic. Minor cracks are okay, it is the larger, jagged ones you want to look out for.
Something buyers often overlook are gutters and drainage systems on a home. Gutters should be well maintained and free of any blockage, and drains should lead water away from your property not the other way around. If drainage stays on your property, this will cause damage to your home and could result in mold.
Plumbing is very expensive to fix if there are issues, so ensure that the piping is up to date and not faulty. Pipes should be copper since steel pipes you will likely find in very old homes are prone to blockage and this will affect the pressure of your water. If you are unable to locate the copper piping, try out this quick test. Locate the bathroom that is the greatest distance away from the home’s water heater. Run the tub at the highest it can go and turn on the sink(s). After doing this, flush your toilet and take note of whether or not the bath waterspout maintains its pressure. If the water pressure is altered, it is likely that the home needs updated piping.
This is another costly element to fix if any issues arise after closing. It can cost thousands of dollars if the electrical panel on a property needs replacing. In order to handle the load that comes with modern appliances, your panel will need to have a fuse box or circuit breaker that is over 100 amps. You should also have a 220-volt service. Keep an eye out for the proper wiring and outlets to ensure that this is the case. An inspector can also verify if you are unsure what to look for. ### Cooling/Heating System Installing a new HVAC system to ensure it is up to date can run you thousands of dollars. Make sure there is proper insulation in the home, especially in the walls. If you need to add more insulation to the attic, this is not nearly as expensive as walls would be. Verify that your walls are insulated by removing an outlet cover to look behind it. If you are not wanting to be near exposed wires on your own and you suspect that the insulation is subpar, you can go ahead and hire an inspector to perform an in-depth evaluation.
Take a look at the ceilings for stains, this indicates past leakage and water damage. Inspect your shingles and take note of whether they are still crystalized and resilient. If the crystals have faded and their texture is brittle, this is a sign that they will have to be replaced right away. If you notice that there are empty spots where shingles used to be this is also a red flag since this means that your roof is very vulnerable to weather damage and general wear and tear. Keeping an eye out for these common issues will save you so much money during the process of buying your new home. Spotting major issues ahead of time that you aren’t willing to pay for will also ensure that you don’t spend money on an inspector when you actually need to.