A staged, deep cleaned, and upgraded property is undoubtedly impressive and can entice you to close the deal without much thought. However, there’s often a multitude of problems that many homebuyers fail to spot and live to regret later on. While minor imperfections should not make you delete a property from your list, some more significant problems should make you think twice before signing on the dotted line.
It is vital to put your inspector’s hat on while viewing a property and examine each aspect of it in detail. If you discover a costly replacement or repair, you can use it as leverage to negotiate a good deal with the seller or perhaps move along and never look back. There following is a list of six critical, yet often forgotten, areas that you must consider before buying your dream property:
Before buying a property, perform a thorough visual inspection and look out for any water-damaged areas that may be concealed with paint. The most common cause of water damage is a plumbing leak. If overlooked and not repaired in time, it can worsen and lead to mold growth and significant structural damage to the property. Mold typically grows and thrives in dark, humid, and moist environments. Living with mold in the home can lead to several allergies and respiratory problems.
To detect signs of water damage, keep an eye out for dark, wet spots or flaky plasters on ceilings or walls around the house. Check under bathroom and kitchen sinks and cabinets as the base of shower tubs for any possible signs. If you spot a fresh coat of paint on the ceiling, it should raise some eyebrows as it may be covering a patch of mold. A damp, moldy smell is perhaps the biggest indicator of water damage in the house.
Many houses have hairline cracks, which is nothing to worry about as it indicates that it is simply settling into position. With that said, large cracks are a sign of a serious issue with the property’s foundation. You want to buy a structurally sound property.
Try to discover any foundation problems as you take a walk around the property. Exterior cracks with a zig-zag pattern, cracks above window frames, sticking doors that do not open or close properly, bouncing or uneven floors, and gaps or spaces around window frames and doors are all telltale signs that there may be foundation damage to the house.
There are numerous appliances in a home, which can be very expensive to replace. When it is time for buying a condo or a house, you must estimate the condition and functionality of each thoroughly before closing the deal. While your home inspector will check the operation of all major systems, including the air conditioner and furnace, they may or may not test appliances like the fridge or dishwasher as it is not a standard practice.
Accordingly, checking all appliances yourself before buying a house is an indispensable aspect of getting a turn-key over one that may require costly repairs or replacements soon. As you make rounds in the property, ensure all crucial appliances, from the microwave and oven to the dishwasher and dryer, function as expected.
Amongst the commonly overlooked features when buying a new property is the state of existing windows. Improperly installed or maintained windows may end up becoming a huge financial burden down the road for new homeowners.
Check to see if the window frames have any cracking paint. Consider whether the double-glazing is intact, which ensures that your property remains well insulated. If you notice any condensation between the window panes, the double glazing will likely need replacing. If the windows stick as you open or close them, it could indicate foundation issues, as noted above. Lastly, inspect the windows for any air leaks as they can make your property cold and noisy and drive up heating costs.
As you wander through the home, look for signs that indicate the homeowner may have ignored property maintenance tasks. Give the bathrooms a thorough look-over and check for any leaky faucets, dripping showerheads, or more notable problems like toilets that do not flush. Test all electrical outlets to see if they are functional by plugging in a device at each one of them.
Besides, you should also check if the seller has taken care of other ongoing home maintenance tasks like HVAC filter cleaning, gutter and downspout cleaning, and more.
Hiring a plumber or electrician can cost a pretty penny. Therefore, it is preferred to have everything in good working order before moving in. If there are several maintenance issues you could spot at a cursory glance, your home inspection will likely reveal a lot more than what you already know. Consider asking the seller to fix them before the date of closing.
Electrical panels are the heart of a property’s electrical system. Faulty wiring or electrical problems can lead to countless issues down the line. A complete rewiring can cost you thousands of dollars. Take a good look at the breaker box to determine whether it is neat and organized or a messy nest of exposed wires with no clearly marked signs. Stray wires inside the box are also a bad sign as they may lead to shorts, causing damage to your electrical appliances.
A poorly arranged breaker box is not only a potential safety hazard but an indication that you may run into major or minor electrical problems sometime sooner or later.
Buying a property is among the most important financial investments you can make in a lifetime. It is integral to look beyond merely the cosmetics and watch out for several warning signs before moving in. Accordingly, it is in your best interest to be super vigilant and take enough time to verify all these aspects in great detail to make an informed purchase decision and avoid coming up with unforeseen costs once you move in.