What to Look For When Buying a Home

Buying a home is not easy. There are many steps, many negotiations, and many items on the to-do list. Because there is such a flurry of activity surrounding the purchase and sale of a home, you may forget to ask important questions or keep important concerns on your mind. A lot of the time, a seller may be so ready to move on from their home that they may not be completely forthcoming with certain issues that may have arisen in their home while they were living there and sometimes real estate agents don’t know 100% of the information. You are going to have to do your part by doing a little investigating, so here are a few things to keep in mind if you are in the process of buying a home. 

How’s the Foundation?

Always ask about the foundation of a home. Literally, everything rests on it. If there have been problems in the past with cracks or wear and tear, beware. Having a home’s foundation repaired or replaced can be a huge headache and an even bigger bill. Foundation repairs may require you to vacate your home while the process is being completed and that is another expense and inconvenience all in itself. When looking at a home, ask about the lowest level and have it fully inspected to ensure it is solid and won’t need any repairs. 

Water Damage

Water damage is the worst damage. A lot of the time, water damage is irreversible and everything the water has damaged must be completely taken out and replaced. Have a home inspector take a thorough look at whether or not they can see any damage due to leaky pipes or rain water. This is also a great way to look out to see if the home is prone to flooding. It’s a huge inconvenience if everytime it rains you are going to have to deal with leaky windows, flooded basements, or dripping roofs. Water damage is the telltale sign that the seller is going to have to make some important repairs before you sign. 

Termite Damage

While looking for water damage, look for termite damage. Like water, termites decimate everything in their path. Termites not only weaken any wooden foundation or structure, but they multiply fast and you can easily have an infestation. Termite control is important, and the sooner you know if the critters are around the sooner the seller can have an exterminator come in and eradicate the infestation.  After that is done, the seller must then repair any damage to the home that was caused by the termites. If there are wood alternatives try to have that material used in the replacement of the damage to prevent any future termite infestations. If not, you can then prepare to prevent termites when you move in. 

Mould

This is a big one. Mould can cause serious damage to your health and if it is found, it must be taken care of immediately before you even think of buying the home. Mould can form for various reasons, but it usually has to do with damp areas in storage spaces. Mould can be gotten rid of in a timely fashion, but the reason for the mould must be addressed straight away. Have your inspector find what is causing the mould and have the seller fix the problem as soon as possible. Fixing the reason is the best solution to preventing the mould from coming back and potentially affecting your family’s health. 

Check the Boilers and Furnaces

Many hot water heaters and furnaces have a shelf life. Many last anywhere between 15 and 25 years. When doing a walk through of the house, ask when was the last time these items were replaced and installed. The installation date will most likely be on the units themselves, so you can easily find this out right away. You will be paying out so much money to buy the house and move. The last thing you need is to pay more money for a busted heater or furnace the first year you are in your home. If they need immediate replacement, ask the seller to do it right away. If there are still a few years left, at least you can plan to replace the units when the time comes. 

What Are Your Property Lines?

Knowing your actual property lines will save you a lot of problems. The person selling you your home may be the nicest person in the world, but that does not mean the neighbors are that nice. A lot of times, home owners are unaware of their property lines and don’t question when a neighbor puts up a fence, builds a garage, or cuts down a tree. Many neighbors may assume you will be the same way, but if you have big plans for your property, you may discover your neighbor is using your property and you are going to need it back. As soon as you purchase your new home, go downtown and get the true property line of your home. This way, if you are questioned by anyone as to what you are doing, you have proof that your land is your land and they need to adjust back to their own property line. 

Drainage

If you can, find out how well the property drains. Many homeowners don’t think to ask this question, and then when the first heavy rain comes, their backyard and front yard is a swampy pool of water. The water will dry, but the damage it can do while it is pooling can be costly. Standing water will not only draw bugs, but it can affect your foundation, your grass, and may even start to seep into the walls of your basement causing expensive damage or flooding. Ask what happens when there are heavy rains in the area, and if the seller won’t fix the problem, at least you know that can be your first order of business when you move in.

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