Searching for your dream home can be an exciting, yet stressful experience. Many emotions come into play during a walk-through and imagining all that the home could be for your family. In fact, home buyers often get caught behind this curtain of emotions. As a result, they fail to look at the factors that realistically make a difference when buying a home. When you know what to look for, you might just be able to prevent a purchase from becoming a headache! So, in efforts to prevent a headache, we created this checklist to help guide you in spotting issues before buying a new home.
Look for Lawns that are discolored:
Usually, what’s seen on the outside is often a projection of what’s going on in the inside. However, beyond just the aesthetics of having a well-manicured yard, there are other factors that make a lush green lawn a signal to pay attention to. Lawns with discolored spots might be due to several things such as heat, lack of water, lots of foot traffic. However, it can also can be caused by fungal diseases, which have to potential to lead to pest infestations if left untreated. In addition, soggy wet spots in a yard along with a foul odor could indicate a damaged or broken sewer line nearby. These are just a couple examples of the many costly troubles a discolored lawn might bring.
What does the condition of the floors and walls look like?
Cracks in walls can come from a variety of circumstances, and if it’s a hairline crack they’re relatively easy to fix. However, cracks wider than a half inch usually hint at foundation issues. Additionally, “bubbling” or watermarks on floors typically mean there is some sort of underlying water damage. A warped wall or floor might also be caused by rotting wood, termites, or even low-quality construction. Pay attention to how level floors and walls look when spotting issues before buying a new home.
Are there any problems with the heating, cooling, or electrical components?
If you want to identify issues with electrical wiring, look for warm, vibrating wall outlets, flickering lights, or switches that don’t work. In regards to the water system, turn on a faucet and see if the water is tinted orange or brown. This might be an indication that the water pipes are rusty.
Next, listen for either a squealing or grinding noise that might be coming from an air conditioning unit. This is usually an A.C. unit’s cry for a service appointment or even replacement. Lastly, pay attention to any faint gas smells in any room other than the kitchen. This might mean there’s a compromised gas valve on a water heater.
Was there unpermitted work done on the house?
There’s a big risk when you purchase a home that has had unpermitted work done to it. According to Azbigmedia.com, “people have been known to be tacked with fines, as well as the costs associated with getting the work permitted or taken down”. In most cases, a permit is necessary if the remodel includes adding/removing walls, changes made to plumbing/electrical systems, or even adding a window. So moral of the story is, ask questions when you see things like converted garages, rooms with lower roof lines, and even guest houses.
How does the house smell?
Spotting issues before buying a new home requires using a variety of senses. For example, being aware of strange smells in and around a house can signal certain red flags. The scent of wet clothes that have been sitting for a while might be indicative of mold, and a musty odor could be from mildew. Both can be harmful to your health and expensive to eliminate. In addition, be aware of cigarette and pet smells in the house. These scents really cling to walls and carpet requiring considerable time and effort to remove. Most people have to call professional house cleaners to get rid of these types of odors.
Questions to ask your real estate agent:
As you can see, you can really save yourself from a bad purchase just by taking a moment to “smell the roses” as you walk through the house. It pays off when you’re able to stop and look at everything objectively to see what stands out. In addition to using your senses, you can also ask questions to get as much information about the property as possible. Here are a few questions you may consider asking before buying a house:
- How many offers have been made?
- Why are the sellers moving?
- Are there any issues with the property?
- What’s this (smell, crack, warping, discoloration, etc.) caused from?
- Has there been any work done to the house?
When you properly prepared yourself with list of important issues and questions ahead of time, you can greatly decrease the likelihood of running into problems in the future. All listings have been vetted by this guide to ensure clients find a home they don’t have to worry about. Revel in the emotion, dream of the future, and find the perfect home today.