Buyer Tips: House-Hunting Red Flags
Buying a home is a huge financial commitment, so it’s important to know what you’re getting into before you write a purchase agreement and put down that deposit. A hasty purchase can result in a lot of headaches, time and money down the road. Save your hard-earned money, and some heartache, be sure to look closely at any prospective new home. If you’re not sure what to look for, John can help.
Here are 7 common home defects of that every potential buyer should be on the lookout for:
1) DIY Repairs
It’s not uncommon that many homeowners tackle repairs they probably shouldn’t, like plumbing and electrical. That stuff should be left to qualified professionals because a job done wrong can lead to problems down the road and possibly risk your safety.
Examples of electrical safety hazards to watch out for are ungrounded outlets, lack of ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) and faulty wiring in electrical panels or elsewhere in the house.
With plumbing, pipes under a sink can be made of incompatible materials that lead to dripping faucets, leaking fixtures and slow drains.
2) Rotted Wood
Wood that has been consistently exposed to moisture rots over time. Inspect wood in the kitchen, bathroom, deck, eaves and trim for signs of rotting. This includes around the tub, toilet seat, countertop, outside doors and flooring. These spots are vulnerable to moisture and should be protected with a special paint or finish.
3) Poor Ventilation
If a home doesn’t have proper ventilation, moisture can’t escape and eventually causes problems. Make sure the attic is properly ventilated to ensure that the roof has a long, functional life. Proper ventilation allows intense heat from the sun to escape from the attic space and promotes evaporation of moisture that would lead to damage of interior walls and structures.
While you’re looking at the roof be sure to look for missing or damaged shingles or improper flashing. If you do have concerns with the roof, don’t ignore them because left untreated these items can lead to very costly damage.
4) Improper Appliance Maintenance
You can make your appliances last to the full extent of their warranty and sometimes beyond just by taking care of them. Simple and smart steps to a full life include regularly changing filters in the HVAC and range hood, cleaning lint from the trap and exhaust hose of the dryer and cleaning the AC unit outside because it often gets plugged with lint, dirt and other debris.
Failing or aging A/C and furnaces in older homes could require costly maintenance. Failing or improperly cared for systems could also emit carbon monoxide, which is harmful to your family. These old systems are less efficient and consequently have higher operating costs than their modern equivalents.
5) Poor Drainage
Improper grades (that don’t slope away from the house) can cause inadequate drainage and lead to water in the basement, foundation problems and mold.
You’ll also want to check for well-maintained gutters and downspouts and be sure they are directing water away from the home and not towards the foundation.
6) Storm Damage
Hail dents are pretty easy to spot on a car but are often more disguised on a house. Look closely at flashing as it will have dents similar to a car. Also look for flecked and chipped paint and missing shutters or shingles that would have been cause by strong winds. Omaha is notorious for strong thunderstorms so if something doesn’t look right it could possibly be storm damage and any roofing or siding professional can easily point out he damage.
Most insurance companies have a time-limit on filing a claim so if the current home-owner didn’t file one they could end up footing the expense.
7) Environmental Hazards
Because there were fewer building restrictions in the past and lackadaisical environmental protection in place many older homes could contain lead-based paint, especially those built prior to 1978, and high levels of carbon monoxide, radon, toxic molds, or even asbestos. These all require professional testing and monitoring to ensure your safety.
Omaha even has an EPA Superfund to remove lead from the soil in certain areas along the Missouri and as far west as Benson.
Many of the problems listed here will be caught during a home inspection done by a qualified professional but if you spot these problems before you get to that step you have to wonder how well the home was cared for.