Purchasing a house is a big deal. Whether you plan to live there or rent it out to make some extra income, buying a house is expensive, so you don’t want to make a mistake.
Hiring an inspector to look at the property can help, but you also should keep your eyes wide open to try to spot problems on your own.
Here are some of the biggest deal-breakers to look for when you shop for a house.
A foundation that needs repairs
It can be an expensive gamble to buy a house with foundation concerns. Foundation issues be challenging and cost thousands of dollars to fix, and you might not know precisely how bad things are until you start repairs.
Wall cracks, bouncing floors, and counters separated from walls all can be signs of foundation issues.
An aging or damaged roof
The average cost to replace a roof in America is more than $9,000, according to Angie's List.
Not only are repairs and replacements costly, but the process can add an extra layer of stress after you buy a home. Delaying repairs can lead to expensive damage.
So, before you move forward on a place with roof issues, dig deep and figure out exactly what you're getting into. Look for a roof that sags, shingles that curl, or dark and dirty areas.
Extensive water damage
Water damage presents a unique challenge because it's difficult to know the extent of the damage without removing walls or tearing apart ceilings. In other words, you can’t always tell what’s happening until after you close the house.
Water damage can indicate issues with mold and is a headache you don’t want to deal with. If you find water damage and decide to press ahead in buying the home, you might opt for mold testing first to give yourself peace of mind.
It’s a low-quality house flip
House flipping has become an industry. But home renovations require specific skills and experience, which some prospective amateur flippers lack.
Beware when buying a home from a flipper. Just because a house looks great on the surface doesn’t mean the previous owner did solid work. Be sure to check the quality of the renovations before you buy.
Extensive wall and ceiling cracks
Cracks in the walls or ceilings might be merely cosmetic. For example, the paint might have aged and cracked over time.
But don’t simply assume those cracks are cosmetic before you buy. They might signify a bigger problem, such as foundation problems or termite damage.
Pro tip: A top credit score will help you to qualify for a better mortgage rate. A great way to boost your credit score is to reduce your debt long before you start shopping for a home loan.
A shoddy exterior
The exterior of a house creates the first impression and can provide clues about other aspects of the home.
For example, noticeable issues with paint or roof shingles might be a sign that the home was not maintained properly.
High radon levels
Radon is a radioactive gas that occurs naturally due to a breakdown of uranium in the soil. Unfortunately, it's also toxic to humans.
Radon can move into the home through cracks in the foundation or other small holes. It’s a good idea to check radon levels before you buy a house. If the home has a radon problem, make sure there's a solution to fixing it before you move forward.
Extensive termite damage
Termite damage can be fixable, but it might require extensive repairs. You might even have to replace entire sections of the home.
For example, if you have a wooden pergola in the backyard with termite damage, you might need to replace full beams or the entire structure. That can be costly and time-intensive, so check before you buy.
Plumbing concerns usually require the services of a professional. The last thing you want to do is mess up the plumbing system for the entire house.
The cost of such repairs can add up quickly, and it’s not something you can skip. Make sure you understand the scope of plumbing issues before moving forward on a home.
An electrical system that needs repairs
Failing to make necessary electrical repairs can be dangerous. It can also be hazardous if you try to do it yourself.
Hiring an electrician to repair extensive damage can cause your bill to balloon rapidly. To avoid that situation, try to get an accurate picture of what repairs are necessary before you buy a home.
The process of choosing a home is highly personal. What might not be a big deal to you could be a deal-breaker for someone else.
Regardless of how many repairs you’re willing to handle, it's important to know what to expect before you purchase the home.
So look carefully at the home you're considering buying to avoid wasting money on one of the biggest purchases you'll likely ever make.
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