So you’ve already got a pre-approval on a mortgage and now you’re ready to go out and look for a new dream home. Whether you’re a first time home buyer, or you’re house hunting for your sixth home, being cautious when looking at a new home can save you a few headaches and possibly from you having to spend thousands of dollars on damage that was already there when you bought the home. So here are a six things to look for when buying a home as you and your real estate agent are looking at potential homes.
Does the House have a Newer Roof?
This is an easy one to see very quickly when viewing a property. Does the house look like it has had a new roof or is it looking like it’s about to fall in the next time a heavy rain comes in? A newer roof can save you in two ways. First, replacing an asphalt roof could between $4,000 to $6,000 according to Angies List. Secondly, newer roofs could potentially save you in your home insurance rates. If you are having a hard time seeing the roof or really with any older home, ask the seller when the last time the roof was replaced.
Does the House have Fresh Paint Inside?
A Fresh coat of paint doesn’t necessarily spell out a warning, most people will paint as a cost effective solution to make the home seem more recently renovated, but other home owners use the paint to cover up water damage from possible leaks. Restoration Masters talks about the obvious signs of water damage, but some other things to pay attention to are musty orders, warped walls or buckled ceilings or floors, all of these things can be hard to cover up. Another great tip is to keep in mind of what has and hasn’t been painted, is the dining room that’s under the master bathroom the only room in the house that’s freshly painted.
Did you Check the School District?
This is one that those who are looking at buying a home for a longer period of time with kids is really important. Forbes, interviewed Adrian Ridner, founder of study.com, to discuss what to do if you’re considering buying a house in a potentially underperforming school district. Adrian discusses some of the potential hurdles you’ll possibly face from “Explor(ing) all options like transferring, charter schools, private schools, online programs or homeschooling.” Just be aware of the time and cost for each of these options and if you’re ready to make those investments when it comes time to make it.
Does the House Have Visible Signs of Foundation Problems?
Foundation issues can come in many different forms. Most foundation experts say to look for some of the easy to see signs of foundation issues such as
- Exterior cracks
- Interior doors and floors uneven
- Exterior door frames and windows separating from brick
- Interior sheetrock cracks
- Rotten beams
- “Spongy” floors
- Tile cracks
- Crack in foundational blocks
All of these issues could spell for a foundation issue, which in turn could mean a huge repair bill, and most homeowners insurance policies won’t cover the damage unless it was caused by an outside issue (broken plumbing). The cost for repairing a foundation issue could range from anywhere between $500 for a minor crack repair to $10,000 plus if the house has to be lifted to repair the damage.
Did you Get a Home Inspection?
In today’s housing market, it truly is a seller’s market, favoring those selling a home more than those looking to buy a home and sometimes this leads to the buyers looking to avoid lengthy negotiations, save some money, or shorten the time until close to get an advantage. This can be an extremely risky move. Home inspectors are there to help protect both buyers and sellers during the buying/selling process. The Kentucky Real Estate Commission discusses why a home inspection helps to protect both parties. Unsure of who to get to inspect a potential home? You can always ask your real estate agent, like those at Collier & Co Real Estate for a trusted professional.
If you are a seller there’s a lot you can know by getting a home inspection before listing your home. It will allow you to avoid any potential missteps or problems once you start the contract process with a buyer. You could also potentially save some time as well when closing if you are able to disclose or fix any known issues from the inspection.
Is the Area a “High-Risk” Area
High risk areas are those that are susceptible to what are called natural hazards. The IFRC defines all natural hazards, but some of the most common are earthquakes and floods. If you are in an area that is defined as a high risk area for natural hazards, you could end up having to pay more for your homeowner’s insurance, or if you don’t realize you’re in a hazardous area, not be protected by your policy when one of these disasters strikes leading to a large loss for you. Always look at county maps or consult with your realtor about the potential hazards for any house you might be viewing.
Overall, make sure that you do your homework on a house before you schedule a viewing and look carefully while you walking around a potential new home with your realtor. Any one of these issues could lead to you having to spend more time, effort, or money than you originally thought. The more you can address in the initial phases, the more you can potentially negotiate with the current sellers.