Things to Look For When Purchasing a Home

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Things to Look For When Purchasing a Home

There are many things to watch for when buying a new home. Often, home buyers find themselves overwhelmed by the process of buying a home and overlook many of the telltale signs that a home might not be all they think it is. It will always be good practice to go over the negative aspects of any given home, in detail, before making an offer. Many of the following things should be found during a proper home inspection, however it is a good idea as the buyer to familiarize yourself with certain things and to discuss them with your Realtor and the inspector.

1. Damp Basements

A damp feeling in a basement can suggest water seepage, either from improperly graded soil, or a bad foundation. This can lead to many problems further down the road when considering renovations or remodeling. This can also lead to problems with mold and the deterioration of the standing foundations. Moisture can also weaken the foundations leading to expensive repairs in the future. This is also a health concern as the presence of mold has been linked to several respiratory conditions and ailments.

2. Cracks in the Foundation

Always inspect the interior and exterior of the foundation for cracks and stress marks. Visible cracks can mean several things; excessive settling of the house, the fact that the house may have been built on an improperly graded site, or in an area that is prone to earth movement. Cracks can also allow small insects access to the interior of the home. Ants and termites can cause no end of costly problems in a home. There are many different types of foundation imperfection and the causes of these are quite varied. If there is any evidence of an imperfection in the foundation, have the entire foundation checked by a professional.

3. Odor

The presence of unappealing odors can mean many things in a home, the most common of these is mold. Biological problems like mold can be difficult to repair as it usually means an extensive amount of work to correct them. Ripping out walls is the most common “fix” for mold as it can be trying to find the source. Visible mold can be killed with bleach, but usually the problem runs far deeper than the surface. A professional inspector should identify any mold problems upon the necessary inspection and relate these to the realtor or home buyer.

4. Poorly Ventilated or Damp Attic

This is another factor that can cause large amounts of mold and dry-rot to develop in a home. Check the interior of the roof if it is accessible. Is it wet? If so, there is a problem. This means there is insufficient ventilation and/or a leak in the roof itself. The interior of a roof should be bone-dry, year-round. This could also be a result of fans from the kitchen or bathroom that vent into the attic and the attic is not properly set up to accommodate the moisture that this generates.

5. Discoloration

The discoloration of portions of the walls or ceiling is a good indicator of leaks and seepage. This could indicate a problem with leaking roofs or plumbing pipes. This can be an extremely expensive problem to fix as it usually involves cutting into the walls and/or ceilings. Leaks such as this can also cause a fire hazard as they may interfere with the existing wiring. Be mindful of fresh paint as this is a common way to cover up spots that show water damage.

6. Electrical Work

One of the largest causes of electrical fires in homes is D.I.Y. Electrical work. Check the connections on fixtures and anything that appears to be added post-construction. Electrical work should never be done by an unqualified individual. For instance, check the main electrical panel, does it look unorganized and sloppy? This is one indication that the home’s electrical work may have been done by a non-certified individual. Haphazard wiring can lead to costly repairs and is a definite danger to the homes and residents.

7. The Property Itself

The Property itself can contain many oft-overlooked problems. In particular the landscaping of the property can affect the home itself and particularly the foundations. Is the property sloped away from the house? The high point of the property should always be the house itself. This assists in drainage and presents water problems. If the land slopes downward towards the home, chances are there will be issues with water and seepage.