We can all agree that purchasing a house is one of the biggest financial decisions that you will make in your life. When you’re spending that amount of money, you expect that the house will be in tip-top condition. Here is a list of five questions which will help you figure out if there are any problems with the house that need to be resolved before you buy it
1. Are their structural or foundational problems?
This is probably one of the most important questions you could ask. Structural or foundational problems are usually obvious to identify such as cracks in walls that extend floor to ceiling, sagging floors and a wet basement. There are less subtle signs like strange smells coming from the basement or unbearable indoor humidity. Cracks in the foundation can cause a chain reaction of issues such as water leaks. This can lead to a wet basement, which can cause molds and allergens to build up. One small crack isn’t going to cause all of this, but large cracks and multiple cracks can.
2. Are there any utility issues such as electrical, water, sewage?
Utility issues can be a nightmare and a hassle to fix. If you are ever having problems with your utilities, fix them immediately. Make sure the electrical system is not old or faulty, the water pipes are not made of lead and there are no problems with sewage because these are expensive to replace. The older the appliance, the better chance money will be coming out of your pocket to replace it in the near future.
3. How old is the roof and does it need to be replaced?
With the technology and knowledge we have today, newer roofs can last up to 50 years depending on the materials used. Old roofs are not so fortunate, and typically last 15-20 years. The material used affects longevity:
- Rubber roofing - 5-10 years
- Shingles - 20+ years
- Metal roofing - 25+ years
- Clay roofing - 40+ years
- Slate roofing - up to 50 years
Location also plays a role in the longevity of a roof. Roofs in harsher environments need to be replaced sooner.
4. Are there any pest problems?
This is one of the harder answers do identify when looking at a house but is still a great question to ask because you don’t want to inherit the seller’s problem once you move in. The most obvious signs of mice are droppings, smell and noise. If you spot droppings, smell ammonia/urine or hear the pitter-patter of mice then you know it’s not the home for you. The most common places you will see these are the kitchen, the garage and the attic. Be on the lookout for cockroaches, centipedes and termites as well.
5. Finally, how is the neighborhood?
What are the crime rates? What are the demographics? How are the schools? Are there nuisance factors such as heavy traffic, noisy freeways or a hospital down the street? These things can drive a person nuts and prevent them from enjoying their living experience. A home is a lot more than a structure held together by wood and nails. It is a part of the world stage that holds your stories, your memories and your milestones. Having the answers to these questions will give you a sense on whether this is the house that you will begin your stories.
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