Finding your new home should be a time of excitement in your life. However, it’s also one of those times when you should remember the phrase ‘buyer beware’ in terms of hidden issues in the home. Most of the time, sellers will be upfront with you regarding the home, but unfortunately, there’s always an exception to the rule. Here’s a quick look at a few of the things you should keep an eye out for to ensure you don’t end up in a home with issues.
We all want to live in the safest neighborhoods to ensure that our families remain safe. This means that you shouldn’t allow the fantastic curb appeal of a home to keep you from glancing around at the other houses in the area. Are there a lot of them for sale? Why would that be? Do businesses in the area seem to be thriving? Are there a lot of people out walking around or does the area seem a bit vacant? Stay away from those that appear to be empty. If all the families have left, there’s more than likely a good reason.
Gutters, sinking foundations, poorly maintained walkways, and cracked fence posts are just a few of the clues to look for that will tell you that the maintenance of the home hasn’t been kept up with. Once you’ve gotten into the home to look around, check for things like the tiles, ceilings, and floorboards for proper maintenance.
When you’re touring a home, ask if you might turn on and off the faucets. Checking these can help in the determination of whether or not there are any sort of leaks – which could lead to expensive water damage. Additionally, it will let you know whether or not the water pressure will meet your expectations. You might also want to give the toilet a flush to see just how quickly all of the water drains out and the bowl fills back up.
Windows are both aesthetically pleasing and functional, and can also be a source of hidden problems with older homes. Keep this in mind on your home tour and look to see if the windows happen to be triple or double-paned. Put your hands near the windows to find out whether there’s any cold or warm air coming in through the windows. Also, make sure they have locks that are secure.
Are there candles burning in each of the rooms? If there are, it might be in an effort to mask some sort of internal odor. If the structure has recently had to deal with things like water damage or mold, the sellers may attempt to cover up those smells by spraying air fresheners, lighting incense, or burning candles. Also, check outside for odors. This is critical in more urban areas, where smells from local restaurants may wend their way into the yard.
Finally, keep an eye out for any emotional defects the house may have. Are you aware that sellers aren’t made to disclose things like whether deaths or murders have happened on the site? That being said, they absolutely must tell you if you or your realtor asks them directly. Check the laws in your state on variations of that though.
Also, have in mind answers to a variety of questions, like the number of baths and bedrooms you want/need, storage space required, large or small kitchen, and other features. You’ll be in this house for many years, so it’s critical to get what you like and will fit your lifestyle and needs.