You’re in the market for a new home so you’ve pulled up to a house that’s for sale, but you’ve barely made it past the sidewalk when suddenly you realize you don’t really know much about houses. What should I be looking for when buying a house? What if this place needs costly repairs and I’m getting a bad deal? What if I miss some damage in a place I didn’t think to check? How can I tell if everything’s in good condition or if major home improvement projects are necessary?
Buying Without Home Improvement
It’s important that you come in with an idea of what you need to look at and what the potential trouble areas might be. Here is a home buying checklist of some key things to look for when judging the value of a new home.
Of course you want to keep your bills low, and you want to live in comfort. A well-insulated home will help ensure both of these needs are met. Before you buy, you should check to make sure that the heating ducts, attic, and water pipes have proper insulation—otherwise, your heating and cooling systems will have to work overtime to compensate, and you’ll be hemorrhaging cash in your utility bills each month. This also puts unneeded strain on those systems, and the added wear and tear could result in them breaking down and needing to be replaced sooner. These are very expensive to replace, so you’ll want to check them out the furnace and cooling system to make surethey’re in working order, and the insulation so that you know they’ll stay that way.
The kitchen and bathrooms might have nice counter-tops, good fixtures, and clean tile, but what lies beneath may be a nightmare waiting to happen. Be sure to investigate what’s under every sink while the water is running to check the pipes, keeping an eye out for drips. Leakage can cause water damage or, worse yet, mold, which poses serious health risks to anyone breathing that air, especially children, asthmatics, and the elderly. Replacing plumbing can be time-consuming and expensive, and if the fittings are seized up then the cost and difficulty of replacement will be even greater—so while you’re down there, make sure not only that things are in working order, but that if something does go wrong down the line, it won’t be any harder to fix than it needs to be.
The Surrounding Property
The building itself isn’t the only important thing to be looking at when looking for a home. You should also be checking out the rest of the property. Make sure that there’s sufficient drainage and find out if the area is prone to flooding. Conversely, if it’s a dry climate, you should know whether wildfires are an issue, and what the water usage regulations and rates are. If the property has fencing, make sure it’s been positioned and constructed properly and doesn’t have damage that needs repairs. Look at whether the property has trees providing the amount of shade you want, but also whether it has plants that might produce harmful or annoying allergens. If you garden, will you have a good space to do that? If you have children or pets, will the property accommodate them running around and playing? There’s as much to consider when looking at the land around the house as there is when looking inside the house.
Siding is more than just a nice façade for making a house look finished. It’s also your primary defense against the elements. Not only can old siding result in unnecessarily high energy bills, but it can also let moisture seep into your home, bringing with it mold, mildew, and fungus. If this has already started, you may notice loose wallpaper and peeling paint inside the house in areas with compromised siding. Otherwise, you’ll have to inspect the siding itself, making sure to walk all the way around the house. Sometimes problems are easy to spot; cracks and holes, warping, bubbles, and rotting are all obvious red flags that the siding needs to be replaced if you’re planning on moving in. This could be a larger home improvement project then you would like. But something as simple as severely faded paint can tip you off as well. Ask when the siding was last repainted—good siding holds color for 8 to 10 years, so if it’s been having to be repainted frequently, it may be time for replacement.
A New Roof
While you’re out there looking at the siding, you should also make an effort to evaluate the roof. Again, this is more than just an issue of making the house look nice—new roofing protects your house from serious and expensive repairs down the line. Like with siding, a damaged roof will let in water, leading to mold, leaks, and possibly even structural damage and flooding. If roof damage is left not repaired, water can move unexpectedly from a problem areas to other sections of the roof. A weakened roof will also be more vulnerable to damage from wind and hail. These problems can add up to thousands in repair bills, insurance claims and home improvement time, so it’s in your best interest to give the roof a good once-over. Similar to siding, if water damage has already begun you might see water spots on the ceilings inside. Otherwise, check the roof for obvious signs of disrepair. Missing granules and shingles; algae and moss growth; rotting roof decking; and buckling, blistered, or curled areas should all be taken as warnings that this roof needs renovation. Making sure your home has a new roof will not only save you from the financial and emotional burden of dealing with serious damage later on that you could have avoided, but can also factor into netting you a lower homeowner’s insurance rate.
These are a few of the things you can check out yourself when viewing a potential new home, but keep in mind that when you’re seriously considering a property you should call in a professional home inspector. A second set of eyes, especially one that is trained in what to look for, will ensure that you know what you’re getting when you buy a home you’re going to live in and love for years to come. If you are in need of a roofer in Huntley, St. Charles, Naperville or a nearby neighborhood – Contact Us Today!
Want to learn more about buying or renovating homes? Check out our other blog posts!