5 home-buying warning signs
Finding the perfect home for you and your family can be a struggle. You want to be close to work, in a good school district, far far away from your in-laws, etc. When you finally find a house with all of those elements, you might jump at the chance to make it your own — but don’t move too quickly. Make sure to check for some of these warning signs before buying a home.
1. Is the house in a flood zone?
It’d be awfully nice to live on the beach, but if your dream house is in a flood zone your insurance will be mighty expensive. Plus, it will be difficult to sell the house when the time comes. Remember that just because you’re not next to the Mississippi River doesn’t mean the house is safe from flooding. Check out flood zone maps of the area to verify that your dream house isn’t in danger of being swept away. You can do this by visiting msc.fema.gov.
2. What is up with these leaks?
Leaks might not seem like a big deal if they’re small enough to plug with scotch tape, right? Wrong. Leaks can indicate big problems that could be expensive to fix. A sink leak might seem small compared to a roof or pipe leak, but you never know how much something like that might cost you in the future until it’s too late. The whole point of buying a house is to put a good roof over your head, so don’t buy one that has missing shingles (or worse). Take a look at Home Advisor to see how much you might be spending on different kinds of repairs if you don’t catch them.
3. Why is the sink not draining?
Again, a slow-draining sink or a toilet that doesn’t flush might seem like a small issue, but it could be indicative of a larger plumbing problem. The same goes for bad water pressure or sagging floors. This is a big investment, so don’t be afraid to test everything out. All these problems could cost a lot of money, especially if you get into bigger issues like replacing the septic tank. Trust us, you don’t want to go there.
4. What if the switches aren’t working?
When a bulb goes out, it’s easy to replace. Wiring? Not so much. Outdated electric systems can be another huge issue for a homeowner. If you see wires that are exposed or if the realtor tells you the electric system is quite a few years old, that’s bad news for your wallet. Faulty or old wiring can be a fire hazard too, so make sure to take this one seriously.
5. What if there are cracks in the walls?
It’s normal for a home to set into the foundation a little bit, causing cracks. However, if you see horizontal or stair-shaped cracks, or cracks that are wider than ¼ inch, that’s not normal. Foundation repairs can be very expensive, so look carefully at any cracks to determine if they are going to be a problem.
Do I really need a home inspection?
The short answer is YES! Although they may not be required in all cases, home inspections give you the information needed to make an informed decision about your purchase. While cosmetic items may be reported, home inspections typically focus on major defects that could cost you a lot of money over the purchase price to repair. This gives you the advantage to negotatiate for seller credits or a reduced purchase price.
I think I’m ready to start the process!
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