Knowing the things to look for when buying a home will give you the knowledge and information necessary to proceed confidently to purchase a home.
If you’re serious about buying the property it pays to be thorough and a few simple maintenance checks can sometimes make the difference between buying your dream house and stepping into a costly nightmare.
There are some very important things that should be checked before signing the papers to buy a new home. Of course, you’ll have a professional do an inspection and look over the place to make sure the home is termite and flood damage free, but these 10 things fall into a different category; the immediate to-do list, which is something you may not want to be adding to right now.
Even though there will always be cosmetic changes to make to a new home, trying to avoid costly repairs upon first moving in is always wise. Being able to save that money for the dining table of your dreams (or simply for gas and groceries!) is a big deal. Here are a few suggested checks before you sign the papers and inherit all of the previous tenants past problems.
1. Check The Drains: This might sound silly, but we’ve had two homes with the same issues in the last several years. Somewhere between the house and the sewer line, there’s a backup. Usually tree branches or a collapsed pipe, but either way, it’s hard to spot unless you run a load of laundry, fill up the tub and sinks and let them all attempt to drain at the same time.
2. Open All The Windows: Replacing windows isn’t fun and it isn’t cheap either. Open them all to find out if they stick, are stuck or just plain old won’t open.
3. Turn On All The Faucets: Although changing out faucets isn’t exactly rocket science it’s always a pain to lay under a cabinet and reach for the sky with funny tools to get things removed. Just check to make sure they all work before buying to eliminate the back ache.
4. Light A Fire In The Fireplace: Even though chimneys are usually installed by professionals, that doesn’t mean they’re always in pristine shape. Cleaning them is as simple as a phone call to a local chimney sweep, but finding out if all the fireplaces in the home draft correctly is another.
- Ceilings, Walls, and Floors:Examine and inspect all ceilings, walls and floors inside the house, looking for evidence of leaking or water damage. Examine drywall for evidence of damage and pulling away from interior wall framing. Check for cracks in walls and ceilings, which could indicate structural damage to the house. Walk over all floor surfaces to notice any spongy or weak areas in the floors. Check floors to see if they slope at an angle in any rooms.
6. Flush The Toilets: Knowing that all the toilets in the home can handle toilet paper is a bonus. Although they’re easy enough to replace or fix, finding ones that flush well are a bonus. If you’re dissatisfied they could issue you money back to make the replacement in order to get you to sign on the dotted line!
7. Open The Electrical Panel: A clean and labeled panel is a happy panel. Something that looks like squirrels got up inside can signal trouble. Look for loose wires or ones that simply don’t connect to anything. It could signal that there are live wires inside the walls!
- Turn On The Heat/Air: Knowing that both of these things work prior to actually needing them can be a serious bonus. Check to make sure they blow their respective temperatures in addition to just turning on.
- Showers or Baths: Try to look at the walls backing onto these areas for any signs of moisture penetration or water leaks. This is not a structural defect but can be a costly maintenance item for repair.
10. Check inside the cabinets in all the wet areas:All cabinets should be opened to detect if there is a smell of damp, mold and mildew. Any damp smells can be an indication of water leaks or even rising damp.