When you see what appears at first glance to be your dream house, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement. But it’s important to take a step back before moving forward and make sure that your dream house won’t turn out to be a nightmare. You should take the time to look for these five tell-tale signs that you shouldn’t buy that house.
A well-maintained roof can last for at least 20-30 years, but if it’s not well taken care of, or was installed improperly in the first place, it won’t last even close to that long.
Ask the seller when the roof was put on, and take some time to inspect the gutters to ensure the drainage system is working properly. Look for signs of dry rot, cracked or missing shingles, or darker patches that might indicate leaks that are holding moisture. A new roof can cost between $10-30,000.
Plumbing, like electrical systems, tends to be hidden behind the walls and that makes it a bit more difficult to assess and be certain of its state. Water stains, sagging floors and mildew are the most obvious outer signs of potential plumbing problems. Sewer lines and septic tanks are likely culprits for expensive repairs, so ask when those were put in and if there are any problems.
Run water in the kitchen and bathrooms to confirm good water pressure. In the bathroom, turn on the bathtub and sink, then flush the toilet – if the water pressure drops, it’s not a good sign. Also ask about the age, location and condition of the water heater.
If the basement has a damp, musty smell, there’s likely a problem with moisture. If there’s a dehumidifier, rust inside the furnace where the base touches the floor, this also indicates a wet basement. A fresh coat of paint, particularly if the basement is unfinished otherwise, is also a red flag that the owners are probably trying to hide mildew and mold problems.
Another clue to trouble is if there is nothing on the floor.
An outdated electrical system can be a fire hazard. Check the main fuse box, and look for exposed wires or wires that don’t seem to lead to anything. Look for black marks around switches and outlets, and ask when the electrical system was last updated.
The house’s history
Was it once the scene of a crime? Were all additions, repairs, and renovations done properly, by licensed contractors with quality materials? Why were additions, repairs or renovations done – because they wanted to or because the home flooded, burned, or had other issues? Did someone die in the home? These are small details that you might not even realize bother you until they’re disclosed. And they may not be disclosd unless you ask, so make sure to ask.
A home that looks beautiful at first glance can seem like a dream come true. But before you start planning where the furniture will go, make sure that it’s not a nightmare in the making. A few simple checks and some questions can ensure that your dream home can be a wonderful place to be for years to come.