These are super important items to check during home inspections.
As with anything pre-owned or used, you will want to inspect it before purchasing it. Buying a home is no different. In fact, buying a home will be one of the most significant investments in your life, making it even more important to inspect it before buying. Even though inspections are part of the process of purchasing a home, and done by professionals as part of the deal, it never hurts to have a good basic knowledge of what to look out for before signing the papers. This is especially true if you are a first time home buyer. It would be best if you understood that sellers will do practically anything to get a house sold, including cheap gimmicks. Therefore, you need to channel your “inner Sherlock Holmes” when house hunting. The following are some of the main points to avoid home buying mistakes.
Regardless of what features the home comes with, in terms of bells and whistles, etc. the house is useless if the structure is not sound. Therefore, start from the outside and work your way in. The main ones are:
Foundation: The foundation is the base, the part where the house sits on. What you’re looking for are cracks in the foundation, uneven floors, cracks in the walls, doors, and windows that don’t close properly.
Roof: Roofs are a bit trickier to inspect for most people. The thing to do is to ask about its maintenance history. Ask when was the last time the roof was replaced.
Insulation: Ask about insulation and if there are any leaky plumbing. Some houses may have high-quality windows and doors installed that help with insulation. Proper insulation is essential for both hot and cold climates.
Paint: Check and make sure the paint is in good shape. Some people may paint over damaged areas and even try to hide mold with paint. Ask about the age of the paint. Colors that were used before 1980 tend to have high amounts of lead in it, a health hazard. If this is the case, then try and negotiate a repaint with newer products.
Electrical: The rule here is that the older the house, the more critical it is to check the electrical health of the home. Poor wiring is the single most dangerous component in any house and should be taken very seriously. Safety standards for all things connected with electricity have changed over the decades. Your job is to make sure that all safety compliances have been met by the seller. Apart from safety, it won’t hurt to make sure all the switches and electrical outlets are working properly, which does not take an expert to do.
Plumbing: Close on the heels of electrical systems, plumbing is also an important aspect of a house, from a safety standpoint. If there are any leaky, broken pipes running through the walls, it can attract mold. Water stains on the floors, walls, and even the ceiling are signs of a problem with the plumbing. Areas where plumbing fixtures are used, such as bathrooms and kitchens, need a thorough inspection done to them.
Some Honorable Mentions to Avoid Home Buying Mistakes
History of the House: Try and find out how many owners the house you are looking at has changed hands over the years. If the number seems too high, then this could be a sign of a problem. According to the United States Census Bureau, the average length of ownership of a house is a little over eight years. Any number less than that should be used as an indication that the house may not be very desirable.
Noises: When you do a walk-around of the house, listen for outside sounds, to get a sense of how noisy the location is.
Smells: Don’t be shy about using your nose when inspecting the house. If the seller is using a lot of air fresheners, this could be a sign of them trying to hide something.
Waivers: If the seller refuses to show an area of the house before you sign the contract, then treat it as a problem. Some sellers may even offer to sell for less if you sign a waiver to cancel an inspection. However, never skip the inspection part, no matter what the offer is.
The 3 Rs: Last but not least, do not forget to ask about the 3 Rs of real estate. 3R stands for the report of residential building records, and it should contain all modifications and maintenance of the house, especially regarding important aspects such as electrical or structural work. If the 3R is not complete or up to date, then you must assume the house does not follow building code regulations.