After years of hard work, watching the budget, and monitoring credit, consumers then look into purchasing a home of their own. However, there is more to home buying than just filling out paperwork, and consumers need to know a few tips about ownership before moving in. Here are two things to keep in mind:
- Inspections: Ask about accessing an inspection report from the seller or realtor before moving, if possible. If the report is not available at that time, have a home inspection done by a licensed professional to make sure that the foundation is solid, and the wiring is up to code.
- Location: Double-check to see if the unit is actually worth the asking price. Check out the neighborhood by visiting parks and businesses at various times of the day and week. See if the streets and buildings are clean and well-maintained. Also, the local police may have crime-mapping websites that show the areas of high activity, and property values are affected based on this information.
What To Look For When Buying
Before settling into a new house, the structural soundness and fixtures must be checked for durability and functionality. Enlisting the services of a licensed professional is a good idea in checking for unseen damages, but there are ways to identify problems beforehand.
- Structural (includes foundation): Random hairline cracks are nothing to worry too much about as long as they are not near appliances and fixtures. Big cracks are a problem, especially near windows, end-of-terrace walls, and where extensions join. These types of cracks may be indicators of rotten woodwork, mold, mildew, bacteria, insect infestation, or water leaks.
- Roofing: There are other factors to consider besides leaks when checking for roof damage. Look for missing and misplaced roof tiles and if there are gaps in the seams and edges. Most roofs have a life expectancy of only 15 to 20 years, depending on the materials used in construction.
- Heating and Cooling: Make sure the furnace system is up-to-date and energy efficient. Check units and radiators for leaks and rust for proper operation. When turned on, the unit should quickly heat up or get cold across the surface. Replacement or extensive repair of the unit is required when heating and cooling appliances do not run properly.
- Water Heater: One of the first signs of a faulty water heater is the presence of cracks in the unit and water leaks (e.g. puddles, streams), Strange noises like banging and gurgling come when operating. Colored, rusty, or cloudy water due to high mineral accumulation also comes out of the unit. Also, slow-moving or non-existent water flow is a sign of unit repair or replacement.
- Water Damage: Some hidden areas for water damage (mold, mildew, flooding, seepage, etc.) include under the kitchen sink, around the toilet, around the base of appliances that use water like washers and refrigerators, near the ceiling joists, and under the carpet. Strong or musty odors and damp spots on the walls and ceilings are good water damage indicators also.
- Wiring and Outlets: The sight of loose wires or exposed outlets is not to be taken lightly because they may be live and cause shock or fire. If the lights keep dimming or flickering and the circuit breaker trips often, there is an electrical short. Also, the smell of metal or burnt plastic and buzzing noises are clear signals that loose or faulty wiring is present.
- Land Area: The house is not the only area to take into account when looking for damages, but the lot the building was placed on could possess hidden dangers as well. See if the ground is level, prone to flooding, has suffered from wildfires, or is prone to sinkholes. The local property records department should have a history of occurrences on the lot.
Buying a house is most likely going to be the biggest investment for consumers, so using extreme care when reviewing the premises is a good choice before final purchasing transactions are completed.