Location, location, location. It’s the first rule of real estate and it’s usually the first thing people consider when looking to buy a home. Next might come the square footage, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms and so on. While these are all important factors, they don’t tell the whole story of your potential new home. Even homes in the best neighborhoods can come with tons of hidden — and often costly — maintenance issues. Yes, you’ll have a home inspection to help catch anything that doesn’t meet standards, but that comes at the end of the home buying process. Here is what to look for when buying a home.
Raise the Roof
One of the biggest features of any home is the roof. You need a roof over your head. Yet people tend to overlook the roof when thinking about buying a home. Worn or missing shingles are a good sign the homeowner may have experienced trouble keeping rain out of the house. A sagging roof line can indicate issues with the framing, or it could mean the sheathing below the shingles is rotten or saturated. It can be hard to diagnose roof issues without getting into the rafters, but considering how expensive roof repairs can be, it’s pays to learn as much as you can. When walking through a home be sure to look up. Water stained ceilings or tiles are a good sign the roof leaked in the past, and depending upon the severity and duration of the leak, it may have led to mold or rot.
Cracks in the foundation are signs of potential issues. Some minor, hairline cracks are normal. However, There are two types of cracks that can be a bigger concern:
- Stair-Step Cracks: These are a problem, especially if the wall is bulging. A clogged gutter or another water drainage issue is probably adding pressure to the wall.
- Horizontal Cracks: These are the biggest problem. Water saturated soil may have froze and expanded, or you have soil that expands when wet and shrinks when dry. These types of cracks tend to lead a homeowner to replacing the foundation.
There are other signs to watch for when walking through the home that may indicate settling or shrinking. There will always be some unevenness over time because every house settles. But, here are some warning signs to look for:
- Doors jam or do not latch
- Cracks are located in walls; over doorways, windows or where walls meet the ceiling
- Cracks between floor tiles
- Windows stick or won’t close easily
Protecting Against Pests
You’re buying a home for your family, not hundreds of tenants that don’t pay rent. Pests can be a serious headache, but thankfully they leave signs that are fairly easy to spot. Small holes in the drywall or exposed wood can indicate a termite infection, as can dry mud tubes along the foundation. Likewise, small piles of shredded paper are a good indicator mice or rats have moved in before you.
Age Before Beauty
Age is a topic best avoided when talking with your relatives, but it can also be one of the quickest ways to judge a home. The age of a home can indicate the likelihood of asbestos in the insulation or siding, outdated wiring in the walls or potential plumbing issues. Of course, as your youthful aunt likes to say, age is just a number. Just because a home is old doesn’t mean repairs and updates haven’t been kept up over the years. Still, it’s a good place to start as you look for signs of potential issues.
Save Money for Repairs
The best way to avoid issues is simply to ask as many questions as possible when touring a home. As you begin the home buying process, Homes for Heroes can help you search for a home, and in the process, save you significant money to be used for any future upkeep that may be necessary.
Sign up with no obligation and we’ll connect you with the Homes for Heroes specialists in your area. They can help you find exactly what you’re looking for in a home. When you purchase a house using our real estate, mortgage, title, and inspection specialists you save an average of $2,400. That money can go a long way to improving any part of your new home.
Ready to go from “just looking” to “just purchased?” Sign up with Homes for Heroes and see how we can help you buy a home and save you money in the process.