Buying a house – new or old is pretty overwhelming as it is one of the most significant financial decisions you’ll ever make in your lifetime. You need to undertake your due diligence, check your credit, and find a reputable realtor to close the deal. But this entire process is not as straightforward and in contrast, it’s pretty complicated and stressful. A lot of sellers out there deploy some sneaky things to make a house look better than it really is. So, there are a lot of ways you can mess up your home purchase by being overconfident and spontaneous.
However, you can protect yourself and your home purchase by becoming well-informed and avoiding common home buying mistakes. To help you out, we have compiled this list of top ten things never to forget to examine before buying a house (new or old).
Feeling intrigued? Let’s jump straight in.
1. The structural integrity of Roof
The roof is arguably the most important element to inspect before buying a house. Whether the roof is flat or sloping, it must not show any signs of water stains.
As flat roofs are prone to ponding, they must have a sloping screed to drain surface runoff and there must be no structural issues due to water damage. So, have a look at the roof inside of the house and identify leaks.
If the roof is sloping, check for the flashing, shingle condition, and the gutters; all must be in good shape. Check to see if any shingle granules are collecting in the gutters.
2. Water Drainage & Gutters
Water damage is a serious concern that can compromise the structural integrity of a house. If you find a damp wall around the house, it’s a telltale sign of water drainage and plumbing issues. So, have a look at the drains around the house. Just turn the tap on and see if the water is drained slowly. Slow drainage means a clogged drain or pipe and it will further create trouble if you don’t ask the seller for compensation.
Plumbing is another important functional aspect of any home. So, start off from the toilets that must not be leaking from the base. A leaking toilet can cause the subfloor to rot. Look for the warping or discoloration around the toilet’s base.
Now you can also have a look at the pipe size, the pressure of water you get when you open the tap, look for leaks under the sink, and check the color of water along with the water meter.
4. Foundation and Structural Issues
You should never try to buy a house that has foundation issues because it can be extremely costly to repair. A house must have a stable foundation and there must be no differential settlement. So, walk around the exterior perimeter of a house and have a look around the walls of the house from one end and look for areas that bulge or lean. Any such sign would indicate an uneven load on the foundation. The foundation and home walls should be flush and level.
Similarly, look for the cracks or separation of the walls from the foundation. If there are cracks of more than ¼ inch in size, it indicates a structural issue. To check the differential settlement, open all doors and windows. They should open and shut smoothly without any difficulty.
5. Electricity System
Although the electrical inspection includes specialized tasks there are some tips you can follow before giving a call to a professional. If the home you’re looking to is pretty old like 40 years or above, the electrical wiring must have been already compromised. Anyhow, look for the exposed wiring and splices.
If you find wire spliced or taped together and is not in a junction box, or you find some uncovered junction box; that’s an indication of some amateur electrical work. Look for the three-prong plugs (outlets) around the house, if it has, that means the house has grounded outlets that help prevent electrical shocks. You can check the service panels and subpanels for the circuit breaker or fuse boxes.
6. Quality of Flooring
The floor of any house takes the toll of everyday abuse and wear. A properly maintained and sealed floor is pretty important for a trouble-free foundation. The presence of excess moisture that comes from underneath the floor is serious trouble. Depending on the type of floor, you can undertake a visual inspection to see if a house has floor issues.
7. Waste System
Another crucial area of plumbing inspection is a sewer. You can obtain information about the sewerage system of the house like if it has a septic tank, find out where it is, what’s the size, look for the recent service date. If the septic tank is giving bad odors or there’s standing water around, that’s a telltale sign of a sewerage problem.
For a healthy and comfy environment, you need proper ventilation around the house. It not only removes bad odors and pollutants but it also controls how much moisture is lingering in your home. So, check if there’s a proper ventilation system in the kitchen and toilets. A good ventilation system is good for your health and your home. It prevents the growth of fungus and molds in your home and protects your allergies and breathing issues.
9. Improper & incomplete Property Documents
Before investing in a property, you have to look out for proper and complete property documents. You need to verify the documents like sale deed, mother deed, and plan of the property, encumbrance certificate, property tax receipts, and completion certificate. But it all depends on what type of property you’re buying and which local council you’re dealing in. So, check with your local council and take help from a realtor if possible.
10. Water Supply
So, while you’re living in a house you need to be pretty sure it gets an adequate water supply with proper pressure. First, check the source of water supply to the home. Well, this depends on the location where you’re buying a house. Well-established housing schemes have a proper water supply system and in such areas, you don’t have to worry much. But it is always good to get information about the water supply.