Buying a new house is exciting and a little bit terrifying, especially if it is your first time. The search for your dream home can quickly turn into a nightmare though if you are not careful. There is more to finding the perfect house than just checking out the superficial details such as the locations and layout, as making sure that the place is structurally sound is also paramount. Unfortunately, many buyers get caught up in the excitement and commit to a purchase because they are afraid it will get snatched away from them by other buyers. Even if you do a thorough inspection yourself, there is no guarantee that you will pick up on structural issues that a qualified expert will be able to spot a mile away. Here are a few things that new homebuyers commonly overlook in their rush to sign the contract.
Unless it is pouring rain when you take a tour of a prospective house, chances are you are not going to notice if the house has a leaky or otherwise damaged roof. If you are not trained in what to look for, it can be easy to overlook roof issues. Replacing or repairing a roof can be costly, especially if you spent all your savings on purchasing a house. Making sure the roof is in good condition is a critical step before going through with a purchase.
Problems with insulation can cause issues with the air conditioning, ventilation and heating of the house, which can be tricky to pick up on when doing a cursory inspection. Depending on whether you are checking out the place in the blistering heat of summer or the cold of winter, you might not even notice any problems during a walk-through. An independent expert will be able to tell you if the insulation is up to scratch and if the central air conditioning is working as it should. Discovering any of these issues after you have purchased the house can lead to thousands of dollars for repairs. Get an inspection so you don’t have any nasty surprises.
Problems with the house’s foundation are also easy to miss. You can usually determine if water running down the foundation walls or even into the basement is an issue by looking at the yard slope. If it slopes toward the house, you might run into problems. Issues with the foundation can manifest as bulges or cracks, so be on the lookout for these and inquire about any freshly painted or covered walls you notice as these could be disguising the problem. Although you might be able to spot the superficial issues, it is going to take an expert to really tell you if you’re likely to run into problems down the road.
Sometimes homeowners make updates to improve their home and inadvertently cause serious problems. If you notice that big alterations have been made to a house, such as walls that have been removed, it’s important to verify that the changes haven’t adversely affected the structural integrity of the place.
You can check for issues yourself by opening and closing all windows and doors to see if anything sticks or if there are big gaps visible between the doors and floors. These issues can all point toward larger problems, such as missing structural members or even a cracked foundation. But only a qualified expert will be able to properly evaluate the foundation and determine if there are problems. Fixing the visible problems might not be that expensive, but repairing the supporting structure of the house is much more costly.
Mold is typically a symptom of another issue with the house such as leaking pipes, improper ventilation or leaking roof. If mold is left untreated, it can cause damage and health problems. Because of humidity and other environmental factors, mold can be present even if the house is structurally sound. But it’s a good idea to have the home professionally evaluated to see if there are dangerous molds and what the root cause may be. Because mold breaks down organic material, you can be setting yourself up for a lot of costly repairs if you buy a house with a serious mold problem.