When you’re buying a new home, visiting open houses, and scheduling viewings with your real estate agent, you probably look at the same things in every house. Kitchen size and appliances are popular, as is the layout and the overall feel of the bathroom. However, buyers tend to overlook a few things that can cause them some problems down the line. Here’s a checklist of five things you need to watch for and the reasons why.
#1 – The Fireplace and Chimney
Chimney fires can easily lead to devastating house fires, so when you’re out looking at homes, be sure to look at the condition of the fireplace and chimney. If possible, find out the last time the fireplace and chimney were cleaned, too. If it’s been a while, or if these fixtures are in disrepair, you may be able to get the seller to come down in price so that you can make the necessary repairs or schedule the maintenance yourself.
#2 – The Gutter System
The roof is an important area of concern among buyers; they want to know the materials used and the last time the roof was replaced. Unfortunately, they forget to find out about the gutter system, which ultimately plays a huge role in the overall health of the roof. Gutter systems should be in good repair, a proper size, and properly installed. Otherwise, you might find yourself dealing with a leaky roof or worse – a cracked foundation – within a few months of moving in.
#3 – The Attic and Crawlspace
Believe it or not, very few potential buyers check out attics and crawlspaces before making offers on homes. The adage “out of sight, out of mind” is certainly true in this case. The attic and the crawlspace can tell an important story, so be sure to inspect them carefully. Look for things like signs of moisture damage and rot, which can indicate a serious problem. Make sure that you also look in corners and crevices for potentially deadly black mold.
#4 – Breaker Boxes & Outlets
People move into homes that have been strangely wired every single day. Though its common for multiple rooms to be on the same breaker switch, it’s also common for those switches to be overloaded, causing issues for the family living in the house. Check the breaker box, and if necessary, call in an electrician to go over the layout and ensure its safety. Count the number of outlets in each room and make sure they’ll suffice – and make sure they work, too. Electrical work can be incredibly expensive, so it’s important to have a good idea of what’s going on before you make an offer.
#5 – The Walls and Foundation
People spend most of their time looking at the interior of a home, so it comes as no real surprise that foundation issues are commonly overlooked. Look for things like cracks and shifting, which are indicative of expensive and potentially catastrophic issues. If possible, check the basement walls for cracks, and be sure to look for moisture while you’re there, too.
When buying a new home, the kitchen, bedrooms, and bathrooms are the main attractions, but it’s important that you look at every fine detail to avoid getting stuck with expensive repairs. The five commonly overlooked issues above are good places to start.