There’s nothing more exciting than looking at homes and finding the abode that’s perfect for you and your family. While a house may look ideal in pictures, it’s always best to see each home in person so that you can get a feel for the layout, the community, as well as any issues that may not have been obvious in pictures.
During your quest for your home, here are 5 problem areas you’ll want to check, especially when buying an older home. Looking at these items before purchasing can save you a lot of time, money, and frustration.
1. The Roof
Once inside of a home, take a look at the wall seams and the ceilings. If you notice any discolouration, this is a sign that there's likely a leak somewhere. While some leaks can be caused by plumbing issues, others are because of a faulty roof.
To confirm any roof issues, you'll want to have a licensed roofer come and examine the roof. Loose, cracked, or broken shingles may be a sign that the roof needs to be replaced. You'll also want to know about any issues with flashing or sunken areas.
Confirming roof issues before buying a home is a must. You don’t want to get stuck with a repair bill in the thousands of dollars!
2. Doors & Windows
Doors and windows may seem like small parts of a home, but they can have a serious impact on energy usage and temperature consistency throughout the house. When walking through homes, be sure to open all of the doors.
Do they open easily? Are the glass sliding doors noisy? Do all of the locks function? Doors that are tough to open and close or noisy likely have issues with the tracks or may be warped. You’ll want to have these looked at by a professional to see if the fix is simple or not.
Aside from the doors, it’s also important to test out the windows. Make sure that all of them open and close fully. The seal should be tight and you shouldn’t feel a draft when near the window. You’ll also want to ensure that the windows latch properly and that each of them has screens.
3. Foundation Issues
As a home settles over the years, the foundation is likely to develop hairline cracks. When looking at a home, don't forget to look at the exterior, especially the foundation! While small thin cracks are normal, large gaps may be a sign that there's a serious issue with the home's foundation.
Depending on the type of loan you’re using to finance the mortgage, a serious issue like this may need to be fixed before the owner can fix the home. However, it’s best to use your own eyes to pinpoint any potential underlying issues.
Aside from cracks, other signs of foundation issues include:
● Uneven floors
● Visible cracks around window frames
● Doors that stick/are hard to open
A problematic foundation can be a costly expense to take on as a new owner. Be sure to check for these signs and ask a home inspector if you notice any visible issues.
4. Floor Conditions
The condition of the floor says a lot about a home. If the floors are well-kept, you can almost guarantee that the rest of the home has been taken care of. When looking at the flooring, know what to look for to ensure you're not missing any hidden issues.
First look for any stains or discolouration, especially if the home has carpeting. When walking, be mindful of any soft or sunken spots that you feel as this may be a problem with the sub flooring.
For a home that has hardwood or engineered floors, look for cracks, chips, and loose boards. If the floors are in poor condition, you can consider asking the owners to refinish them or knocking down your offer price.
5. Mould & Mildew
Kitchens and bathrooms are perfect breeding grounds for mould and mildew. When wandering through the home, be on the lookout for mould and mildew stains around the sinks and bathtubs. You're also likely to spot discolouration in showers, especially near grout and caulk lines.
Gray or black spots may be a sign that a serious issue may be lurking.
While most mould and mildew are harmless and only occur because of high moisture, it never hurts to look. Homeowners who show their homes with this type of discolouration may not have taken the best care of it, so be sure to make note of these smaller issues as well!
Don’t let the excitement of potentially finding your dream home keep you from the serious side of home buying. Before signing the dotted line and making your purchase a reality, be sure to check for these 5 problem areas.
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