Top 10 Warning Signs When Buying a New Home

in Home-improvement

Prospective homeowners like to imagine that every home they see is in perfect repair, but the truth is, that's not the case.  Here are ten things to watch out for, from the roof down.

#1) Roofs and Gutters

Look at the roof carefully.  Are there a lot of damaged shingles?  Are there a mix of new and old shingles?  Look closely at the gutters as well; look for rust, clogs, and other signs of ill repair...or fresh paint, which could be a sign of hasty repair.  Also ask to look in the attic to see the roof from the underside; they may have fixed the outside, but not the inside.

#2) Water Damage

Look for signs of potential water damage: undrained areas on the property, cracks in the driveway or walkways underneath gutters, and definitely look for cracks or leaks in the basement.

#3) Electrical Problems

Ask to take a look at the fuse box.  If it looks older, ask if they have modern wiring or knob and tube wiring, or if the wiring has been replaced recently in the house.  If the answer is no and it looks old, be careful: the wiring may not be able to handle the electrical load of modern appliances.

#4) The Floors

Here's a test that seems odd but will make sense when you try it: jump up in the living room.  Does the floor flex underneath you, or does it solidly support your weight?  If it flexes, the house may be structurally unsound.

#5) The Water Heater

Check the water heater closely for signs of rust, damage, or bad installation.  For example, any water supply pipes to the heater should be copper: accept no substitutes.

#6) Insulation

You need at least six inches of fiberglass insulation in warmer areas and twelve inches for more temperate areas.  Pop off a light fixture, take out a flashlight, and take a look.

#7) Ventilation

Does the home have central air and heat?  If not, what heating system does it use?  Ask the current owners how much they paid in a given year in heating bills.  Also check the weather stripping and window seals by holding a piece of paper in front of them: if it moves, the doors and windows aren't sealed properly.

#8) Fixtures

Look closely at the age of the fixtures: old fixtures may betray a lack of overall maintenance, while extremely new fixtures on an otherwise older kitchen and bathroom may betray some last minute tidying up.

#9) The Carpets

If it has wall to wall carpet, check around the vents to see if its been properly attached to the floor.  Look for obvious glue above the carpet, or tacks sticking up through the rug itself.

#10) The Homeowners and Real Estate Agents

Most of us are not exactly slick when it comes to lying, and we get more nervous the more we think somebody is onto us.  If a homeowner or agent starts getting nervous when you ask questions and put the house through its paces, that's a bigger warning sign than any of the above.

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Dan Seitz has 1 articles online

Dan Seitz is a regular contributor at the Gutter Helmet Blog.

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Top 10 Warning Signs When Buying a New Home

This article was published on 2012/03/07