The 4 Things No One Warns You About When You Buy a New Home
Homebuyers are often attracted to a prospective property by its external features. If they like the look and style of a house, they will inspect the interior to see if it meets their approval and is in good condition. Working with a real estate agent, they will probably walk through the home two or three times to check the layout of the rooms, HVAC, electric and water, and overall structure. But there are other things to be aware of and ask about before making a purchase offer.
Although the home’s foundation may look sturdy outside and solid indoors, there may be unseen cracks or crumbling that you should be aware of. Sometimes a foundation will shift due to various factors, like rain or melting snow runoff sloping toward the house instead of away from it. Age can lead to deterioration as well. Even if the foundation appears stable, ask the realtor about any known or suspected problems. Your realtor will also likely be present at the home inspection and can talk to you about anything that comes up.
Many insects and animals that invade a house are invisible unless you look for them. Termites and carpenter ants may be hard to spot until they start damaging structural wood. Bats and raccoons residing in the attic can go unnoticed as they are mainly nocturnal creatures. Look for tell-tale signs of hidden pests and ask the realtor if previous inspections have indicated their presence.
Mold comes in various forms and colors, with the worst being black mold. It is especially hazardous to the health of people with respiratory conditions like asthma, emphysema, or COPD. Sometimes mold grows behind the wall where it cannot be seen due to a water leak from plumbing or the roof behind an interior wall or a ceiling. You may be able to smell mold, but often it is undetectable. This is another concerning issue to be discussed with the real estate agent, who can ask the property owner.
A fireplace and hearth may look pristine and appealing without revealing internal chimney damage. The flue liner may contain accumulated creosote, a residual substance that builds up after periods of fireplace combustion, which is toxic and may lead to chimney fires if not inspected and cleaned regularly. Internal chimney damage could include broken bricks and a missing or malfunctioning chimney cap.
If you are interested in buying the home, have a home inspection done to check for issues like these along with the other areas of the property. It’s good to know up front about possible repairs or maintenance that will be needed.
Anita Ginsberg is a freelance writer from Denver, CO. She studied at Colorado State University, and now writes articles about health, business, family and finance. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family whenever she isn’t writing. You can follow her on Twitter @anitaginsburg
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