HIRE AN INSPECTOR! The only safe way to avoid buying a property lemon is to get a home inspection, pest inspection, or any other mechanical inspected within the house, make sure it is conducted by a qualified specialist. In the meantime, pay close attention to the structure when you view a property. Cracking in the walls or plaster indicates subsidence, which is one of the most expensive defects to fix. New homes are not immune . Inadequate soil testing and hastily built foundations without proper grading can cause a new home to crack and fail.
LOOK FOR WATER DAMAGE! When water gates into a property over a sustained period, you can expect major structural damage. Rust on the roof or gutters, sagging gutters, and wall paint that`s bubbling or peeling away from the walls usually a leaking roof. Other signs of water damage include damp patches, discoloration, rotten base boards, peeling wallpaper, and pervasive smell of mold.
CHECK THE APPLIANCES! To check for rusting pipes or poor water pressure, just turn on the water and see what comes out. If the water is brown, you have got rust. If the water is gushing or trickling you have got a water pressure issues. When it comes to electrical, poorly installed or poorly maintained electrical are a fire hazard. Older properties are particularity susceptible, but you should be on the lookout for dodgy wiring even in a new home. Red flags include blackened areas around power points and flickering lights. Finally in regards to the heating and cooling system, they are very high dollar expenses, so turn them on, check the age of the systems, and check to see if they are operating properly.
GET A HOME WARRANTY! No house is perfect, even new construction homes, so ask the seller to buy a home warranty and write this into the purchase contract. A home warranty pays out if your mechanical or electrical systems malfunction. Typically, it also covers the air conditioning, furnace, water heater, duct work, roof, plumbing, A/C, and electrical systems. If the home also has a pool it`s worth asking the seller to buy coverage for that too.
CHECK OUT THE NEIGHBORS! A property in good shape can still be a lemon if the neighbors drive you bananas. Check out the neighbors before you buy, cruise the neighborhood at night and see what the people on the streets are doing. Listen for barking dogs and late night parties. Local store owners are a good gossip, so ask what they know about the streets and the people who live there.
CHECK PERMITS! Building permits are required for most types of home improvements, from remodeling a garage , to adding a deck. Permits obtained over the life of the property indicates that the work was done by a legitimate contractor in compliance with local building codes. Conversely , a property that displays clear signs of improvements , such as new windows, but has no permit, is a red flag. There is a risk that the work is substandard and will end up costing you money to fix or bring up to code.
T ASSUME! If you are moving into a new area because you have heard it is peaceful, has great schools, low taxes, low crime rates, and so on, verify these assumptions. Otherwise, you may end up with freeway construction at the end of your street or find that your "low" tax bill is topped up heavily by special assessments. Let your local Realtor who knows your needs and concerns check into the crime statistics, county records,and key community information. After all, you can fix up a rundown property, but you are stuck with its location.