Buying your first home is a major milestone worth celebrating. But before you sign on the dotted line and break out the champagne, you’ll need to become a savvy home shopper.
It can be a daunting process, so be sure you are working with a Realtor you trust. Granted, your home inspector will likely make note of cracks in the foundation or water stains on ceilings or walls, and should catch any major potential problems, but you can save yourself some money – and stress – by being aware of some sneaky signs of a possible hidden problem – something you might not find out about until you’re several mortgage payments in if you’re not paying attention now.
Here are 6 Red Flags to look for when viewing potential homes:
Outside the House
Touring potential homes is exciting whether you’re buying your first home or your fifth. Although you’ll be eager to check out the inside of a house, rushing to the front door without taking a good look at the outside of the house might cause you to miss some important red flags. Instead of racing inside, take a long look at the front of the home as you get out of your car. Then walk all the way around the perimeter. Make note of the following:
Bent or clogged gutters
Gutters have a very specific job: to channel water away from the house. If they don’t perform, water can seep into the foundation causing serious damage. While clogged gutters can signify a bigger problem, all isn’t necessarily lost. A quick inspection can determine whether the gutters are simply a bit overdue for cleaning or if the problem has been there long enough to cause serious damage. At that point, you’ll need to find out how the extent of the damages, what they’ll cost to fix and whether to add that into the contract. Maplewood Plumbing offers downspout cleaning services for those particularly stubborn clogs.
Debris-filled outdoor drains
Take a peek at the outdoor drains as you walk around the outside of a house you’re interested in buying. Drains cluttered with debris, dirt, and/or leaves, could be a sign of neglect by the current homeowner. Plumbing maintenance isn’t relegated only to the inside of your home. Outdoor pipes, vents, and faucets need attention, too. [Read 7 tips for keeping your outdoor plumbing up to par.]
Realtors and home owners sometimes light candles or bake something delicious just before an open house or a home showing to make their house smell inviting. But that delicious scent doesn’t typically travel down to the basement, or into bathrooms at the back of the house. Even a faint sewer smell can signify a problem. It might be just the lack of a plumbing stack cover, but it could also be an improperly vented fixture, the repair for which will require a professional plumber.
Inside the House
Now that you’ve done your due diligence outside, it’s time to check out the inside of the home. Don’t get too caught up in the décor—love it or hate it, most decorating choices are unique to homeowners, and are simple enough to change. While you walk through each room, look for these potential red flags:
Poor water pressure
As you walk through the kitchen and bathrooms, turn on the cold water by itself, and then the hot. Does the water pressure seem normal? Weak hot or cold water pressure in just one faucet could be a sign that the fixture needs to be cleaned or replaced. But if all the faucets have weak pressure, there could be a leak, obstruction or build-up in the plumbing, which will require the help of a professional.
Fresh paint could signify a problem? Maybe—if only certain areas of a home have been freshly painted, it could be a sign that the homeowner is trying to cover up signs of water damage, rather than simply redecorating. Look closely for bubbling or flaking paint or loose, peeling wallpaper. These are clear signs of water damage.
Carefully inspect kitchen and bathroom faucets. If the base is coming loose or the caulk is deteriorating, you might have uncovered a leak. Whether it will require a simple fix or results in a bigger plumbing project can be determined by a professional plumber.
Whether you’re purchasing a one-bedroom cottage or a sprawling estate, every house is in need of regular care and maintenance. Our website is chock full of helpful tips and advice for taking care of everything from a minor leak to a major overhaul. In need of immediate plumbing services? Give us a shout at email@example.com now.
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