If the time has come to sell your current home and move on, or to buy a house for the very first time, it may be tempting to let your heart play a significant role in the decision-making process.
For example, perhaps you’ve always dreamed of an elegant New York brownstone with high ceilings and period features, or a beautiful ranch house in the Vermont countryside, with a pond and mature fruit trees.
If you were then to stumble upon a property that seems to tick all the right boxes, you may be tempted to put in an offer right away. However, buying a new home is not all that different from buying a second-hand car; while a house may look perfect on the outside, it may be concealing a host of potentially serious problems on the inside.
To help you find the ideal home – and to prevent you from letting sentiment prevail over reason – here are commonly found problems to look out for as you hunt for your dream house.
Symptoms of faulty plumbing can indicate a major problem that may require significant expenditure to fix, so it’s important to be aware of them when you are viewing properties.
In particular, look out for any indications of leaks, such as bulging wallpaper or warped floorboards, and test the water pressure in the faucets and showerhead. Dripping faucets can also indicate an issue, although they are usually easily fixed.
Termites are one of the biggest problems any homeowner can face, and cost US households billions of dollars worth of damage on a yearly basis. Unfortunately, they can be hard to spot if you’re not sure what you’re looking for. Tell-tale signs include jamming windows and doors, hollow-sounding wood, dry wings, and, of course, their droppings, which are brown and rounded in shape.
While they can be effectively exterminated with the help of an experienced termite control service, getting to grips with an infestation is probably not something you want to do while moving house.
When you are viewing properties, it is essential that you look out for warning signs of structural damage or defects, as this kind of problem could prove to be a significant financial burden. Depending on the extent of the damage, the house may even be unfit for habitation.
Symptoms of structural damage to look out for include visible cracks in plaster or brickwork; bulging walls; a roof that sags or leaks; and uneven floors. If a property you’re considering shows any of these signs, it’s probably best avoided.
Finally, before you commit to buying a house, you should assess the quality of the ventilation. Poorly ventilated homes can cause an array of problems – not only for the house but for its inhabitants. Look for warning signs such as condensation on the windows, rusting pipework, discolored grout and tiles, and mildew or mold on walls and windows.
Finding a suitable new home can feel like something of a lottery, particularly if you’re a first-time buyer. As a result, it’s important to be vigilant whenever you view a potential property and look for signs of something being amiss.
While many problems can be easily fixed, others can prove to be more costly, or perhaps even dangerous, so you need to make sure a house is really worth the effort before signing on the dotted line.