8 Ways to Spot Dealbreaker Problems Before You Buy a Home

If you’re buying a resale home, it’s important to understand that there’s really no such thing as the “perfect home”. Every house has at least one problem… but the good news is that most problems are small and fixable, and might even help you negotiate a lower price when it comes time to make an offer. Some problems, however, can be signs of costly repairs looming down the road. Here are 8 ways to spot a dealbreaker problem.

1. Examine the Roof

luxury home with new roofBefore you even step inside, take a look at the roof. Are there shingles missing? Holes? Caves? Or does the roof seem to be new or in good repair? Keep in mind that new roofing or roofs constructed from stronger materials can mean lower homeowner’s insurance due to increased protection from wind and weather.

2. Inspect the Structure

checking windows for cracksA solid foundation is paramount to a good-quality home. Check for sizable cracks especially around window or door frames, as these can start to bow out if the foundation shifts too much. Other signs include sticking doors or windows and uneven flooring.

3. Observe the Flooring

scrutinizing wood flooringWe don’t just mean hardwoods versus carpet. Take a closer look for things like gaps in tiling, stains or water damage, or sloping, uneven floors. Check for pet stains or signs of flooding, as well as uneven or sloping flooring.

4. Scrutinize the Systems

check the heaterHow old are the appliances? How about the heating and cooling systems? The plumbing? Electrical wiring? Test everything—flip switches, turn on faucets, flush toilets, taste the water, turn on the heat or A/C. Look at the insulation in the attic and around pipes and heating ducts. Check for signs of poor ventilation, like condensation on windows or bubbled or peelings paints around windows and doors. Inspect windows—to they stick? Are they crooked? Have they been properly installed?

5. Survey for Mold & Water Damage

check the showerCheck under sinks, around toilets and showers, and around plumbing and caulking for signs of leaks or prolonged water damage, as these could indicate plumbing problems. You’ll also want to look at walls and ceilings for water lines and pipes for rust.

6. Explore the Land

check the showerSure, it’s important how big the backyard is and whether the garden has been maintained, but more important is making sure your new home doesn’t sit in a potential flood zone. Look for nearby water or land of low, marshy elevation.

7. Smell & Observe

investigate strong scentsAs you’re investigating all the details, don’t forget to do a little sniffing. Do you smell anything that doesn’t belong, like gas, sewage, cigarettes, mold/mildew, or pets? Also beware of strong odors of perfume, candles, or potpourri, as these could be used to mask other smells. As you smell, look for signs of smoke damage, pet accidents, or mildew.

8. Always Get a Second Opinion

home inspectorEven if you think you did a pretty thorough investigation, a professional home inspection is a must. Having a professional spot a potential problem before you buy a home can save you thousands down the road. Do yourself a favor, and trust a pro to ensure that the foundation is solid, the wiring is up to code, and there won’t be a problem with lead paint, termites, or other pests.

Thinking of Buying a Home in Canton, Plymouth, or Novi, MI?

If you’re thinking of buying a home in Metro Detroit or southeast Michigan, then it’s time to contact the Knight Team. As your local real estate experts, we’re here to help you explore the community, learn more about buying a home, and find the perfect place to call home. Call us today and let’s get started.

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