Inspecting a Home Before Buying

inspecting a home
Photo by Outsite Co

Buying a home can be stressful. Many people want to know the home they are buying will not become a money pit. When taking a loan for your home and using mortgage professional guidance, you will need to get a home inspection which costs about $450 +/-. Before you get to this point, there are things you can look for to determine if you even want to purchase the home. Also, these are things your home inspector may not look for, so it is important to do your own inspection.

10 Things to Inspect When Buying a Home

  1. HVAC Ducts and AC Units– check for mold. Ducting can be cleaned, and you may be able to negotiate this into the contract to be paid for by the seller. Mold can be caused by the wrong sizing but can be fixed by replacing the HVAC Ducts. Walk around the home and listen to the AC unit. Ask how old it is and make sure it is not full of debris. Test the thermostat and shut it off and on.

  2. Go to walk the home when it is a rainy day. Look for leaks and the drainage of the rain on the property. You want to see where the water flows on the property to see if there is an issue that will damage the property.

  3. FEMA Flood Maps – See where you are in relation to a flood zone to make sure you should not add flood insurance to your homeowner’s insurance policy.

  4. Cracks or Settling – Look for cracks on the wall, doors that will not close all the way or get stuck due to the door frame settling, garage door opening and closing without issue. All can be signs of foundation issues.

  5. Sink holes – Although this is not widespread in Texas, sinkholes are appearing due to dissolution of minerals and changes in subsurface water levels. The states of most damage from sinkholes tends to occur in Texas, Florida, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania. https://foundationtechs.com/world-and-usa-sinkhole-map/ can be used as a resource for maps.

  6. Sales History – There are so many resources for sales history. A free resource is through the county appraisal district for the county of the home you are considering purchasing. If you see it is bought and sold in short periods of time, there must be a reason why. Consult with your realtor and do you due diligence.

  7. Drive to the home at different hours of the day – Check your drive to and from the home during rush hours. Drive by on the weekend and look at neighborhood activity. Sit and park on the block at night to see if there are any noisy neighbors or other nighttime activity.

  8. Smell the Air – Each time you visit the home or drive by at various times, take a whiff of the air, especially if you see the property is being bought and sold frequently and you see no other issues. Check for any foul smells coming from surrounding areas to avoid buying a home with an odorous environment.

  9. Meet the Neighbors – Ask questions and let them know you are considering purchasing a home in the neighborhood. Ask for details you need to know before your buy. Ask the right questions to know if there are any pitfalls of buying the home.

  10. HOA – HOA’s are becoming more popular and assists builders on getting permits. Check out the HOA site and join the neighborhood Facebook groups and look for any issue with the HOA or lean about the neighborhood.

Protect Yourself

Typically, a person decides to purchase a home as a true investment but, if you do not do your due diligence, the home could end up costing you more than you expect. Make sure to do your own inspection and pay attention to every detail of the home.

Do not hesitate to ask questions or consult with your realtor on anything you see out of the ordinary. Be aware and read through all inspections. You can ask for minor repairs to be completed and added to the purchase contract so it will get completed prior to the purchase. This can be replacement blinds, repair a window pane, and other minor items you see within reason.

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