When you enter the home buying process, you need a game plan. There’s something to be said for leaving your options open, but failing to plan is a major mistake. Not only could you miss out on finding your dream home, but you could also make a bad choice and end up purchasing a house that’s nothing more than a money pit.
5 Deal Breakers to Avoid
Everyone has their own process of looking for a house. Some people like driving around and looking at for-sale signs, others browse Zillow, and some just ask their agent to bring them listings to review. Regardless of your approach, you need to have a list of “deal breakers” so that you know when to walk away from what could potentially be a bad deal.
Here are a few deal breakers to be aware of:
- Foundation Issues
There are home repairs…and then there are expensive home repairs. One of the most expensive and invasive home repairs you’ll ever deal with is foundation repair. If you see a home and notice foundation problems…run!
A home inspector will detect most foundation issues, but it’s a good idea to keep your eyes open when touring properties. Some common signs that a home’s foundation is wonky include: moisture in the basement or crawlspace, cracked or bowed walls, cracked ceiling, crooked doors and windows, cracked chimney, and uneven or sagging floors.
- Old Roof
The other big-time expense a homeowner can incur is a roof replacement. Most roofs last between 20 and 25 years, but a poorly constructed one might just hang on for 15-17. And while it’s smart to ask about the age of a roof, you should also conduct a visual inspection to be sure it isn’t falling apart.
Some signs that a roof needs to be replaced include curling and buckling shingles, missing shingles, valleys in the roof, the presence of shingle granules in the gutters, and chimney flashing.
- Flood Zone
Something you might not think much about is zoning. Particularly, most homebuyers don’t spend a lot of time considering whether houses are part of a flood zone. However, experienced homeowners will tell you that you should.
Buying a home in a flood zone – particularly one that’s considered a high risk area – can increase you insurance costs tremendously and cause you to have more difficulty reselling in the future. In addition to researching zoning regulations, ask around and consider having a study done to see how much of an impact flooding could have on the property.
- Deteriorating Plumbing
When you look at the guts of your home, you have your electrical, HVAC, and plumbing. While the first two get a lot of attention, plumbing can sometimes get swept under the rug. Unfortunately, redoing plumbing in your house can be an expensive task. And if there’s a major repair needed on a sewer line or septic tank, you could be looking at $25,000 or $50,000. Always have a licensed home inspector or plumber review a home’s system before putting in an offer.
- Terrible Neighbors
Finally, you should never buy a house if there are clearly terrible neighbors next door. The house can be everything you dreamed it would be, but you’ll be miserable if you’re constantly at odds with the neighbors.
You obviously can’t tell everything about the neighbors without actually meeting them, but try your best. Do they take care of their yard? Can you talk with other neighbors to see what they’re like? Do they seem polite?
These 3 Things Are Fine
While you never want to buy a house with serious issues, you can’t afford to be super picky. You’re never going to find the perfect house and turning down suitable options because of minor cosmetic imperfections will prolong your process and leave you feeling miserable. Certain things can be fixed without much time or money. Here are three of them:
- Bad Landscaping
Bad landscaping can turn you off from the moment you pull in the driveway, but try to see past the mess. Overgrown shrubs, weeds, dead limbs, and debris in the yard are eyesores, but they can be fixed pretty quickly. For a few hundred dollars, you can hire a professional landscaping crew to come out and give your landscaping a facelift in a matter of hours. (You could even do it yourself if you have the time and the equipment.)
- Old Appliances
Everyone likes a nice, modern kitchen. There’s something about a newly renovated kitchen that makes a house seem so much more luxurious and comfortable. However, the good news is that the kitchen can also be renovated very cost-effectively.
One thing in particular that you shouldn’t worry too much about is an old appliance – such as a dishwasher, oven, or refrigerator. Sure, they may be inefficient and look out of place, but they can be replaced. Don’t let something as silly as an outdated appliance turn you away from a house.
- Dated Flooring
Flooring is another thing you shouldn’t worry too much about. These days, carpet, linoleum, and even hardwood or composite flooring can be refinished or replaced without much of a fuss. It can provide an instant upgrade and make even the oldest homes look new.
If you notice dated flooring in a house, make comments about it and give the seller a lower offer on account of the fact that it’ll need to be upgraded. Then, have a flooring company scheduled for the day you close on the property. You’ll be moved in by the end of the week.
Contact Green Residential
Buying a home is a very emotionally draining task. While there’s a lot of excitement and anticipation, there are also some nerves and angst that come with selling your current house and moving your family into a totally new place. At Green Residential, we make this process a little bit easier and less painful for Houston-area families. Contact us today to find out how we can help.