Are you a first-time home buyer? Congratulations! This time in life is exciting and almost a rite of passage in American society. Finally owning your own home will feel satisfying after renting property from others. A word of caution as you begin the home-hunting process: be careful when looking at homes and keep your eyes open for flaws or problems. First-time home buyers often find themselves looking at homes with rose-colored glasses and can be easily taken advantage of if they are not careful. While most issues should be discovered during an inspection, there may be things left undiscovered that could still cause you a huge headache. We’ve put together a few warning signs or things that all first-time home buyers should know before they go through with the purchase.
- Look for evidence of issues with the foundation. Repairing a foundation is no easy task and will cost a lot of money, so you want to avoid any issues to begin with. Some signs that there may be a problem with the foundation are doors and windows that stick, large cracks visible in the foundation (small cracks are normal and are a result of the house settling as it naturally will), cracks around the windows, or uneven floors.
- Pay attention to unusual scents or odors. Even though it may seem strange, it is a good idea to sniff in each room to detect the presence of mold, mildew, water damage, pet accidents, smoke, etc.
- Ask about flood risks. Some areas are more prone to floods and may even be impossible to purchase flood insurance. Previous floods may have damaged wood framing or caused insulation to mold. Ask about the history of the house and if there have been any flooding problems.
- Investigate the energy efficiency of the home. A home that is not energy efficient will cost more to keep warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
- Keep an eye out for areas that the homeowner might have tackled as DIY projects. While some homeowners do a great job with these, some do not. Their work may end up needing to be replaced, and you want to make sure you are aware of what this may cost you.