While the thought of moving into a new home is an exciting one, most people want to skip all of the steps that come with the process and start setting up their new space. Sometimes the process can be so long that as soon as you find what seems to be the perfect home, you may want to sign the papers immediately so you can be done with this step. However, just because this house looks like it could be your perfect match, doesn’t mean that it is, and your overeagerness could end up costing you hundreds of thousands of dollars if you don’t ask the right questions. Therefore, here are the top five things to ask the seller before you sign on to your new home.
1. Roof Damage
You might be so busy swooning over the gourmet kitchen that the roof never crossed your mind. And while the roof isn’t exactly one of the first things that you think about when you’re looking for a home, it’s a vitally important piece of the house and worth taking the time to ask about. Failing to do so can end up costing you upwards of $7000 in the event of heavy rain or snowfall. Roofs are commonly replaced between the 20-25 year mark, so especially if your dream house is on the older side, be sure to inquire when the roof was last replaced or serviced so you can plan ahead.
2. Foundation Damage
Cracks in the foundation create a hazard to your livelihood and safety as an event such as an earthquake can cause even more damage and even make the house unlivable after the fact. To check and see if there is any foundation damage present in the home, look for visible cracks, humps, and generally uneven areas around the home as these indicate that the ground underneath has shifted since the house has been built.
3. Location Hazards
Take a look at your geographical location and what poses a risk. While you may desperately want a waterfront home where you feel as though you’re on vacation every day, if your region is prone to flooding, your vacation home can easily turn into your worst nightmare during a storm. Likewise with those who prefer a more mountainous setting, if the region is prone to earthquakes, a shift in the rockface could end up severely damaging your home. Take the time to ask or do some research about environmental hazards before settling down in a home.
4. Mold and Water Damage
Not only does water damage and mold look unattractive, but the latter can also lead to health problems down the road. Especially on the roof, too much build-up can result in an eventual cave in, costing thousands of dollars in repairs. If small, it’s best to have that taken care of as soon as possible, but avoid houses with excessive mold and water damage as it’s just not worth the time and investment.
This mainly applies to older houses as insulation wasn’t a top priority when it came to constructing them at the time. Ask the seller’s agent what year the home was built in and if it has gone through any insulation upgrades, such as the attic which plays a big role in how much heat your house will retain. A well-insulated house will determine the amount of money that you’ll have to dish out to keep your house’s temperature regulated during the hot summer months and bitterly cold winters.