Checking For Property Damage Before Buying A Home
Everyone wants the process of buying a house to go as smoothly as possible, but not checking for property damage when you are buying a home can cause this process to come to a screeching halt or potentially change the course of the sale.
- Recognize a repair when it needs one.
Before you even take a step inside the home, take a look around outside. Ask yourself if this roof looks new or if it’s caving a little bit. Are shingles falling off or is there a gaping hole. A newer roof can save you from a potential claim down the road and saves you from having to front a major expense not long after you move in.
- Don’t judge a room by its decor.
When you are touring the rooms, look past the artwork, the furniture and even the nicely painted walls. Look at all things structural. Look for things like aging appliances, loose wires and any cracks on the walls or floors. It’s easier to change a paint color than it is to change the foundation, so you want to make sure it’s going to last.
- Take the temperature.
If your house looks dated and old, then it probably is along with its heating and cooling unit. Heating and cooling units are expensive to replace, so it’s important that you are buying a home with an efficient one because that's a lot of money you are saving on utilities and potentially money you are saving if you don’t have to repair it shortly after you move in.
- Check what lies beneath the house.
Don't just look at everything at eye level. Get under the sinks and check the pipes for leaking, water damage, or mold. Mold can cause more serious problems to you than it can to your house. If you have a child, elderly parent or someone with asthma living with you, be extra cautious of the possibility of mold. Also, flush the toilets. Are they running properly or do they take forever to quit running?
- Scope out the land.
Is the land that the house you are buying is on prone to flooding or close to wildfires? Do you share a driveway and are there fences around your property? How close is your house to your neighbors house? It’s a lot to look at but will be worth looking at the surroundings you will be waking up to every morning.
- Take a big whiff.
As you are walking around the house, do you smell anything that you shouldn’t be smelling such as gas, sewage, or just anything unpleasant? Also, check for pet odors, mildew and any cigarette smells from the previous owners.
- Invest in a well-insulated home.
Your home should always be comfortable. Check the attic, water pipes and heating ducts to make sure your home is properly insulated. This can keep heating and cooling costs down. It might also be worth the cost to invest in double-paned windows. These can reduce the noise outside.
- Don't just look, but touch.
I mean this literally. Touch everything! Flip every light switch, turn on every faucet, open every door and window, if you please. Buying a house is a big deal and you need to make sure that everything works properly. You can address any problems you might find now, rather than later.
- Ask to see the C.L.U.E report.
This report stands for “Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange”. This report is where sellers document any damage to the home. Every claimed that was filed on the home, whether it was denied or not, is listed in this report dating back 7 years. Once you get the report, discuss the claims with the seller and add any notes that come up.
- Invest in the home inspection.
Your eyes, ears, and nose can only detect so much when you aren’t trained to look for these things. It never hurts to call in a professional to get a second opinion and home inspectors have the ability to check for things that are past the surface of the home.