People with money sometimes make big mistakes on a new home. This is especially true if you are buying a first home. Just because a home is in a good neighborhood, or because it looks impressive upon first glance, doesn’t mean that it has the same level of construction quality at all levels.
If you are buying your first house, you know how time consuming and expensive it is. But making the wrong choice on a first house can cost you much more of both in the long term. That’s why I always advocate for hiring a trusted home inspector to give your house the once over before you sign on the dotted line. He or she may unmask some issue that doesn’t appear immediately. Here are some examples of such problems from homes that I’ve owned.
- Electrical Problems. I love older homes. And I’ve always made sure that any one that I buy has had a history of scrupulous renovations done to it. I also look for houses that have been kept up with consideration for their historic appearance. But in some cases, there are systems beneath surface level which could use some frank modernizing. Electrical systems are the most important. Because some older homes still have antiquated and ungrounded systems, it’s vital that these be replaced as soon as possible. But in a large house, this is a very big expense. And this is why sellers of impressive older homes will often try to pass on this expense to a new buyer, without, perhaps, the buyer being totally aware of the problem. Find out exactly the state of the electrical system before you even think of buying a new house.
- Foundation Problems. Impressive older homes often have ruinous foundation issues. A structural specialist is the only person who can accurately evaluate how this works in a home you are considering. This is especially important for those in homes more than 40 years of age, those at low elevations, and those living in areas with weather and soil conditions which lend themselves to foundation issues.
- Pests. Some pests are evident, others are not. Some pests only come out in certain seasons. This is why it’s important for you to understand your new house’s history of pests. But don’t take the seller’s word for it. Get your inspector to look for the clues of rodent and insect infestation. Even if there is not a current problem, previous infestations may indicate that a new home is especially vulnerable for such.
There are plenty of other things that can go wrong in a house of any size or quality. But these are the ones that sadly came into my life on more than one occasion. Now that I know what to look for, I shan’t be taken by surprise again. But knowing these issues well in advance could have saved me more money than I care to imagine, not to mention many terrible hours trying to resolve these problems after I had already bought the houses in question.