There are plenty of things home buyers should look out for when considering a new home. It can take days inspecting each aspect of a house. Instead, we recommend you look at specific elements that are easier to spot and can inform you immediately whether to pursue the home or walk away. Below are 6 warning signs all home buyers should know.
The first thing to look for when entering a new neighborhood and walking up to the property are strange smells. Is there a nearby tidal estuary, recycling facility, gas station? As you enter the house, how does it smell? If there’s a heavy scent of Febreze the realtor is covering up something bad.
If you smell mustiness, check the basement. This could mean there’s a moisture build up or worse, leakage from flooding. If there’s central air, smell the vents. Stagnant water can collect in AC units from poorly designed systems. Other scents to look for are mildew and burnt residue.
Roof Condition: Three Tab or Layered Shingles?
The cost of a new roof can climb into the 5-figure range. Many homebuyers don’t look at this element when it can easily be the costliest repair. Here’s what you can do.
Take a step back and look at the house from the street. Most of the homes in the northeast are shingles. First, when you look at the roof are the shingles layered or are they flush? We’ve provided a photo below to help. If they’re flush aka three-tab, the roof is almost past its lifetime. This is the old method of roofing that hasn’t been done since the 1990s. The probability for rot and leaks is much higher. If you’re not sure, take a photo of the roof and tweet it at us. We’ll confirm.
Source: Home Construction Improvement
Age of the Furnace
The typical furnace needs replacement after 15-20 years. New units should have a manufacturing date somewhere along the body. Old units require more inspection. You’re going to be looking for the serial number which may be on the inside of the furnace door or fan itself. Once you find it, look at the first four digits. This will show the month and year it was assembled. For example, 0495, would translate to April 1995.
After that look for the sticker or tag that shows when it was last serviced. Lastly, Google the company name and see if they’re still in business. If not, it’s best to have a home inspector take a look. Final tip, if you see a furnace resembling an octopus, that’s a gravity furnace which was made before the 1950s.
Windows with poor seals will spell disaster when winter hits. You don’t want the chills of a blizzard seeping into your bedroom every night. Not to mention the loss of air conditioning in the summer months.
To test this, close all the windows in a room and shut the door. Now listen, do you hear the lawnmowers or conversations from the sidewalk? Open the door to create a draft and run your hands along the outer seals of the windows. Do you feel a breeze? Finally, look for a window that has direct sunlight hitting it. Do you feel the heat through the window pane? Window companies now make panes that reflect the heat off and are double insulated for sound proofing.
Before you walk away from the windows, look for any condensation build up either on the glass or bubbling along the frames. Then look at the ceilings for peeling paint. If you spot any that means there can be moisture within the ceiling drywall and walls. This can lead to mold and allergies.
The majority of homes have small cracks along the foundation. This common as a house settles over time. But large cracks and gaps are a problem. You may be able to see this from the outside but there are a few other ways to inspect. Check for doors that stick, splits and cracks above the window frames, and unevenness in the flooring.
There are ways to fix these problems, but they will be costly. If this is the house of your dreams and you’re noticing some of these problems, it’s best to bring in a home inspector to get an estimated timeline for the repairs. Remember, the realtor wants to sell that particular house, the future problems aren’t theirs to worry about. At NestEdge we put the home buyer first. We’ll help you find homes that don’t have these major problems. Give us a call today at 914-502-4974.