When you’re out on a house hunting trip, it’s important to understand some of the basics of home maintenance in order to help you avoid putting in an offer on a house you might regret in the near future. Here are some things to look out for when venturing inside a home at a showing:
1.Exterior - Look at the roof and assess its condition, as well as its age. Any cracks in the driveway or in the mortar between the bricks can be expenses you might have to incur after purchasing the home.
2.Interior - Upon entering the home, take a deep breath to detect any musty odours, mould or pet urine. Look for signs of water damage on the ceilings and walls, and check if any part of the floors are creaking.
3.Plumbing - Run the faucets in all sinks and showers, and flush all the toilets to determine the water drainage and flow pressure. Check for leaks under sinks, and look for any holes at the plumbing stack in the basement. Check to see if any galvanized pipes are present, which are very old and could potentially become blocked.
4.Heating/Cooling - Ask about the age of the furnace and the air conditioner, as well as their efficiency rating. Units that are older and less efficient could mean early replacement, not to mention higher utility bills.
5.Electrical – Check out the electrical panel, as well as the wiring. Any knob and tube will have to be replaced. Copper wiring is preferred. Make sure the light fixtures are current, and switch all lights on and off to see if they work.
6.Structural - Identify any cracks in the foundation in the basement, and look for leaks. Check for any sawdust near joists, as this could be a warning sign that termites are lurking. Look for any water staining, as well as the condition of the insulation.
7.Doors/Windows - Check to see if the windows and doors are aging, and if they open and close freely. Newer windows with insulation are more energy efficient, and can save you money on your energy bill.
This list is by no means exhaustive, but it can provide you with a good start when educating yourself on the basics of home maintenance, and potentially save yourself from buying a home that could end up being a big disappointment.