Friday, February 17, 2017
By  Marilyn Golden

It’s like a broken record. Ignoring the warning signs can cost you big time when buying a home.

You just bought your new “dream house” but find out a month into home ownership that your roof leaks. That alone can cost $1,000 to fix!

If you had paid attention to the warning signs, you could have saved yourself a lot of money and hassle.

Finding a home is a lengthy and intensive process. When you finally find a home that matches your needs, it is easy to want to pull the trigger quickly.

Be careful, though.

While you may have to compromise on certain things in order to secure a house that you really like, there are a few deal breakers that you should never overlook.

#1 The Roof

You can expect a good roof to last for 30 years or even longer. If the roof was put together with shoddy construction, though, it could go at any moment and cost you big time.

There are a few tell-tale signs that you can look out for when checking out the house. Take a look at the gutters and try to see if the drainage systems are working well. You should also take note of any water damage that you find inside of the house.

One thing that you want to avoid doing is walking on the roof. This can be extremely dangerous and in some cases can void a warranty put onto the roof by the construction company.

If you notice some of these signs within the house you can hire a roof inspector to take a thorough look at the roof and give you a definitive answer. Hiring an inspector can be an additional cost up front, but it is much more affordable that replacing a roof, which can cost you on average $7,000 - $8,000.

#2 The Neighborhood Is Past Its Prime

There is so much more that goes into buying a house than the building alone. You want to make sure that you are settling down in an area that you will love. This means that you will want to take extra steps to ensure that the area you are moving into is a growing and safe community.

Take a tour of the neighborhood at different times in the day. How does it look at night? Does it seem like people are holed up for the night or are there people outside?

Look to see how comfortable people seem to be walking around. If you can spot children playing and running outside, then it is a sign that the community is generally safe. If you see newer shops or malls in the area you can be pretty certain the area is growing.

Getting a good price on a house is not a good enough reason to buy in a declining neighborhood. You will be investing years of your life there and you have to maintain a long-term mindset.

Your realtor® is a local expert and will be able to give you guidance about where the best up-and-coming communities are. If you aren’t sure of a specific location, then ask your agent for their opinion before you back out of a deal.

#3 Asbestos

Asbestos has been a hot topic lately and can be very damaging to your family. If you are buying a house built pre-1975 then it is possible that your house was constructed with roofing felt or roofing penetration sealant that contains asbestos.

For the most part, asbestos is not harmful as long as it isn’t disturbed. Pipes that have their insulation beginning to decay are generally a big problem. If your home inspection details this issue, then you need to ask the seller to have a certified asbestos abatement contractor come and remove it prior to closing.

If there is no sign of damage to any of the insulation or tiles that are known to carry the chemical than you can take measures to protect them from harm. This will help to keep the prices low and can protect you from the normal breakdown that can occur.

Always take the time to consider your options when dealing with an airborne chemical like asbestos. The decision you make goes way beyond finances and could seriously impact your health.

#4 Poor / Outdated Electrical System

If the previous owner considered themselves a “DIY expert” but wasn’t all that good at it, then the house could have some electrical problems.

As you walk the house, look out for exposed wiring that can denote the system has been tinkered with. This won’t pose a huge problem and you can request that a seller fixes the issue before you close.

A more serious problem can occur if the house has an outdated or inferior electrical system. This is often a major fire hazard and can easily destroy your house if something goes awry.

The most common type of system you will find in older homes (pre-1930) is the knob-and-tube wiring system.

This system rarely holds up for longer than 80 years and it is imperative that you get a contractor to update the system as quickly as possible. You should use your own contractor for this because you want to be certain about the level of quality that will be replacing the knob-and-tube wiring.

#5 The Appraisal Comes In Low

There are several factors that may cause a home to be appraised for a low value. The area may be growing so quickly that the comparable properties used to value the house just haven’t caught up yet.

You can also run into a house that has features that are uncommon for the area, such as a really nice view.

Often time a low appraisal can be a warning sign that the house really isn’t worth as much as you think it is. When a low appraisal happens in it can really put your lender in a bind. This is because lenders are not allowed to offer loans that are higher than the appraised value of a home.

This means that you will have to make up the difference out of our own pocket. Dave Ramsey recommends that you be very careful if you find yourself in this situation. If you pay the extra out of pocket, then it will take a while for you to make up the value of the house.

Your agent will have a hand on the pulse of the neighborhood and will be able to let you know if the home’s value will increase to what you are paying. If the community looks to be stagnant moving forward, it will be in your best interest to continue searching.

How to Protect Yourself - The Home Inspection

The main tool that you have to protect yourself from purchasing a house with some pricey baggage is the home inspection. When you are buying a house, you will want to make sure that you hire a trustworthy home inspector to take a look.

A normal home inspection should take anywhere from 3-4 hours. Some inspectors will tell you that they can get the inspection done within an hour, avoid these inspectors at all costs. They will rush through the inspection and could potentially miss something that will cost you big time.

Once you get the inspection report, make sure that you go through it thoroughly. Too often we see eager home buyers not fully digest the report and miss a huge warning sign about the house.

If you have any questions about your report you can always follow up with your agent and get their thoughts on what the impact could be if you bought the house.

Have A Local Expert Walk You Through The Process

At International Golf Realty, we know the warning signs to look out for when buying a house. We can help you navigate the confusing process of buying a home.

Our goal is to make sure you buy the best house for your current situation. Getting a trusted expert will make your life significantly easier.

If you have any questions about houses for sale in the World Golf Village or St. Augustine areas give us a call at (904) 940-9990 or connect with us on Facebook.

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