It’s hard to shop for a home without viewing each property through a hopeful lens. We know there are some things we can repair, and others that we should eventually replace.
It’s important that you don’t let hope overshadow reality when you are house hunting. You have to be practical. Repairs take time and money. Here’s a list of five things to check before buying a home.
1. Aging Parts of the Home
Although there was a huge construction surge in 2020 and 2021, the average age of a home in the USA sits at 37 years. Unfortunately, that means many properties are being sold with parts that are overdue for replacement or repair.
Knowing the age and condition of major parts of a home can help you plan for repairs and expenses down the road. Roofs, for example, only last 10 to 30 years, and most siding can only last twenty to forty years. If these items haven’t been updated yet they’re overdue
Updating these yourself can be expensive! For example, a roof can cost $10,000 to $30,000 and new siding can cost around $10,000 as well.
Letting either your roof or your siding go for too long without updating can lead to leaks, insulation issues, mold, rot, and many more replacement costs.
2. Ensure The Appliances Work
Buying a home and then realizing the washer and dryer don’t work can be a headache and an expense nobody wants to deal with.
It’s a good idea to try to test all of your appliances while you’re walking through the property. Turn on and off the dryer, ensure the washer can start, and open the fridge and freezer to feel if they’re cold on the inside.
If you do your due diligence and the products still don’t work, you could have to pay for repairs if you don’t have a good home warranty. The best way to avoid any trouble at all is a home warranty from HSA to help reduce repair costs and protect you in case anything else pops up.
3. Less Immediate Updates
Although aging windows aren’t as detrimental as an aging roof or siding, it’s good to know if these are updates you’ll have to do within the next 10 years. It’s wise to make a list of future updates so you can account for costs and begin budgeting.
You don’t want to get hit with a large repair bill all of a sudden. When the time comes to make updates, you want to be prepared.
Don’t overlook aesthetic updates–not everything is structural. Ask yourself:
- Is the kitchen really out of date?
- Is the bathroom old and dated?
If so, these are costs you’ll face over the next ten years to make your home your own.
Although there are dozens of building construction types, if you fall in love with the house’s exterior, it can be hard to say no to the interior.
4. The Distance To Places That Matter
There’s no doubt the framing of a house is important, and if you find one that is structurally sound, the next thing to consider is the physical location.
You’ll need to ask yourself a few more questions:
- Is this an area that you’ll have to travel far to get food or go to work?
- How will the commute fit into your daily schedule?
- Will driving add stress and have negative effects on your mental and physical health?
If you’re looking at this as the home you want to grow old in, you can make improvements on the home itself as you age. It’s easy to interior handrails, ramps, and bathroom safety bars.
But, you can’t change the physical location of the building. Will you still want to make those drives when you are older?
The location makes a large difference.
5. The History of the Property
Look into how much the property has sold for in the past, and how quickly it’s exchanged hands or sold again. If you notice the property rocketed up by a hundred thousand dollars in the last five years, try to find out if they’ve done any updates or why that price increase happened. If you can find other properties in the area that have similar assets yet sit at a far lower price, this could mean that they overpriced it and you can bargain the price down.
A Home Is A Long-Term Commitment
When you purchase a home, even if it’s just a starter home, the commitment is typically for five to 10 years. Unlike an apartment, where you can pick up and go, you’ll have a lot of money tied into this property, so you must make a good decision.
By ensuring you check each of these items and paying close attention that your wants and needs are met, you won’t regret the house for even a moment.
Matt Lee is the owner of the Innovative Building Materials blog and a content writer for the building materials industry. He is focused on helping fellow homeowners, contractors, and architects discover materials and methods of construction that save money, improve energy efficiency, and increase property value.