When you are looking to buy a home, whether new or previously owned, you may consider the location, the neighborhood, the size and floor plan and whether or not it has that wrap-around porch you’ve always dreamed of having.
But, Kansas City home buyers beware — there are many other not-so-glamorous things to look for before buying that can cause you headaches and bankruptcy in years to come. They won’t be obvious at the open house and may, in fact, be hidden, so it’s up to you to investigate.
Here are a few critical things to watch out for before putting in an offer on that seemingly perfect home:
Foundation flaws: Check for cracks in the home’s foundation. Cracks can be harmless, or they may indicate a significant structural problem. Most houses have hairline cracks, which are normal and just indicate settling. But, large cracks or gaps might be a big problem. Also watch for sticking doors or windows, visible cracks above window frames and uneven floors.
Signs of Neglect: Most homeowners take good care of their homes — changing filters according to schedule, cleaning the chimney, fixing leaks, repainting — but some don’t. And you want to steer clear of homes that haven’t been well cared for. If you walk through a home and notice things that have been neglected, think twice. For example, if the grass is long, lightbulbs burnt out, faucets drip or leak, or the paint is peeling off or cracking, these are signs that the seller has ignored routine home maintenance. And if they’ve ignored the little things, you can bet they’ve ignored some big things, too.
Nearby risks: Kansas City home buyers beware: Is the home in a flood zone or is there a creek nearby that regularly floods its banks and the home’s backyard? Is there an old tree close enough that it could fall on the home in a storm? Is there a busy street in front of the home that may be dangerous for children? Is there land for sale nearby that could turn into a gas station? Also, if the driveway could double as a ski slope in winter when it may ice over, ask yourself if you’re ok with being stuck in the house, or having to park up the street and walk home, because you can’t get to your driveway.
Signs of water damage and mold: You may not see standing water, but if you smell a musty odor, it can indicate water damage. Check walls and ceilings for water lines that show previous leaking or flooding that may have caused internal damage. Be wary of rust stains, too. To detect signs of mold, look in cabinets under sinks. Even small black or gray spots suggest that a mold issue may exist. Check caulking around faucets and showers for black spots, too.
Check the big-ticket items: Make a point to check the roof, the heating and cooling system, and appliances. You don’t want to move in only to have to spend thousands on a new air conditioning system. Make sure that these items are in good shape and look like they’ve been regularly maintained.
Kansas City home buyers beware of these things when walking through a house for sale. Remember, you’re looking for a place you and your family may call home for the next 10-15 years. Whether you’re buying your first home or your fifth, it’s always a good idea to have a seasoned real estate professional on your team. Call our team, Team RE Kansas City, to help: 913.451.5711 or teamre.com.