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Beware of Home Buying Red Flags

By: Allison Millar, Contributing Writer
In: Repair your home's value
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Home buying can be such an emotional issue. You fall in love with the kitchen, patio and backyard . . . but then forget to inspect the water heater. (Hey, who cares about the boring water heater, right?)

Home Buying Tips

Those boring mechanical items can make a big difference financially and lead to costly home repairs. (Think thousands of dollars!) Find a good housing inspector and make sure he or she checks all the major systems, including the heating and air conditioning, plumbing, electrical, and roofing.

With a good home inspection and some solid home repair research, you can avoid some common home buying red flags:

  • Roofing repairs–make sure any inspector you hire goes onto the roof (instead of trying to diagnose problems from the ground). They should look for missing shingles, algae growth, and missing flashing. Here are more roofing tips from Owens Corning.
  • Water heater old age–beyond the condition of the water heater or furnace, look at the age and how efficient it is. Here’s a good home buying list that details the lifespan of household items. Gas water heaters typically last 11 to 13 years, so if the house has one in that range, consider asking the seller for a credit toward a new one. With furnaces, also look for the efficiency ratings, as this can help you save big on energy costs. Try for 90 percent of higher.
  • Foundation and other structural issues–If the basement has major water seepage issues or lacks the proper foundation supports, beware. Structural problems can be costly to fix and rarely provide a good payback on the investment. If the inspector mentions hiring a “structural engineer”…run for the hills.
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  1. 3 Responses to “Beware of Home Buying Red Flags”

  2. jamie
    Nov 26, 2010

    We were going to buy a house with a cracked foundation, and although the inspecter said it was not a huge problem, the bank said “No way” and would not give us a loan. So make sure your bank sees the home inspection report as well!

  3. Nov 29, 2010

    You make some great points, but as a remodeling contractor, I would suggest homeowners hire a licensed AC contractor to do an evaluation on their system in lieu of a home inspector. He will be able to give you a more accurate evaluation, and life expectancy of the AC & heating system.

  4. Allison Millar
    Dec 3, 2010

    Good point. The home inspector can give you a good overview, but if you want a more thorough evaluation, go with someone who focuses on this area. Some plumbing companies (that also do heating and cooling) do this, too.

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