When you are looking to purchase a house, it can be easy to get distracted by all the features you love – the wrap-around backyard deck or the spacious rec room with plenty of space for entertaining. You need to make sure that in all that excitement you don’t overlook any potential expensive maintenance issues that could be just around the corner.
Nothing lasts forever. The major components of every home – from the furnace to the roof shingles – need to be replaced eventually. Knowing when such maintenance issues are likely to arise can help you make a more informed decision about the home you’re considering.
How do you do that?
There are 3 key times and ways to learn about potential issues:
When viewing a property, ask questions about what you are looking at. Look at and ask about the age of the major components of the home, such as the roof shingles, furnace, air conditioner, water heater, and appliances. Roof shingles may look merely weathered in spots – and you might think they have years of service left – when, in fact, they’re due to be replaced in a year.
Also pay close attention to the backyard deck, fencing, flooring, and windows. Do any of those components look aged, worn, and in need of repair or replacement sometime soon?
Finally, don’t forget to check the kitchen and bathrooms. Sinks, faucets, bathtubs, showers, and cabinetry have a life-span of about 10-15 years.
If anything looks like it might be an issue to the average person, chances are, there might be an issue. These are details you should ask for more information about.
Property Disclosure Statement
Every house listed through the MLS system should have a Property Disclosure Statement that you can review prior to submitting an offer. This statement is a checklist of potential issues that house owners fill out. It asks questions such as “Are you aware of any problems with the plumbing system?” and “Are you aware of any roof leakage or unrepaired roof damage?”
It only covers issues that the current owner is already aware of, but is a legally binding statement that can reveal if there are any major issues.
Of course, there are things you can’t see, such as wiring, venting, and other components of a property that may require maintenance. These items are often covered in a home inspections, and is one reason why a house inspection is a very important component of purchasing a house. A house inspection report from a qualified inspector can reveal a lot about when potential maintenance may need to be done.
If you are thinking about buying a house, or have questions about how to find the right one for you, we’d be happy to discuss this with you.