Real Estate Buying Mistakes – #8

Failing to make your own inspection

You probably would not want to rely on the seller to point out defects in a house he is attempting to sell. There may even be hidden problems of which he is unaware.

Before you sign a contract and schedule a professional inspection, there are items you can check yourself:

  • Structural: Check the foundation for cracks or water marks. Check to see if the floors are level and if the roof is sagging
  • Water damage: Look for unevenly painted ceilings or walls; mildew odor in basement; signs of re-plastering or re-tiling in just one area of a room.
  • Water pressure: Flush the toilet and turn on both hot and cold water faucets at the same time to test.
  • Plumbing: Ask what type pipes are installed and their age. If applicable, ask when the septic system was last inspected and cleaned. Stand near the tank to detect odor or soggy ground.
  • Energy efficiency: Ask to check last year’s heating and cooling bills.
  • Pests: Be alert for small accumulations of sawdust in the basement. This might indicate an insect problem. Obtain date and results of the last wood-destroying pest inspection.

A few final tips:

  • Ask to see the seller’s survey made when the seller bought the house.
  • Be certain that you are clear on problem areas which convey with the property, and repairs which the seller agrees to make. Have this list with you when you go for your final walk-through. In short, be alert! Be curious!

Please contact me whenever you have a real estate need or questions or when you know of anyone needing my services. I’m always pleased to help.