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Buying a house can be a lengthy process involving a lot of time and effort. Before you make the leap, it’s important that you do your research to ensure you’re making an informed decision. Know what to evaluate ahead of time so you can be prepared for all the ins and outs of home buying.
Buying a House: What to Expect
Before you get wrapped up in the emotions that come with purchasing a new home, there are things you need to evaluate beforehand to ensure that you don’t end up buying a money pit. Certain factors affect what your offer will be, whether you will need additional money to make repairs or whether you’ll want to buy the property in the first place. Look for the following issues before you start browsing Portland real estate.
Word of advice: do not purchase any property without having a building inspector come out to have a look. They will be able to determine whether or not the house has structural or other issues.
- Structural problems
The first thing you’ll want to check for as a prospective buyer is structural problems. Minor issues are not necessarily a deal breaker. Here are a few things to be on the lookout for:
-What is the condition of the interior walls?
-What are the floors and underflooring made of, and what is their condition?
-What is the state of the roof? What is the condition of the gutters, downspouts, flashing, and facia?
-Do the doors and windows seal out the weather?
-Can you easily open the windows? If the window has screens combined with storms, can you move the storms and screens easily? If the window is the old-fashioned kind with the pulley, counter-weight and sash cord, are the parts in working order? Do you need to prop the windows open?
This is separate from plumbing, which also needs to be evaluated. Be on the lookout for signs of water problems in the basement and around the foundation. Wet spots on ceilings are an obvious sign of a leaking roof. Look also for draining problems like a soggy yard.
- Environmental hazards
These are things you want to pay especially close attention to, as they can be more serious and be very costly to repair.
- In older homes, look for asbestos coating on pipes for the heating system, the furnace, and water heater.
- Make a note to get the basement tested for the presence of radon.
- Make a similar note for carbon monoxide gas.
- Be on the lookout for signs of vermin and insects, such as mice, termites, cockroaches, and bats.
- A city inspector or other inspector should determine if the house has lead-based paint. Watch for flaking, chipping and peeling paint and paint dust and point it out to your inspector.
This is your opportunity to check for plumbing problems. Check water pressure, the age of the water heater, how quickly water drains, and whether or not the house has a water softener, to name a few.
- Electrical systems
One of the most important things to monitor is your home’s electrical system. Are the electrical sockets grounded plugs? What kind of wiring does the house have, and what is the age? Does the box use circuit breakers or fuses? These are all questions you should ask a seller or real estate agent ahead of time.
The final item you’ll want to ask about is the appliances. Are they included with the house? How old are they? Do they work? Sure, you may get a house that comes with appliances, but if they’re old and in disrepair, is that really a benefit?
After you’ve worked with a home inspector and completed a thorough evaluation of the property, you can start weighing your options. The home buying process can be scary–don’t go into the woods alone. Keep these questions in mind as you navigate homeownership and avoid buying problems.