There’s a lot of competition for good listings right now, so it’s tempting to find a house
that seems nice and jump on it as quickly as possible. And while you should definitely act
fast, ideally you only want to go under contract once. Make sure your first choice is really
what it seems. Here are a few things you can look for before you submit an offer to make
sure you’re getting your money’s worth.
1. Old or faulty wiring - Usually when someone says “they don’t make it like they used
to,” they’re implying the item in question used to be better. But with wiring, the fact that
they don’t make it like they used to is a good thing. Some older forms of wiring are
inefficient or even dangerous. The insulation on the wires can also wear off over time,
creating a fire hazard. If you’re considering buying an older home, make sure the wiring
is already up to date and meets modern code requirements or include the price of an
electrical upgrade into your budget.
2. Cracks in the foundation - The foundation does a lot more than keep a house from
sitting on the ground. It keeps the house level - which is essential to having working
doors, windows, and roofs. It also protects against mold. So if you see cracks in the
foundation, beware. Foundation cracks can be very expensive to repair even without
fixing any problems caused by the cracks. If mold formed in the cracks, for example, you
can expect to pay thousands of dollars for mold remediation.
3. Old or damaged roof - A roof can last up to thirty years with the right maintenance
and conditions - which is a good thing since they can cost tens of thousands of dollars to
replace. Make sure the roof still has at least five to seven years of usability in it or budget
a new roof into the price of the home. If the roof is already damaged, consider the fact
that there could be further damage in the house caused by the bad roof.