Since older homes can often cost less per square foot, they can be an excellent choice for the home buyer who wants to maximize their home buying budget. But not all older homes offer this type of value, especially if there are condition issues that will be costly to repair. While the seller will usually provide disclosure documents that offer information about current and past repair issues, there can still be serious problems that the seller is not aware of or that they fail to disclose properly. Buyers who plan to view older homes can help protect themselves from purchasing a home with condition issues by watching for the following condition clues.
Slanted or uneven floor surfaces
Unlike newer homes that use steel support beams, most older homes have wooden floor beams that can be weakened by decay, moisture, or pest damage, such as termites. In many cases, this type of deterioration can occur very slowly and may not be easily noticed. Buyers who view a home where the floor seems uneven or slanted should be concerned about the condition of the main support beams of the home.
Interior or exterior cracking
Basement floors and walls or foundations that have visible cracking often mean that there are foundation or water infiltration issues that can be prohibitively expensive to repair. Of particular concern are any cracks that are wide enough to insert a coin or those that appear to have headed away from the wall or upward from the basement floor surface. In addition to cracking in concrete basement walls, foundations, or flooring, prospective home buyers should also look for cracks in masonry walls and surfaces.
Signs of humidity or moisture
Homes that have signs of moisture issues may be harboring dangerous infestations of mold or other serious issues. Prospective buyers who note air quality issues, damp surfaces or evidence of past water infiltration should be sure to get more information before moving forward with a purchase offer.
Potential electrical issues
Electrical safety issues cause a significant number of serious home fires each year and can be more of a danger in older homes with aging or outdated electrical systems. Common signs of an outdated electrical system include:
- a crowded or under-sized electrical panel
- the presence of fuses, instead of modern electrical breaker switches
- an absence of GFCI outlets in bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms
- the use of electrical extension cords in the home
- a singed or darkened appearance on electrical sockets or evidence of non-working light fixtures, electrical switches, and outlets
In addition to being watchful for condition issues, prospective buyers should be sure to utilize professional inspectors and make sure that any purchase offer they consider making is fully contingent upon the results of these inspections.
Contact a company like Knieper Team Real Estate for more information and assistance.