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Tips and Advice

How Homebuyers Can Identify Costly Repairs

Buying a home can be one of the most exciting times in your life. You might envision you and your family in a particular home hosting a gathering of friends. But unfortunately, too many homebuyers let the excitement of a purchase cloud their judgment. 

Regardless of whether a home is in the perfect location or beautifully decorated, costly home repairs could be lurking around the corner. Here's a simple checklist to help you identify these potential surprises.

1. Roof

The average home’s roof has a 20 to 30-year lifespan. If you're purchasing a fairly new home, you probably don’t have to worry about replacing the roof for some time. If you're purchasing an older home, make sure you inquire about the condition of the roof, or else you could get hit with a costly repair in the near future.

Find out when the roof was last replaced. This helps assess when you'll need to replace the roof again. You should also have a home inspector conduct a visual inspection. Even a fairly new roof can have problems, such as missing shingles or other damage. 

2. Windows and Doors

Updating windows and doors are another costly home fix. Ideally, you should purchase a home with relatively newer windows and doors, or at least windows and doors in good condition. Older windows requiring replacing may have condensation in between the panes, locks that don’t work, or you may detect cold air coming through the windows. A door that needs replacing may also have a draft, or perhaps a gap between the door and wall. This can cause higher heating and cooling costs.

3. Electrical

Features of a home’s electrical system is something many homebuyers overlook when purchasing a home. A newer home may have sufficient outlets in every room, perhaps an outlet on every wall. But this isn't always the case with older homes. Take a note of where electrical outlets are located and the number of outlets. Decide whether it's a sufficient amount for you and your family. You can add additional outlets later, but you’ll have to pay an electrical contractor. 

4. Furnace

Ask about the age of the furnace before making an offer on a house. If the furnace is 10 years or older, it could be on its last leg, and you might have to shell out thousands of dollars for a replacement system. Be aware that older furnaces aren’t as energy-efficient as newer one, which can trigger higher heating costs.

Bottom Line

Buying a house is already expensive, so it makes sense to reduce the amount you spend on repairs upon moving in. With a home purchase, it's important to have a professional home inspection. When submitting your offer, make it contingent on a satisfactory inspection. The home inspector will check the property’s roof, foundation, electrical system, plumbing, and heating and cooling system for hidden problems.