9 Things to Check Before Buying a House

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Don’t Forget to Inspect the Most Essential Aspects

Buying a home is an incredible investment. Make sure you don’t cost yourself more in the long run by paying attention to the most important aspects of a house – the parts that make it function. Below are nine essentials to inspect before you purchase a new (and especially old) home. If you’re looking for a home in the SE Wisconsin, give Market Realty Group a call. Our Burlington Realtors would love to help you find something perfect for your family and budget.

1. Roofing

Roof repairs can be costly, but no nearly as expensive or inconvenient as roof replacement. On your way into showings, take a good look at the roof and make sure there are no obvious holes, missing shingles, mold growth, or cave ins. Don’t be afraid to ask when the roof was installed or repaired last either – a newer roof may save you money on homeowners insurance.

2. Windows

New windows are another expensive update. Before you buy, go around the home and check all of the windows and doors to make sure they easily open and close. This will give you a chance to check for mold and damage too. If a home boasts “new windows”, ask if there is a warranty just in case a manufacturer or installation error appears after closing.

3. Foundation

There are several visible signs that may indicate a foundation problem, including:

  • Slanted or sticking window and door frames
  • Uneven floors
  • A leaning chimney
  • Cracks on walls, floors, or around door and window frames
  • General water damage
  • Basement walls that bow inward
  • A sinking porch
  • Large gaps in the foundation (hairline cracks are often of no concern)

If you see any of the above, make sure you have the foundation thoroughly inspect prior to closing.

4. HVAC, Insulation & Ventilation

In Wisconsin especially, a well-insulated house is a must because it will save you greatly on energy costs compared to a poorly insulated home. Proper ventilation will help control humidity – make sure the motorized fans in kitchen and bathrooms work well; and see if ceiling fan placement aides in HVAC efficiency and room comfort. On the subject of HVAC systems, find out the age of the home’s HVAC system and when it was last serviced.

5. Electrical

Check the dimmers, light switches, and outlets around the house. If there is a mysterious connection or faulty power, you’ll want the electrical system inspected so necessary repairs can be made prior to closing and/or move-in.

6. Plumbing

Test the faucets, flush toilets, and turn that garbage disposal on. You’ll be using these fixtures daily if you purchase a new home, and you want to make sure they work properly before you sign paperwork. Go ahead and check out the water heater too; ask when it was installed and last serviced. If you notice mold, leaks, or water damage around pipes, have a plumber come check out the situation.

7. Septic Systems & Water Quality

It might sound a little strange, but taste the water if you’re considering the purchase of a new home. If the home has a septic system, you can have the soil tested to determine the system’s efficiency and ground water quality. Septic systems and wells can be expensive to fix, so having them inspected is often worthwhile.

8. Water Damage & Mold

Look for signs of water damage, including a musty smell, water lines on walls or ceilings, and rust or leaking from exposed piping. Water damage can be costly to fix, especially if it requires restoration of the affected area. If water damage is ignored, there is likely going to be a mold problem as well. Keep an eye out for mold growth in areas with high moisture.

9. Home Inspection

Last but not least, don’t forget to have your home inspected by a Wisconsin Certified Home Inspector. This will help reveal and/or confirm some of the issues above and give you a clear path to resolution.

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