Asking the right questions and looking for red flags.
What are the right questions to ask the seller about the home?
Learning the right question to ask the seller can save you time and money.
What question should I ask the seller?
Before you submit an offer, make sure you ask the seller some of these questions. Asking these questions can give you a better idea of when a home's essential component may fail.
The age of the components of the home is excellent to know.
Knowing the age of the home's major components will give you a better perspective of how soon they may fail.
Once you have decided the home is right for you, it's a good idea to give the house a thorough look over before making an offer. This time lets try and find red flags.
Find red flags that were not noticed on your first walkthrough.
Homebuyers often focus on the cosmetics of the home while shopping for their new home, often not noticing red flags.
How to quickly spot red flags at your prospective home purchase?
On your way through the home, don't forget to look at the ceiling and walls. If you see any stains, make sure to ask the seller what the problem; was there might be a past or present leak in the area. Stains could be from the roof leaking, plumbing leaks, overflowing drain pans, leaking water heaters. Another source could be condensing forming in attic areas due to vents terminating improperly in the attic. Poor insulated a/c ducts, condensation forming at evaporating coil or plenum.
What questions you should be asking the seller?
Find out if the home has ever been flooded with the recent heavy rains in our area this year (2016) it's a possibility the house had water inside the interior of the home. You can also obtain a clue report; this will let you know if there are insurance claims made on the house. Ask the seller if the home flooded, and if so, what repairs were done? If the home flooded, ask to see the mold test report if no air samples or mold testing were performed. How would you know if the work was performed correctly, and the threat of mold was eliminated? I have seen some issues after Hurricane Harvey were repairs done correctly. A tail-tail sign is a moldy smell. trusting your nose is always prudent.Is the home in a flood plain if so the home could have flooded multiple times with in the last few years. That may be something you don't want to deal with. It's a very devastated and depressing ordeal to go through.
Roofing materials have an average life span, and knowing the age of roofing materials can help you know if the roofing replacement is in your near future. Most homes have a composition(asphalt and fiberglass). These types of shingles have different life span depending on the shingle. The three-tab shingle is three tabs and they are thinner than the architectural shingle. The three-tab shingles are usually a 20-year shingle, and in Houston, Texas last around 15 years. Architectural shingles are a high quality dimensional or laminated Shingles life span is 25-40 years depending on the manufacturer. I know this is a wide age range. If the home is around 15-20 years old, then the roofing materials will need to be replacing soon, if the roofing materials haven't been replaced. Why? Because most home builder installs the cheapest option of these types of shingles. Just asking the age of the roofing materials can help you get an idea if the roofing may need replaced soon. knowing the age of the roofing materials is an excellent advantage to you because replacing a roof can be expensive. According to Angie’s List, the average price to replace a roof is $4,900 -$14,100. Several factors contribute to the roof's cost for replacement.
Find out how old the a/c system is. The average life span is from 12-18 years old, and older systems containing R-22 will become obsolete soon. The reason is that at the beginning of the 2020 year you wont be able to purchase R-22 legally. Although typical electrical issues can be repaired if you have a R-22 leak, the system will either need replacing or converted over to an excepted type of a/c refrigerant. According to Nerdwallet the average cost to replace an air conditioning unit is $3,000 to $7,000 on average.
What type of plumbing supplies and drains?
The types of the plumbing supplies is critical because if the home has galvanized plumbing supplies found in older homes. Plumbing supply types may be beyond your scoop, but if you know what galvanized plumbing supplies look like( If you are buying an older home), it's a good idea to see if galvanized supplies are present. Galvanized last from 40 to 60 years, but can fail earlier. If the home was built in the '60s or 70's there's a good chance there may be galvanized supplies present, and at that age, it's just a matter of time until they will start leaking. So if you know what galvanized looks like. It's a good idea to check under the sinks and at attic area to see what type of plumbing supplies are present They will be at the end of their expected life span and what home buyer wants to deal with leaking plumbing supplies that can cause other hazards as well if left unchecked. Replacing plumbing supplies will also be a high dollar item to replace.
First time home buyers. Need to know about the expansive soil conditions that exist in the greater Houston area. It's common in our area that at some point, the home may need foundation repairs, or it may have already been done. Make sure you ask if the foundation has been repaired in the past, especially in older homes. If it has, it's not a deal killer; just make sure there's a lifetime transferable warranty. Please take a look at the paperwork for the company that performed the foundation repairs to verify that they are still in business. While walking through the home do the floors seem level, or does it feel like you are walking uphill or downhill. Open and close all interior doors. Do the doors close, or do they stick in the jamb, or they won't close at all. Please open the door and let go of door does it stay in the position you left it in, or does it close by itself. Now put the door in the closed position without latching does the door remain in place or does it open by itself. Look for cracks at interior and exterior above doors and windows. These can be cosmetic or structural cracks. Large separating cracks at the exterior brick veneer can be an indication of foundation issues. Look for cracks at the exterior at the exposed foundation if visible. Cracks alone do not mean the foundation is defective, but a large separating crack is a cause for concern. Corner cracks are more of a cosmetic issue, but large separating cracks that aren't located at corners can be a concern.
Does the home have aluminum shingle stranded wiring?
If you're buying a home built in the 1970"s or before one thing, you should ask the seller if the home has single stranded aluminum wiring. Aluminum single-stranded wiring is not used today because of the potential fire hazards. Also, I would note that it may be challenging to gain homeowner's insurance coverage with a home with aluminum single-stranded wire.