Becoming a homeowner is an exciting event in anyone’s life. It’s the most significant investment that many of us will ever make, and the financial aspect is only a part of the experience. It’s the place you’ll make memories, and it’s the place you’ll make repairs.
It’s important to keep those repairs in mind as you search for the perfect place. There are unexpected expenses hiding in every home’s future, and finding the flaws early can save you a world of problems later. Here are five of the most important things to do when evaluating a new home.
Acquire the Drainage Diagram
It’s not pretty, but it’s quite necessary to check the drainage diagram of the property. Also known as a sewage service diagram, it’s an official document filed with the state’s water board that shows where the pipes are located on the property.
Once you’ve learned to read it properly, the drainage diagram will note any upgrades that have been made to the sewage system. If the home is still serviced by old, clay pipes, you’ll inevitably face repairs when they need to be upgraded.
Have no doubt, clay pipes will need to be upgraded eventually. As you might imagine, the situation is even worse if any add-ons – like a deck or an extension – are located above them at the time.
Plumb its Depths
If you’re considering an older home, it’s important to check the plumbing inside the house as well. Check things like the water pressure in the taps and the age of the water heater, ask if the pipes are insulated and, of course, make sure they’re not lead.
With luck, the home’s plumbing will have been upgraded to include new, state-of-the-art plumbing materials. High quality valves have greatly improved the flow of water in and under our homes, vastly reducing the likelihood of leaks and bursts.
Consider the Walls
Hairline cracks are commonplace, but large cracks are a sure indication of large problems looming in the future. Pay particular attention to warning signs like doors that fail to latch and cracks where walls meet ceilings – these kinds of things can indicate serious structural problems.
If you’re at all concerned, hiring a surveyor can give you some peace of mind. They’re not always cheap, but neither are major home repairs. While there are a few different kinds of surveys available, a full-on building survey will provide you with the most detailed information and useful advice.
Eye the Insulation
Insulation is rated based upon something its R-value. This value measures its resistance to the flow of heat, so the higher the R-value, the better it insulates.
The recommended R-value of the insulation in a home varies widely depending upon the region’s climate. Homes in warmer climates don’t need a rating of more than R25 to R30, but you won’t want any less than R38 if your winters are long and cold.
As with most home upgrades and repairs, replacing a home’s insulation is a very costly endeavour. If the new home is fitted with sub-par insulation, you’ll have to add it to the cost of the home.
Take an Overview of the Roof
Signs of water damage, moisture and mould should be at the top of your mind as you inspect the attic. They’re also the last things you want to find. The attic is the first part of the house that will start to experience the negative effects of roof damage.
If everything looks good, you’ll still want to include roof painting in your home buying budget. It’s been found that dark roofing leads to excessive heat retention and wasteful cooling costs. The sooner you lighten up your new roof, the more you’ll save over time.
Despite the potential pitfalls, buying a new home is an exciting adventure. You’ll inevitably have to make a few repairs over the years, but a little foresight and some strategically planted trees will help to guarantee you’ve bought a home you’ll love for years.