When it comes to home buying, very few people go in knowing all the traps. The vast majority of folks go out and look for the things they want in a home with little thought about the hidden things that might make it a nightmare. As horrible and salacious as that might seem, it is an unfortunate aspect of home buying that we can’t afford to ignore…ask anyone that bought a money pit.
What exactly is a money pit?
A money pit is simply a home that you sunk an initial investment into, and then continued to have to spend money that was unexpected on top of that initial investment. Sometimes it is simply a lack of foresight…that is, awareness of just how much work had to be put into a home to make it right. Whether the money pit is hidden or right out front, there are no shortages of people diving in. The key is to not be one of them.
How do I avoid a money pit?
The simplest way to do this is to pay an expert to come in and check the house from top to bottom. Even these “experts” can get it wrong but if you are careful to find one that is highly recommended you can save yourself thousands. These are people that will come in and check the things that we generally would not think about.
If you can’t afford to pay an expert, here are some things to watch out for.
Start with a budget in mind
If you are buying the house for long term living, know what you want to sink into the property. Take away the mortgage and expenses and look at the home with that figure in mind. If you see more repairs than your budget can handle, walk away and never look back. The things you do see are rarely the only things there. Assume there will be unexpected expenses along the way. You have to budget that.
Pay close attention to the heating/cooling systems
This is a common expense that many people overlook. They see that there is one and leave it at that. Find out how old the system is and how the air is pumped through the home. How is the insulation? What about the windows and doors? All of these things will add up and cost you money after the purchase if they are not good to go.
What about the water/plumbing?
Again, this can be hidden behind cabinets and flooring, but extremely expensive to fix if they are messed up. Check the plumbing out carefully and ask about any leaks or flooding. Hidden damage can be covered up by criminals, so make sure you see it for yourself.
Electrical systems are important too
Go through each area of the home and make certain that the electrical wiring is in check. Look for burned plugs, loose wires, or any other signs that something might be astray.
When you have problems with the foundation, you can pretty much count on major trouble. Look for larger trees near the outside of the home. Big trees near your home often means big roots that can crack a foundation. Look around the inside and see if you notice any floor cracking or wall cracks.
Finally, consider the changes that you will want to make. If the home has a den that you would love to turn into a larger bathroom, that should be figured into the planning and budgeting. No home is going to be cost free, but these major areas are too important to be ignored. Make sure you address them, and you will not ever have to worry about falling in a money pit.