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Buying A Home: How To Inspect A House

June 13, 2024

Get A Home Inspection

Borrowers should always pay a licensed pro to inspect a home as a condition of buying a house. But before paying for that important service, the borrower has to look at multiple homes to find the right one to make an offer on.

That process can be daunting for some first-time home buyers. What do you need to look for in a home’s physical condition to decide whether to buy?

Inspecting The House

In some cases you can learn by looking and researching later. When reviewing the basement, do you see cracked walls? A bit of research reveals that may be a symptom of a foundation problem, which is a serious issue.

Another red flag is evidence of “excessive moisture” in the crawl space where applicable. Pooling water in the basement is also a red flag. You can spot these yourself, but they are fairly easy to see.

The roof, on the other hand, is harder to see but one of the most crucial areas to pay attention to.

Due to insurance liability issues, you likely won’t be permitted to step onto the roof for a closer look, but examine it from the street anyway. Does the roof have missing shingles or damaged spots, or is there standing water on it?

What about tiles that are curling or seem newer than the others? All these may indicate larger issues that could be a deal-breaker unless you plan to buy a fixer-upper with the FHA 203(k) rehab loan option.

Different Roof Types May Have Different Issues

Some borrowers might not think the roof issue is a deal breaker, that they will have it repaired before move-in, end of issue.

But depending on the circumstances, roof repair can be more costly and complicated than expected. Roof maintenance may cost more depending on the incline of the roof…a steeper roof requires more safety considerations than a flatter one, and that may drive up the cost.

Ask The Owner About The State Of The Roof

Sometimes, it’s a good idea to review the property without asking questions of the owner until the end. The quality of their answers may be telling. What happens when you ask the owner how old the roof is? Do you get a straight answer? Or does the seller hesitate?

Be sure to note what the seller says when asking whether the roof has been damaged, repaired, and maintained. If the seller won’t be straightforward about the condition of the roof, you can always ask the seller how old the house is and assume the roof is at least that old.

Joe Wallace - Staff Writer

By Joe Wallace

Joe Wallace has been specializing in military and personal finance topics since 1995. His work has appeared on Air Force Television News, The Pentagon Channel, ABC and a variety of print and online publications. He is a 13-year Air Force veteran and a member of the Air Force Public Affairs Alumni Association. He was Managing editor for www.valoans.com for (8) years and is currently the Associate Editor for FHANewsblog.com.

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