Once you’ve unpacked the last moving box in your new home, the fun can finally begin, right? Not always. After surmounting the stressful endeavor of house hunting, placing an offer, navigating the closing process, and completing your move, the last thing you want to face are unexpected repairs. Even if you complete your due diligence during the homebuying process, sometimes costly, time-consuming repairs can sneak up on you. What’s a newly minted homeowner to do?
For starters, equip yourself with useful information, and you may be able to avoid calamity when it comes to call. Keep an eye out for these three common repair problems that often befall homeowners, and you’ll dodge a bullet, save money, and be able to enjoy your home from the onset.
Age Isn’t Just a Number
When buyers learn that a house is twenty years old, it doesn’t seem so bad. If the house looks sturdy and clean, or if it has a hint of fresh paint, it’s not unreasonable to assume that all the major functions are in good working order. But did you know that most home systems have a lifespan of only fifteen to twenty years?
Heating and cooling systems, furnaces, roofing, and appliances are all due for updates near the 15 to 20-year mark. This doesn’t mean that houses older than a decade aren’t worth your while. As with anything, routine maintenance is the key to longevity. If a house appears in good shape, but these core systems have never been updated or maintained, you may be in for a slew of repairs.
If you planned ahead for repairs and updates when making your offer—that’s an excellent place to begin. Just don’t be surprised if the roof that passed inspection, but is coming up on two decades of life, might be in need of some refreshing after only a few months or years in your new abode.
There’s More Than Meets the Eye
House flippers often buy homes at auction, without the benefit of an in-depth inspection. As a result, renovators focus on repairs and updates that entice buyers—new paint, modern appliances, shiny wood floors, and boatloads of curb appeal. Of course, a house is far more than its façade and décor. While a flipped home can seem contemporary and clean, structural issues may be lurking below the surface.
This is where a proper, qualified home inspection can save you endless agony if done up front. Foundation issues, structural infestations (like carpenter ants or termites), and chronic moisture that leads to mold, can put a damper on your twenty-first century aesthetic. Pay extra attention to what lies beneath to ensure your shiny new home is what it’s reported to be, and not a money pit of lengthy repairs, debugging foggers, and mold removal procedures.
A Fixer-Upper Gone Awry
Plenty of home buyers search for a fixer-upper with hopes to complete renovation work on their own, or down the line. There’s nothing wrong with this approach, and it can often create a financially-sound path to a home that exudes character and a personal touch. However, fixer-uppers are only worth the hassle if they come with decent structure that won’t send your budget into overdrive.
When buying a fixer-upper, a homeowner ought to fully understand the framework he or she is working within before taking on a project as big as a house. For instance, drainage issues, structural instability, foundation damage, ill-placed loadbearing walls, and prohibitive zoning laws can put a damper on your big ideas. While a fixer-upper comes with its fair share of obstacles to overcome, some issues aren’t worth the money, time or professional repairs required to pass inspection.
Whether you’re hoping to avoid a pricey roof repair, shoddy foundation work, or out-of-date appliances on the fritz, keep these common repair problems in mind as you navigate the process of homeownership, and settle into what should be—if all goes according to plan—the home of your dreams.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Altisource Online Auction, Inc., Altisource® or any Altisource affiliate. The foregoing content is not intended to constitute, and in fact does not constitute, financial, investment, tax or legal advice by the author, Altisource Online Auction, Inc., Altisource or any Altisource affiliate.