Real estate maintenance issues

Imagine finding what appears to be a great property, priced to sell, and located in a hot market. You’ve made an offer that’s been accepted pending the results of a home inspection. It’s easy to look at the purchase price as well as the drafted after repair value (APV) based on comparable sales and think you’ve found the deal of the century. But resist the temptation to get ahead of yourself. Some homes that seem like diamonds in the rough can turn out to be all rough and no diamond, something you might discover the hard way if you do not examine these three key maintenance hazards before buying:

Real estate maintenance issues

1: Roof
During your walk around the property to examine the foundation, make sure to get a good look at the roof. The roof can be a very costly item down the road if you fail to take prudent steps ahead of time—look over the roof, gutters, and shingles. Your home inspector should look for major slopes, grooves, or weak spots on the roof, which could signal issues with the roof decking, indicate weakness in the structure of the home or aged materials that can require costly repairs down the road.

The condition of the shingles (and whether there are multiple levels of shingles) is important.  Curved, missing, or more than two layers of shingles all suggest the roof is more than 15 years old. Your inspector should examine soffits and, if applicable, venting. Generally, you want to be looking at a roof no more than 10 years old and in proper shape to avoid major, expensive maintenance hazards early in the life of the property.

2: Foundation
One of the first things to look at with any home you intend to buy is the foundation. Regardless of whether it’s a basement, crawl or slab, you want your home inspector to assure you that the foundation is in good shape—a house without a good foundation can lead to high repair and ongoing maintenance costs that can suck up any potential profit the deal may offer.

Walking around the home, look for signs of cracking on the exterior and examine the ground around the home for any signs of water damage. Pay very close attention to see if any chips or blocks appear awkwardly positioned, broken, or shifting. A careful visual inspection of the exterior can alert you to potential problems that should be thoroughly inspected by a professional.

In basements, look for signs of water infiltration and leakage issues by looking for stains, cracking or worn-out grout on interior basement walls, especially a few inches off the ground. Examine any mechanicals in the basement to see if any of them show signs of having been damaged by water in the past. If you see any warning signs of current or previous foundation issues, do not move forward without a thorough professional inspection. In the inspector confirms serious foundation problems, you could be looking at a scenario that would cost you any profit potential and then some.

3: Electric panel & furnace
Another important part of your inspection walk-through of the property is the electric and furnace. For starters, you are looking to see if the house has a minimum of 100 amps. In today’s electronic-centric society, a property with less than a100-amp minimum will undoubtedly cause issues with the home’s electric system— issues not only in terms of maintenance hazards but fire hazards as well.

Upon inspection, make sure the furnace is at least an 80 percent efficient. Use due care when examining the furnace, including the age of the unit before you close on the property and begin any rehab work you have planned to avoid unforeseen problems.

When searching for a great property to purchase, do not be lured in by great pricing with motivated sellers and the perception of a great margin without fully inspecting potential maintenance problems. If you’re motivated primarily by potential profit, the rule of thumb is to never allow major maintenance issues to slip by unnoticed or ignored. Make sure to hire an experienced inspector and if the results of an inspection leave any doubt, get a second opinion from another inspector or trusted contractors.

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Real estate maintenance issues