Some sound advice often given to home shoppers is not to walk through the house as you would walk through a museum.
That is, you shouldn’t just stroll through passively gazing and ooh-ing and ah-ing at the beautiful objects. Nope, you need to observe carefully and closely, using a keen, critical eye, poking in and around and under everything.
If you don’t, you may be in for some very unpleasant and enormously costly surprises if you do buy the house. Keep in mind, then, these 5 things you shouldn’t overlook when buying a house in Washington, DC.
5 Things You Shouldn’t Overlook When Buying a House in Washington, DC – Trust Us, You Don’t Want to Make These Mistakes
1. Plumbing Problems
A small water stain on a ceiling or wall may not seem very significant, but it could be indicative of a much larger plumbing problem. A small leak in a water line can be present for quite some time before the damage is apparent – damaged drywall, rotted subflooring, mold and mildew. So be on the lookout for water leaks, water stains, sagging/spongy areas in floors, and mildew.
Of all the things you shouldn’t overlook when buying a house in Washington, DC, the presence of harmful mold may be the hardest to detect. A little surface mold in a poorly ventilated bathroom is pretty common and nothing to worry about really. But black mold in a basement or crawl space is a grave matter.
Mold abatement performed by a licensed professional service can be very expensive. It may take more than one effort, and then you have to take measures to ensure that the mold doesn’t return.
3. Roof Issues
If you find roof problems, there will probably be problems in other areas of the home as well. When you have a roof leak, the water doesn’t just drip straight down from the point of access. After getting through the roofing, it often travels down the roof following the path of least resistance until it enters the house unnoticed to work its damage undetected for a long time.
You need to keep a watch for broken or missing shingles/tiles and sagging spots on the roof. A new roof alone can cost you a minimum of $5,000.
4. Window Problems
Many people don’t consider it, but issues with windows are one of the things you shouldn’t overlook when buying a house in Washington, DC. Always check the windows to make sure they open easily and slide freely. If you encounter any sticking because the windows have gotten out of square or out of plumb, it could indicate foundation issues – a major headache and an enormously costly repair job.
Also, if the home is advertised as having new windows, be sure and check them out anyway. Even if it wasn’t a DIY job, they still may be improperly installed because most window-installation companies operate on a volume basis, and their employees work fast. You don’t want to find out the windows need to be replaced after you close on the house.
5. Shoddy Improvements and Renovations
Shoddy improvements and renovations are bad enough in themselves, but they can be signs of further and deeper issues. If for example, you notice that one wall in a room has been hastily painted, it could indicate that the seller is trying to hide something like mildew or water stains. And, of course, a shoddily built deck or a poorly laid driveway will cost you a bundle to put right.
Buyin a home always has an element of risk in it. You can, however, greatly reduce that risk by watching for the things you shouldn’t overlook when buying a house in Washington, DC.