Buying a house, even if it is a second-hand property is one of life’s biggest and most momentous moments and an important financial decision. So you of course want to make sure it is the right decision and that the house you are buying is problem-free and will not cost you more in repairs and other odd jobs as the years go by.
There are fewer chances of this happening if it is a new-build; however, a lot of people buy properties that are years old and have been lived in by other families. It is with a second-hand property that one must be more careful, to ensure the structure and foundation are still solid and problem-free.
This is why I have compiled a list of things to look for when buying a second-hand property, to ensure you are not stuck with damaged walls or leaking roofs and extra expenses later on.
Issues of a Second-Hand Property
Walls – Structure And Water Damage
The first place to inspect a second-hand property is with the walls. The walls are the structural foundation of the house so it is of great importance to check for cracks, fissures, or gaps in them, either on the exterior or the interior. These could be because of adverse weather conditions such as strong winds or expanding or contracting soil. Small cracks might seem insignificant now but could lead to serious problems over time as the structure of the house might experience foundation movement.
Another sign to look out for are water-damaged walls. Again, due to a lot of rain or an internal leak, or a poor drainage system, the walls could be getting damp which could be detrimental in the long run. In this case, water damage restoration is a must, to save you from bigger (and more expensive) issues later on. Damp walls are also a breeding ground for mold, mildew, termites, and rotting wood and could even emit a foul, musty odor over time.
Sagging, Uneven Floors/ Sinking Foundation
If the house appears to be ‘sinking’ (one side of the house seems lower than the other as if tilted) or you notice certain parts of the floor are ‘sagging’ or uneven, it is another warning sign of foundation problems, and must be looked into immediately.
This is a very common problem with a second-hand property and unfortunately can be expensive or even unfixable. Make sure to call for a professional inspection if you think there is even a slight chance of problems in these areas.
Don’t Forget The Roof!
We often tend to forget about checking out the structure and quality of the roof of a house as we don’t see it quite in front of us… but this is a mistake that you might have to pay for later on. Tiles could be missing from the roof, which would allow cold air/ rain to seep in. Or there could be cracks and holes in the roof which again would be the starting point for cold air, rain, termites to enter.
If there are a number of loose or damaged tiles, you might want to consider a roof replacement as this is an indication of a weak roof that possibly could cave in – and that’s not safe! A roof is another area in a second-hand property that should be checked by a professional.
And don’t just look on top of the roof, check out the condition of the loft as well as that will show you the internal structure of your roof. Is the wood old and moldy? Are the beams sturdy? Is it insulated? (More on that in the next point). Always get a thorough roof inspection done before signing on the dotted line.
Check The Insulation Of The House
Again, this is something that is not quite visible and in-your-face, so you might tend to let it slip. But checking the insulation of your second-hand property can save you loads of money on your heating bills!
We often turn up the heating during the freezing winter months, but if the walls and roof are properly insulated, they can trap the heat in and keep the house warmer. Which means lowering your thermostat and heating bills.
Heating and Plumbing
Again, a rather boring area but a crucial one nonetheless. However lovely your home might be, if the heating isn’t working at its optimum level or the plumbing isn’t perfect, you’ll be faced with cold drafts and leaky walls – and neither are nice!
Invest in a good quality boiler – a few extra hundred dollars will go a long way. The last thing you want is your heating dying on you in the middle of winter or no hot water in your house! Make sure the plumbing of the house is intact and up-to-date. You don’t want to paint and decorate the walls only to find water stains and cracks on them a few months down the line. Or having to break down walls to get your plumbing fixed.
Final Thoughts on a Second-Hand Property
A second-hand property can be a great investment in the long run, but make sure to do the correct inspections first, especially to the walls, the foundations and floors, and the roof. Get a professional inspection to be sure. Then you will have piece of mind that your second-hand property is a wise investment.