I know how frustrating it can be to go under contract on a home just to find out there are major defects found at the home inspection. These issues can be negotiated, but there are no guarantees the seller will fix these items or negotiate the price down. The bottom line is you have already committed to the home emotionally and somewhat financially. Yes you can get back your earnest money, but you still have money out for inspections. I get it your not a home inspector, but there are some simple things you can do while your walking through the home. Lets take a look at some simple things that can be red flags so you can make the best home buying decision.
- Read through the sellers disclosure carefully before putting in your offer and ask seller some important questions. Find out if the home has ever been flooded with the recent heavy rains in our area this year (2016) it's a possibility the home had water inside the interior of the home. You can also obtain a clue report this will let you know if there are insurance claims made on the home. The clue report is a great way of finding out some history about the home. Ask the seller the age of A/C and heating unit or units. The average life span is 12 to 18 years, but they can fail earlier. If the unit is over 12 years old it will become less reliable and need more repairs or replacement costing you money. Find out the age of the roof remember most asphalt shingles last about 20 years in the Houston area the lower end asphalt single only last about 15 years. Roofing material is expensive to replace so knowing how old it is gives you an ideal of how much life is left unless the singles have been damaged. Look up at roof there may be obvious damage or missing singles visible from the ground
2. While walking through the home do the floors seem level or does it feel like your walking uphill or downhill. Open and close all interior doors. Do the doors close or do they stick in jamb or they won't close at all. Open door and let go of door does it stay in the position you left it or does it close by itself. Now put they door in the closed position without latching does the door stay in position or does it open by itself. Look for cracks in home at interior and exterior above doors and windows these can be cosmetic or structural cracks. Large separating cracks at the exterior brick veneer can be an indication of foundation issues. Look for cracks at exterior at the exposed foundation if visible. Cracks alone do not mean the foundation is defective ,but a large separating crack is cause for concern. Corner cracks are more of a cosmetic issue, but large separating cracks that aren't located at corners can be a concern. If you see these types of issues there may be a foundation issue at home.
3. On your way through the home don't forget to look up at the ceiling. If you see any stains make sure to ask seller what the problem was there may be a past or present leak at the area. This could be from the roof leaking or there could be a plumbing problem. Also look for any significant cracks in the drywall at the ceiling.
4. This may be beyond your scoop ,but if you know what galvanized plumbing supplies look like( If you are buying an older home) it's a good ideal to see if galvanized supplies are present. Galvanized last from 40 to 60 years ,but can fail earlier. If the home you are being was built in the 60's or 70's their's a good chance there may be galvanized supplies present and at that age it's just a matter of time until they will start leaking. So if you know what galvanized looks like it's a good ideal to check under the sinks and at attic area to see what type of plumbing supplies are present.
5. Although this seems like a lot of things to check out most of these things can be observed while your walking through the home without taking too much time or effort. This won't make you a home inspector, but it can make it easier to weed through homes. Although this may not eliminate all major issues it diffidently can eliminate some major issues and make the home buying process go smoother. Hope this helps all you home buyers out in the future good luck.