While it is exciting to look at new homes, prospective homeowners should also go into each house with a safety checklist in mind. After all, income taxes account for 50% of all federal revenue. This lofty purchase should not be taken lightly. A house can look great from the outside but have some serious flaws beneath the shiny exterior.
Not sure what to look for when touring homes? Here are five things to check right off the bat.
Check the Pipes
This is a detail that can easily get overlooked when looking for a new home. It’s important to pay attention to a home’s plumbing for a number of reasons.
For starters, find out what kind of pipes are in the house. Pipes made out of different materials have different lifespans, so it’s important to know what they’re made out of and when they were installed.
If a home does have older pipes in it, an inspector should evaluate them. Homes built before the 1950s should definitely be inspected, as lead pipes were put in many homes during the early 1900s. In some cases, lead can seep out of the pipes and make its way into drinking water. Lead poisoning is a serious illness, especially in young children. It can cause seizures, hearing loss, and delays in development. Older pipes also have a greater chance of leaking, which can cause damage to the home.
Check If the Home Has Important Systems Installed
There are a few safety features that every new home should have. For example, while you’re taking a tour, ask if there’s a sump pump in the basement.
Sump pumps are designed to collect any extra moisture from a basement and pump it away from the home. They are normally found in homes that are susceptible to basement flooding. If you’re moving to an area that’s known for flooding, it’s important that you check if the home has a sump pump. If it doesn’t, there’s a chance the home could sustain flood damage.
You should also check if the home has a radon mitigation system installed. Radon mitigation systems are designed to decrease the amount of radon gas in a structure. Radon naturally occurs when uranium present in soil breaks down and is released into the air. Radon can enter a home through cracks and it can stay in your home without proper ventilation.
Radon is a tasteless and odorless gas, which means it’s hard to detect when it enters your home. Long-term radon exposure can cause serious health issues, such as lung cancer. This is why it’s important to check if a home has a radon mitigation system installed. There are different kinds of mitigation systems available, including passive systems. Passive systems of mitigation have been shown to be capable of reducing indoor radon levels by more than 50%, so check to see if a home has this kind of system first.
If a home doesn’t have a radon mitigation system installed, you must take that into consideration once it comes time to close. Installing one may be something you want to work into your negotiations with the seller.
Look Out For Warped Floors
You should be on the lookout for any signs of property damage when looking for a new home. This includes checking if there are any warped floors in the home.
Floors often become warped when they’re in an area that has high humidity, or if they’ve been exposed to water. Warped floors are a safety hazard because people can easily trip when walking on them. Also, if a home has warped floors, there could be more underlying issues with the flooring or foundation beneath your home.
Fixing a warped floor may sound like a simple task, but if you aren’t careful, it could quickly become an expensive and time-consuming project.
Make Sure You Know the Age of the Roof
One thing prospective home buyers often don’t see when touring a home is the roof. However, it’s crucial that prospective buyers get as much information as they can about how old the roof is and its current condition.
Roofs are exposed to all sorts of weather, which means they can get damaged easily. The older a roof is, the more likely it is to become damaged. Some indicators of an aging and damaged roof include broken or missing shingles, ice buildup, and water leaks. These indicators can damage a home even further. For example, an old roof can cause some serious damage to an attic if it’s leaking. Homeowners may not even notice the damage until it’s too late.
When looking at homes, always ask about the roof’s condition. Replacing a roof can be an expensive project, so you may be able to work out a deal with sellers during closing.
Evaluate the Safety of the Neighborhood
You may find a house you love, but before you make an offer, you must take a look at the neighborhood. Is it off of a main road? Will there be a lot of traffic on your street? These are important factors to consider if you prefer a quiet neighborhood. As such, taking a drive around the neighborhood is vital. After all, 68% of shoppers make decisions from the comfort of their car; why should looking for the right home be any different?
It’s also important to look at your neighbors. Who are they? Are there mostly families around, or are there single homeowners on your street? Do they seem happy with where they live? If there are a lot of houses for sale in a neighborhood, that could be a warning sign that something is off.
Also, take a look at the fixtures and amenities near a neighborhood. Are there parks, or schools? These community features could also give you a sense of how safe the neighborhood is. Performing a cursory search of nearby health features can also ensure your family is safe in the event of an emergency. Urgent care centers average 3 million visitors each week, making these a necessary addition to any growing family.
Remember, a home should make you and your family feel safe. If a home is missing a crucial safety structure or doesn’t provide a safe environment, then it’s time to move on and tour other houses. It doesn’t matter how good of a deal you can get on a house. Your safety is priceless, so if something about a home is risking it, it’s time to walk away.