So you’re in the market for a house, huh? Whether you’re looking for something brand-new or an older home with some well-worn character, no house is perfect. No matter what your dream home looks like, be on the lookout for major problems that can’t be fixed without major expense—or even at all. Before you get too attached to that too-good-to-pass-up house, here’s what to look for:
Though foundation cracks are more likely to be found in older homes, it’s always a good idea to check for them in any home, old or new. These cracks can occur in concrete, stone or brick. A few hairline or stair-step cracks in concrete are likely not significant. However, these are some serious signs of trouble that may be too expensive to fix in the long run:
- A stair-step crack that breaks a brick, block or solid concrete.
- Horizontal cracks, wide cracks (think the width of a fingernail or more) or a pattern of cracks that start on one side of a corner and pick up on the other side.
- A crack that is wider at the top.
- A crack with an uneven surface normally indicates that the house is shifting. Rub your hand over the crack to determine if one edge is higher than the other.
If you see any foundation issues, get an estimate on how much it would cost to repair. Foundation repairs normally don’t come cheap, so it may be in your best interest to look at other houses.
A sagging roof can develop when there’s something weighing it down, like too many shingles or the collective weight of snow over the years. Look for a straight chimney and roof line when you look at the home from the street. Depending on the level of damage, the existing roof may be fixed or need to be replaced, which can run you over $8000.
Doors and Windows That Don’t Work
Doors and windows that don’t operate well may be a sign of a bigger foundation problem. Test the doors and windows for a smooth ability to open and close, noting any sticking. Check that the doors fit squarely in the jambs. If you get a second opinion and determine that it’s not a foundation problem, this may actually be an easy fix. It costs little to nothing to trim the doorframe for an easier swing and placement. If the house is skewed, however, it will cost a little more to prop up or replace posts and beams.
Prospective homeowners should also look for sloping floors, failed siding or mold/water stains on ceilings and walls when house hunting. If you decide to take on a home that needs a few relatively inexpensive fixes, remember to call Texas811 before you dig.