If you're thinking about buying new home, but you don't have a big budget, you might want to consider a fixer-upper. Choosing a fixer-upper will allow you to save some money on your home purchase while adding some of your own personal touches to the finished project. Before you jump into the world of fixer-upper real estate, it's important to understand that this is not without its risks. In fact, some fixer-uppers can turn into huge money pits. This is particularly true if you purchase a fixer-upper that has more than just cosmetic defects. One way to protect yourself and avoid purchasing a money pit is to do a thorough inspection of the property.
Start with a Strong Foundation
The last thing you want to do is purchase a home with a faulty foundation. Damaged foundations can undermine the structural integrity of a home. Most people aren't going to voluntarily tell you that the foundation of their home is defective. Luckily, there are some steps you can take to identify the problem for yourself.
Start at the Driveway
When checking a home for foundation damage, you want to start at the driveway. Look at the concrete. If you see deep cracks in the concrete, follow those cracks through to the garage. If the cracks are visible in the garage, chances are good that they'll continue through to the house. This is an initial sign that there are problems with the foundation.
Walk the Floors
Once you've identified cracks in the driveway and garage, move on to the interior of the house. Walk throughout the house looking for ridges or gaps under the carpeting or flooring. Ridges and gaps are signs of foundation damage.
Open the Doors
After you've checked out the floors in the house, you'll want to move on to the doors. Open each of the doors. If you need to yank the doorknobs to get the doors open, or if the doors don't close properly, the doorjambs have likely shifted on the foundation.
Test the Plumbing and Electrical
Once you've inspected the foundation of the home, you should test the plumbing and electrical systems. These are simple tests that you can conduct while walking through the house.
Test the Plumbing
To test the plumbing in a fixer-upper, you'll need to flush both toilets at the same time. This will require two people. With one person in each bathroom, flush the toilets. If you hear gurgling sounds deep in the pipes, or if water backs up into the toilets or tubs, you have drain problems that will need to be addressed.
Test the Electrical
Wiring problems can be costly to repair, especially if you need to rewire the entire home. To identify electrical problems, turn several lights on in the house. Next, move to another room in the house and turn another light on. If the lights flicker, there might be a short in the wires. Finally, look at the electrical outlets. If you see scorch marks on any of the outlets, the wiring might be overheating.
If you're in the market for a fixer-upper, use the tips provided here to identify potential problems. For questions or concerns about purchasing a fixer-upper, be sure to speak to a real-estate agent in your area.