Sure, the home inspector will most likely find the major things wrong with the house – at least those he or she can see with the naked eye. But, why wait until you’re under contract on a home to find out about its flaws?
Before falling head-over-heels for a home, put on your big-kid glasses and look at it critically. Whether you want to call them “red flags,” “cautions” or signs that you should run like you-know-what, homes give clues to what ails them.
Most homes have problems
Even newly-built homes have problems, so it’s rare to find a home with nothing going on. Luckily, most of the time it’s an easy fix, such as a running toilet or dripping faucet. It’s the biggies, though – the failing septic tank, foundation problems and water intrusion that cost the most money to fix.
Going into the purchase process with knowledge is a powerful feeling, so let’s take a look at some of what you should be on the lookout for as you tour homes for sale in Billings.
Does it stink?
Clogged sewer lines and septic tanks are expensive fixes so if you smell anything even remotely akin to sewage, think twice about the house. At the very least, have an additional inspection performed to find out what’s going on.
If the home is on a septic system, find out where the drain fields are and use your nose to sniff out any problems there as well.
Other tests you can perform include running the water in the bathroom. If it drains slowly or it emits gurgling sounds, there may be a problem. Gurgling sounds from the toilet may also be an indication of problems. The average cost of a video inspection of the drain lines in Billings is about $260.
To understand how expensive repairs to sewer lines can get, the average price for a 11-foot sewer pipe’s installation is about $6,500 in Billings, according to ProMatcher.com.
Septic systems aren’t much cheaper to repair. Bob Drayton, a septic guy in New Jersey, says that the cost of replacing the drainfield can run as high as $5,000. A new septic system runs an average of about $7,557 in Billings.
Foundation problems can be pricey
If walking across the floor in that dream house feels akin to the carnival fun house you loved as a kid, the home may have foundation problems. This is especially true if the home has a slab foundation or basement, according to the experts at Brackett Foundation Repair in Durham, North Carolina.
I couldn’t find an average price for foundation work for Billings, but the pros at Centex Foundation Repair in Central Texas say that you should plan on spending between $2,100 to more than $13,000. They say the average job costs the homeowner somewhere in the neighborhood of $5,600.
If you suspect foundation problems it’s best to have the home inspected by an engineer. That will cost you in the neighborhood of $300 or more.
Plumbing system red flags
Low water pressure is a common problem in homes and it’s not necessarily the sign of a huge, expensive repair. It may be a faulty water softener or something as simple as mineral deposits in the faucet’s aerator.
Then again, the home may have damaged pipes that leak. Look for wet or signs of past water intrusion on the floors or a hissing sound when you turn on the tap.
One way to tell if the toilet is leaking is to remove your shoes and press your toes on the floor around it. Now, this won’t work if the floor is tile, but if the flooring is vinyl and it feel squishy, there may be a leak.
If you suspect any major problems, it pays to call in a specialist to investigate. Especially if this is the home you’ve been searching for. There’s always a chance the fix will be cheap and easy and, thus, worth the couple hundred dollars you’ll pay for the inspection.