Top 5 Home Buying Deal-Breakers: What to Watch Out For

Top 5 Home Buying Deal-Breakers: What to Watch Out For

Home Buying Deal Breakers As a home buyer, it's generally good advice to strive for a "win-win" scenario when making a purchase, rather than treating the deal as adversarial.  At the same time, it's of course wise to be mindful of your own best interests too.

Working with a trusted real estate professional is the first step. Your real estate agent brings experience and important industry knowledge regarding what issues need to be considered as deal-breakers when home shopping. It also is to your benefit to be as informed as possible.

Check out the top five home buying deal-breakers and keep each in mind when touring any home for sale.

1. Roof Issues

Before you even enter the home and fall in love with its gorgeous hardwood floors, spacious master bath, and updated kitchen — check the roof and ask about the age of the roof. On average, a roof that's maintained properly can have a lifespan of about 20 to 30 years, depending on the type of roofing materials. Look for missing/damaged shingles, missing/broken gutters and downspouts, and if the flashing around the chimney is missing/damaged.

If a home inspection has already been done by the seller, ask to see a copy and verify the roof has no leaks that can cause structural damage as well as mold, which can be a health hazard.

A roof that needs significant repairs or a full replacement can cost several thousand dollars. HomeAdvisor reports that the average cost of a new roof is between $4,000 and $8,000. Roofing costs will vary by region, materials, and size of house.

2. Foundation Trouble

Even if you think it's your dream home, think twice about buying a home with significant foundation trouble. Obvious foundation issues include a house that looks like it's visibly sinking or one that has large or numerous cracks you can see when walking around the outside or when you're looking at the basement or crawlspace walls/floor. Sloping floors and doors that won't shut properly also may indicate foundation problems.

Hairline cracks on a basement or garage wall are not necessarily a deal breaker, but if the cracks are wide it's time to check out the home inspection report or have a foundation specialist take a look.

3. Mold

Mold in basements and crawlspaces can indicate a variety of issues with the home and often develops when there are foundation cracks/leaks, when windows or doors leak, and when there has been any type of water damage. Water damage plus poor air circulation create ideal conditions for mold.

Mold can develop behind the drywall in a bathroom or laundry room if the space is not properly ventilated, but this doesn't have to be a deal breaker. The mold-affected drywall can be replaced and ventilation improved with a fan. Check the attic for mold as well. A leaking roof can lead to mold growth throughout the attic space, including on insulation, which then would need to be replaced.

A home with a significant mold problem can pose health issues for the occupants.

4. Asbestos and Radon

A home inspection report will show if asbestos or radon have been detected (radon tests are not standard in all regions). Asbestos insulation in the home, especially around pipes should be removed or it can be a health hazard leading to afflictions such as asbestosis and mesothelioma (in which case you may be able to consult a mesothelioma lawyer). Radon, which is a colorless/odorless gas, also is a serious health hazard. If found in the home, it needs to be mitigated. Removing both asbestos and radon can be expensive depending on the amount and the size of the home.

5. Wiring and Electrical Issues

Exposed wires from a DIY project poses a safety hazard and should be fixed by a qualified electrician. While exposed wires don't have to be a deal breaker when buying a home (they do need to be fixed!) it's old electrical work that can be expensive to have brought up to code. Outdated knob-and-tube wiring throughout a home needs to be brought up-to-date by a professional electrician or it can be a fire hazard. This could be something your real estate agent works negotiates into the price if you decide to purchase the home.

Before deciding any home issue is a deal-breaker, talk to your real estate agent. They can guide you and offer the professional advice you need when buying a home. #hw

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