House Hunting Deals Destined for Doom

House Hunting Deals Destined for Doom
  • Opening Intro -

    You're shopping for a new home and have surveyed the market. Prices are good, you are approved for a mortgage and it just a matter of time before you find the home of your dreams.

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Before you make your offer, you’ll want to check carefully to ensure that your home doesn’t have the following deal breakers or what can ultimately doom your purchase.

1. No central air-conditioning — Unless you live in areas of the country where summer temperatures are moderate, you’ll find that air-conditioning is necessary to help keep your air cool and clean. Window units are fine where a/c is an occasional need, but a strong and working central air-conditioning system is necessary everywhere else. Without a system in place, you’ll invest about $7,000 for a new one.

2. Insufficient plumbing or electrical lines — The owner is proud of his finished basement, a project he handled on weekends over the past few years. New carpeting is in place, the room is dry and a bathroom has been installed. Check that bathroom carefully as the toilet may not get rid of waste on the first flush. Also, look around for electrical outlets and connections. Problems with plumbing or electricity may not be enough to stop a sale, but can cost you dearly later on.

3. An older kitchen — You love the house, its location, and the neighborhood in general. But, why are you skittish about making a deal? It’s the kitchen, that’s why. The cabinets are fine, nothing that a coat of paint and new hardware can’t make look great. The problem is with the appliances including the aged electric stove, the dicey dishwasher and the old refrigerator. Moreover, the sink hasn’t seen an update since the 1970s. Expect to pay at least $3,000 to whip this kitchen into shape and by then you’ll want new counters, new flooring and other updates that will add to this cost.

4. Flooring problems — The wood floors in the dining room are beautiful, stained and level. Unfortunately, you cannot say the same for the rest of the house. The living room has a shag carpet circa 1975. The main bathroom floor is stained and cracked. One or two bedrooms have floors that creak and groan as you walk across the surface. If this home doesn’t have a deeper structural issue, it will still cost you thousands of dollars to make each room pretty.

5. A patchwork roof — At first glance, the roof doesn’t look that bad. On closer inspection, you can see that some shingles have been replaced. Look along the chimney and air vents, and you may wonder if the flashing is in place. The biggest problem with this roof is that it tends to leak during heavy rains. Patching no longer helps and to put a new roof on will mean removing two layers of shingles, replacing most of the plywood, hanging new gutters and downspouts, and installing new soffits. When all is said and done, you’re looking at a bill that is well above $10,000.

Renovations Now

Certainly, you can use whatever problems you find with the home you want to buy as leverage in your negotiating. If the owner decides not to mix repairs, you need to discount your offer accordingly. Keep in mind that whatever renovations you handle will inconvenience you. Installing new central air is one thing, but renovating a kitchen while you’re living in the home can be a major headache. With the latter, you may simply wish to cancel the deal.

See AlsoHow to Clear Snow From Your Roof

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Categories: Home Structure

About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Auto Trends Magazine", an online publication. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and weblogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".