You want to buy a house, but you’re not sure that you can handle all that maintenance. Hell I just bought a house with a pool that looks like it hasn’t been touched in 8 years. I think I may have kicked out a snapping turtle with all the shock treatment Fox Pools had me put in there. Look no further – I’ve a few very quick, very easy points to add to your shopping list that will help you make that ever so hard, ever so expensive decision. Be sure to watch till the end because these tips work best when you have them all, and be sure to hit that like button if it’s close to your mouse and handy because that’s how you’ll get more helpful tips just like this one, and if you like it enough, you’re going to want to subscribe too!
The first and most obvious thing to look at is the age of the home, but not just the age of the home, also the age of the appliances. In some areas there wasn’t a codes inspector until well into the 80s or 90s, so homes built prior to that just didn’t have to meet certain standards. I once put a townhome under contract in Old Hickory, nearer to Hermitage that had 2x4s and drywall installed and boxed in, to route the a/c through a split level wall – as opposed to proper ductwork. I’m sure it saved them a buck or two, and evidently they didn’t have an inspector on that side of town until around ‘89. At least that’s what I was told. Hell if I know, but newer homes will be lower maintenance. The advice here might be to look for homes built no longer than 20 years ago. It’ll get your odds of less maintenance up.
Home Inspections are a must. Even if it’s newer, hell even if it’s a new construction home, get a home inspection. Know from a professional that things appear to be on the up and up, and have that with you if ever you feel like something wasn’t disclosed during the transaction. It’s a great road map for what a home will need for maintenance. Many inspectors will go over proper maintenance in their report. Right now in this market people are waiving inspections or making them pass or fail, which is just another term for, “we want the out, but we want the house, so we’re not going to ask you, Mr. Seller, for any repairs”. They only cost a few hundred bucks and could save you thousands, and there’s nothing saying you can’t do a home inspection even if you waive the contingency in the contract.
But also add a home warranty to your list of things to look into when buying a house. If the house is newer, looks good, but the appliances are as old as the 15 year old home, you might end up replacing them soon, so a warranty can help extend their life by a bit, or help with replacement costs. They usually cover all your major appliances, some repairs around the house, and especially things you can’t claim with insurance, and in some instances you can get Sellers to pay for these. Just make sure that whatever warranty package you choose comes from a reputable company like ACHOSA. I’ll put the link the description.
Can you buy an older home with less maintenance? Like a remodel, one that has clearly been recently flipped? Yes, but again, get a home inspection. It’s not like new construction. And again even with new construction you want to get a home inspection. But with remodels, you can’t just trust the contractors did everything “correct” or that they are perfect and didn’t miss anything. Every contractor has a different opinion on what’s needed, especially when they are trying to keep a budget slim to keep the profits where they want them.
Now that we’ve pointed all this out – wouldn’t it be easier to just buy a new construction home? It would be an easy fix, as pretty much everything there is, well, new. But to reiterate, or maybe strengthen some of my previous points – with the way builders are having to shift around for supply availability, I think it’s worth noting that just because it’s new construction doesn’t mean it’s perfect. Wood shifts with changes in weather, and concrete is hard as hell, but it settles in the ground. All the weight, and the fact that the ground was likely shifted, moved around a lot to make level – well, houses settle over time. So those first 5 years you want to know what the builder’s warranty covers, know your appliances warranties, and keep an eye on everything in the house just like you should with an older home.
The best piece of advice I ever got from a homeowner, and our last point to cover is this: “If there’s never anything wrong with your house, you’re not looking hard enough.” So just keep an eye out for little plumbing leaks, settling water around the edges of your home or on your lot, moisture in the crawl space if you have one, or the basement, cracks in the wall and ceiling, doors not latching or getting tight when you close them. I mean all those little nit picky things that the home inspector will point out. They’re easy to fix and easy to maintain. And I hate to tell you but, as a homeowner, maintenance is actually part of the deal, even if you just pay someone else to do it.
So, good luck out there! These points will help you find a house that requires less maintenance, but they also aren’t going to help you avoid maintenance altogether. Hit that subscribe button, comment below, I’ll talk at you soon.