Boston area home improvement is popular these days, especially among first-time home buyers. Starter homes or “fixer-uppers” often give first-time buyers the opportunity to purchase a home with a remodeling plan in mind. However, the phrase “buyer beware” is never more cautionary than when you’re buying a home whose “potential” turns into a “money pit.” Here are a few tips to avoid falling into the dreaded, deep, dark money pit.
Spotting a Boston Area Home Improvement Money Pit
Of course, savvy home buyers will have a professional home inspector perform an inspection of the house they want to buy. And if it’s an older home or if you suspect potential problems there are some things you should know on your own –– before hiring a home inspector.
Basement – If the home has a basement, check exposed pipes and wiring for damages or excessive wear. Inspect the foundation for cracks or potential problem areas.
Roof – Inspect the roof to see if there is aging, rotting wood and leaks.
Layout – Will the existing layout of the rooms in the home work for your needs, or will you need to move walls, plumbing and electrical? Doing so can add up to be an expensive Boston area home improvement item.
Recent repairs – Look closely in all areas of the home to see if there have been noticeable changes in the paint, flooring, ceiling, etc. If something looks brand new — especially compared to an adjacent area — it could mean there’s been a recent repair, or there’s been an effort to cover up an issue.
Trust your sense of smell – A septic tank or sewer leak, a gas leak or even mold and mildew may be detectable by an unusual odor. Trust your nose to prompt you to inspect further to see if there’s a problem.
Before you commit to purchasing a fixer upper, remember these two final points.
1) As mentioned earlier, hire a home inspector, and
2) Make sure you’re ready for what may be ahead. Boston area home improvement projects almost always take longer and cost more than you expect, so make sure you’re really committed — emotionally and financially — to deal with the project at hand.
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