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Charlie Glahe WIN Broomfield

Buy real estate without a hitch: Avoid hidden home problems

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Emotions run high during the home buying process, and that can lead to a snap decision about which property is the right purchase. Instead of ending up with the proverbial "lemon," homebuyers should think with their heads, and not with their hearts.

This might sound more difficult than it actually is, but with some careful planning and attention to detail, the next big buy will be the smart choice. Every home has its imperfections, although it is important to remember that problems come in a variety of forms, and not every one should be a deal-breaker. 

So how does a person pick out the ideal piece of real estate? A home inspection is a great place to start, and a professional can help find the hidden issues in a house, as well as go beyond what is on the surface. After that, the buyer should learn a few common problem areas and keep an eye out throughout the entire process.

Warning signs for homebuyers
Falling in love with a property can cloud a person's judgment. In fact, this can lead to owning a home with serious issues, which will drain a bank account and create nearly-infinite headaches.

"People get emotionally attached to a house before they understand what the issues are with it," home inspection professional Kirk Juneau explained to MSN Real Estate.

Some flaws can be easily masked, which is why a property inspection is so crucial for homebuyers before closing on a house. Items like insect and water damage are tricky to find, according to the website.

For example, foundation cracks are a bad sign for a home. The older the building, the more likely it is that this problem will appear. With changes to state codes, newer properties frequently dodge this concern - but when buying an old house this area should be on the top of the home inspection list. 

In addition, little problems are usually indicators of trouble brewing beneath the surface. Cracks that run through solid materials like brick or concrete might mean that something is seriously wrong, MSN Real Estate noted.

Horizontal cracks might be an indication that the weight of a home is too much for a foundation, and those that are wider at the top might be a sign that different parts of a house are moving in opposite directions. 

Spotting concerns with older houses
An old home is typically a beautiful structure full of charm, which might be why a number of buyers gloss over serious problems. There is nothing wrong with choosing an appealing property, but some don't age as well as others.

Fortunately, the causes of structural damage are often the same from home to home, according to Zillow. Therefore, finding an issue isn't as hard as it might seem.

Looking for water problems is a priority for any property inspection. Quick signs that something might be amiss are missing shingles, rotted wood, and gutters in disrepair, Zillow noted. Downspouts are a must-check when buying an older home, and many systems like this can fall apart after years of use.

Moreover, electrical components have certainly changed since an older house was built. Due to this, finding problems here will not only help a homebuyer dodge a lemon, but it might also prevent serious safety hazards. 

The amperage is a telling factor for an outdated system - fuse boxes rated for 60 amps or less mean a house won't be able to handle the average family's electrical output. In fact, modern homes typically need at least 100 amps to work properly, according to Zillow.

Overall, a property inspection before buying might help people make logical decisions about a house, while still ending up with the ideal home that is perfectly safe to live in.