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5 Red Flags To Look Out For In a Fixer-Upper

Looking to buy a fixer-upper house? Great! Nothing wrong with wanting to personally give your new home some TLC. But when does that house become more of an investment than its worth?

Here are some telltale signs that the fixer-upper you’re looking to buy is probably not something your wallet wants you to bargain for.

1. Cinder Block Basements

Most expensive home issues you hear about ultimately come from issues in the home’s structural foundation. Now, if you go into a fixer-upper’s basement and see a cinder block wall, it’s not the worst thing in the world. Back in the day, building a home with a cinder block foundation was a typical practice, and according to Ever Dry Waterproofing, a correctly built wall has better compression strength than a poured wall. However, they are also generally more delicate, and might need some extreme renovation based on its current condition. Home Advisor suggests that if you notice cracks one quarter inch across or smaller on the wall, it’s time to have a professional check it out.

2. Cracks On The Walls

As stated before, most of your high-ticket problems result from structural issues in a home’s foundation. Cracks on the interior and/or exterior walls are a common, visible sign of this, usually as a result of the home sinking or settling. When touring a house, keep a look out for large cracks. An article posted from Hunker suggests that a plaster or drywall crack that’s ¼ -inch wide often indicates more serious problems.

3. Uneven Flooring

If you’re noticing that the floor is uneven, sloping, or even sagging, keep in mind that there are multiple reasons that could be causing it. Foundation Systems of Michigan equate this to a problem in – you guessed it — settlement or foundation heaving. Fixing these issues can be very difficult, and will definitely require work from a specialist or contractor.

4. Water Stains

These are pretty self-explanatory, but still crucial to keep tabs on. The size can usually equate to the severity; however, leaving multiple water stains untouched not only creates mold infestations, but, according to an article from Restoration Master, they can also lead to other safety hazards, such as structural faults, unsound walls, and more. So if you’re noticing more than one, larger water stains, walk with caution.

5. Window Panes

Having solid, insulated windows is key to keeping your future energy costs low. Be sure to look at the quality of the windows when looking at fixer-uppers, especially if you notice wood paned windows. They are a popular choice, and can bring lots of charm to a home, but can also weather more easily if not installed properly. Also, take note at how many window panes there are; having 2 panes of glass properly sealed around each other is the best way to go!

Overall, keep a close eye on the structural details and assess any potential issues that could develop. That house built in 1936 may be charming, but the possibility of asbestos is not. Ask questions about the care that’s already been given, and always have an inspection done before you finalize any papers. The LAST thing you want is to go in with hopes of a few small projects, and find yourself in an unending roller coaster of home issues.

Every home is different, and many other factors including the climate of the area you’re in, the age of the home, and more can make one of the above situations worse or better in certain circumstances. Hopefully this list will help you think of specific questions that fit your particular situation when finding a fixer-upper to call home!

What do you think of our list? Comment below with your thoughts!

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