Spring is in the air, which means the busy home-buying season is in full swing. If you’re one of the many people on the hunt for the perfect home, remember to look beyond aesthetics and consider the inner workings of the house.
Take into consideration the home’s energy use and efficiency and be on the lookout for potential issues that could cost you money down the line.
- Take a look at insulation – Check that there are approximately 12 inches of insulation in the attic, anything less and you will need to budget to get it topped up. A properly insulated home is one of the fastest and most cost-effective ways to cut down on your heating costs.
- Check for air leaks – Up to 30 per cent of heating and cooling costs in a home are from poorly fitted windows and doors. Check to ensure the windows aren’t single pane and/or they have been replaced in the last 15 years. A look at the inside of the glass frame will give you the date they were installed. Once you purchase your new home, you can add caulking or sealing if needed to reduce air leaks.
- Inspect the furnace – There is no guarantee that the previous owners performed routine maintenance so listen carefully for any strange noises coming from the furnace and be sure to ask how old the unit is. Check if there is an installation tag on the furnace, that’s where you can find the month and year your furnace was installed. Because the air conditioning system works hand-in-hand with your furnace, it’s important to make sure both are working safely and efficiently.
- Check for clean air ducts – Look in and around the furnace supply and return air ducts for small plastic grommet filled holes. That is an indication that a duct cleaning has been done sometime in the past. If there are no plastic grommets, you will want to budget for a duct cleaning when you move in.
- Look for potential plumbing problems – Check all toilets and under-sink plumbing for leaks or constant running. It’s important to make sure that everything is working correctly to prevent unexpected maintenance costs after you move in.
- Ask about the roof – Make sure that the roof is new or has recently been fixed since this is one of the most expensive repairs, or reduce your offer price to accommodate the cost of replacement. When checking inside the attic for insulation, look at the underside of the roof deck for blackened or wet wood and signs of moisture. If the area is wet, be sure to check underneath that moisture because the insulation is likely also wet and will need to be replaced.
- Around the foundation – Be sure you check the entire outside of the home and pay close attention to any areas where the grade is sloping towards the house. This could be a cause of water entering the basement. You will want to build the area up so it slopes away from the house and check the downspouts to ensure that any water leaving the spout is at least three to four feet away from the foundation.
Keeping an eye out for these simple things when searching for a new home can help keep money in your pocket and make sure that you and your family will be comfortable in your new home.