Buying homes that require repair or renovation is a great way to find cheap residential real estate deals on properties that might otherwise cost 50% to 100% more if they were in pristine condition. However, while you’re certainly going to save by settling for a less-than-perfect property, you’re also taking on more responsibility because you’ll probably need to invest in numerous improvements before the home can be considered a livable residence. More specifically, here are four precautions that should be taken any time you buy a fixer up that’s in need of some TLC:
1. Have Potential Biohazards Cleaned Up Professionally
While you might consider yourself to be an excellent house cleaner, you probably don’t know how to clean up a former drug lab, chemical spill, fire damage, or other potential biohazard. If you know the home’s history or there’s evidence to suggest that there’s a need for professional clean-up services, don’t try to cut corners by doing it yourself.
2. Have Electrical Wiring Checked By an Electrician
If the home is in pretty bad shape, there’s a possibility that the wiring might have been damaged by rodents, termites, flood damage, or just lack of maintenance over the years. The last thing you want is for your investment to go up in smoke due to an electrical fire. While your homeowners insurance may cover the cost of repairs, it’s better to make sure the place is electrically sound as soon as the sale is closed.
3. Have a Professional Plumbing Service Check the Pipes and Septic Tank
Plumbing is another issue that you don’t want to leave unchecked and you may not want to handle this yourself. After buying the home, have a plumbing service conduct a thorough inspection of the pipes to determine if there’s a need for any crucial maintenance or repairs. This will save you the hassle of having to face these costs unexpectedly later on. However, be cautious when selecting a plumber, as some unethical service providers may attempt to charge you exuberant fees for repairs that don’t need to be done.
4. Have the Home Checked for Hazardous Building Materials
If the home is older and isn’t in good shape, chances are it may contain some older building materials that are no longer considered safe. For example, there may be lead in some of the paint or there could be asbestos in the insulation. You may want to have a health & safety professional inspect your home for the presence of such hazards.
These Steps are Essential Whether You Plan on Renting, Selling, or Living in the Home
Regardless of what you plan on doing with the property, you can’t reasonably have someone else or yourself living in a building that hasn’t been checked for the above issues. Many times, checking for these problems will be considered part of the seller’s due diligence, which means it’s their duty to have such inspections conducted to ensure the home isn’t condemnable before selling it to another party.