Used car dealers aren't the only people who try to pass a product off as being in tip top condition when it's worn and in need of repairs. People who sell houses independently and, unfortunately, also some real estate agents, sell houses that are in need of more than a fresh coat of paint.
The less you know about house problems, the more it could cost you
Unless you are an experienced contractor, like an electrician, construction worker or plumber, you probably won't notice the problems regardless of how many times you walk through the house before you buy it. This is because expensive hidden house problems are often buried beneath a layer of brick, metal or plaster.
Problems that the naked eye can't pick up operate like viruses. They keep spreading and damaging your house. Included among hidden house problems that can cost you big are:
- Poor electrical wiring - This hidden problem can cause a host of issues. Result of poor electrical wiring ranges from power outages to fires to rising utility bills.
- Septic tank issues - It cost thousands of dollars to repair or replace a bad septic tank. Move into a house that has a bad septic tank and the toilet may flush slowly. After you flush the toilet, waste may resurface, creating a potential health hazard.
- Plumbing problems - Days or weeks could go by before you notice that the house you just bought has plumbing problems. There could be a delay before you experience plumbing problems because the former owners may have poured drainage openers or cleaners down the pipes. Actually fixing or replacing the pipes may fall into your lap.
- Roof damage - You might not even spot water stains on the ceiling or walls if you buy a house that only leaks during hard weather storms. Buy the house during autumn or winter and you might wave off the cool, damp feeling that brushes your skin as you review a house with your realtor.
- Flooring issues - Uneven flooring or rotting hardwood floor panels can go unhidden if the floor is carpeted. You might not even think to test the floor for durability by applying weight to the floor as you walk across it.
Response options if there are hidden house problems
You do have options should you find hidden house problems after you move in. For example,you could contact the insurance company of the professional who inspected your house if you uncover hidden house problems after you move in. If the inspection was performed through the lender, reach out to the lender. You could also call an attorney. But, this option could require you to pay the attorney a retainer.
To avoid encountering hidden house problems that could cost you big, while you shop for houses, bring a friend with you who has deep experience inspecting and repairing houses. This isn't a guarantee that you'll spot all problems before you buy a house. But, it can reduce the chances that you'll get blindsided with expensive repairs a few days, weeks or months after you move in. Also, make sure that you receive a disclosure form from the seller.