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Home > Home Buying Tips > How to Steer Clear of a Money Pit when Buying a Home

How to Steer Clear of a Money Pit when Buying a Home


When shopping around for a house there are many things to consider, including whether the mortgage is affordable, the sales price and of course, whether you like the neighborhood and the house itself. At the same time, even when a house seems like it's a steal and you absolutely love it, you must stop to consider whether it could actually be a money pit.

Unfortunately, many buyers make the mistake of focusing on the design features of a home and as a result, they frequently overlook glaring warning signs that a home could actually be a money pit. As a result, even if the mortgage is within your range, you might still find that the home is unaffordable if there are serious repair issues.

One of the most important things to consider is ensuring the home is structurally stable when buying a home. If the home you are considering has a base, it should be the first thing you look at when touring the home. The basement can be a very strong indicator of the type of construction used in the home as well as the quality of materials. In addition, the basement will also give you a good idea of the state and quality of the plumbing and electrical systems and the HVAC. By looking at these critical systems, you will be able to gain insight into the age of the equipment along with how well it has been maintained. This is crucial because such systems can be extremely expensive to repair.

Furthermore, the foundation of the home plays a critical role in ensuring the home remains structurally sound. One of the biggest problems in many homes occurs due to poor stability within the foundation or the structure. Short of hiring a structural engineer to inspect the home, there are a few indicators you can keep an eye out for when touring the home. For instance, consider the size and proximity of trees to the home. If there are large trees or even trees that could grow large near the home, keep in mind that the roots could eventually cause the foundation to crack and ultimately break over time.

Inside the home, make sure you check any hard-surface flooring for gaps and cracks. This can indicate there might be a foundation problem. If the home does not have any hard surface floors, be sure to look for cracks within the drywalls, especially around the windows and corners.

You also need to be on the lookout for any hazards that might be present from water. Perhaps more quickly than anything else, water can quickly ruin things in a home. In fact, problems that arise from water damage can be the most expensive to repair. Just two of the issues that can result from water problems that are not repaired included rot and mold. The most obvious places to search for possible water damage are the kitchen and the bathroom. Always make sure you check the fixtures in both rooms. They can provide you with a good idea of the type of maintenance in the home. It is also a good idea to inspect caulking around the seals on the windows and the sinks. If there are cracks or mildew, this is a good indication there could be serious problems later on.

Many buyers find it is actually a good idea to make plans to tour a house they are considering buying when the weather is bad. While a home might appear to be fine when the sun is shining, it can be completely different story when the wind is howling and its pouring buckets of rain outside.

You should also consider inquiring with the neighbors about the house. If you simply ask, you might be surprised at what you can uncover, including the last time the house was painted and other issues the owners might be unwilling to tell you, but the neighbors will be all too willing to divulge.

Finally, make sure you take a long look at the basic style of the home when buying a home. Cosmetic matters can be relatively easy to fix, but if the basic style of the home simply does not appeal to you, it's a good idea to consider other options. Otherwise, you are likely to find yourself facing a huge fee for remodeling the home to make it more suitable to your taste. Even if the home is structurally sound, you could still find yourself dealing with a money pit if you attempt to overlook serious cosmetic problems.


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