Are you searching for a new home?

This question is similar to yesterday but it’s still a legitimate question that affects most people.

I discussed external factors in my post yesterday.

Buying a Home? You Need to Consider These 3 External Factors.

Unlike external issues, you can control and change internal issues.

It just takes money and time to change them.

And sometimes it’s a lot of money so you need to be aware of the major costs.

So let’s get to it.

Pay Attention to the Slope of the Driveway

Changing the slope of the driveway and yard would be extremely difficult and very expensive.

So I wouldn’t recommend it but you need to be aware of it.

If you go to sell this house in the future, how will another buyer look at it?

They will prefer a flat yard and driveway first, then a house on a hill and the last resort is a house below the road.

There’s another reason you need to pay attention to the slope: water.

If your yard and driveway slope toward your house, you will have water drainage issues and that’s not good.

Out of all the items on the list, I would rather deal will all of them in one house than deal with a bad slope.

Take a Look at the Roof

Replacing the roof is expensive. I paid $6,000 for a new roof on a small 1,500 square foot single-story brick ranch home in Atlanta, Georgia.

That’s a lot of money so you need to be aware of it.

Your roof can last anywhere from 20 years to 40 years.

It depends on the type of roof and complexity of the roof angles.

If there are no active leaks in the roof, the seller won’t replace the roof. I’ve never seen it happen.

If you got the seller to replace the roof when it didn’t have an active leak, let me know in the comments.

I’d like to hear your story.

Check the Age of the Heating and Air

Nothing makes you more miserable and grumpy than not having heat in the winter or air conditioning in the summer.

Unless you have to pay thousands to fix it on a house you just purchased.

Heating and air conditioning units have a useful life of 15 years.

You may get more time but I wouldn’t bet on it. So the house you are looking at has units that are 14 years old, I would bank on replacing them.

And I would ask the seller to replace them. You probably won’t get it if the units work but it’s worth asking.

If it helps, I spent $8,000 and replaced 1 furnace, 2 condensers and 2 evaporator coils with Trane units.

Check the Age of the Water Heater

The useful life on a water heater is 10 years.

And that’s not a time frame I would push.

If your heating and air conditioning go out, you are miserable and grumpy but it’s easily fixed.

If your water heater busts, you are screwed.

Water goes everywhere and ruins other things in your house.

So don’t turn a minor repair into a major repair.

I paid $1,000 for a 50 gallon water heater and a pressure regulator valve. That’s worth it to me for peace of mind.

You can ask the seller to replace it but if it works, you are probably out of luck.

Inspect the Appliances

Most of the time the appliances work. So this shouldn’t be an issue but it’s worth mentioning.

And most of the time when the appliances don’t work, it’s because you are buying a foreclosure or short-sale.

You’ll have to replace the appliances if they don’t work. You can ask the seller but if it’s a bank, good luck.

Go to Lowe’s or Home Depot and pick them out. Prices will vary wildly because it depends what you pick out.

Check for Paint Condition and Wood Rot

You should be able to tell from the outside if the house needs a paint job. And if it needs a paint job, it probably has wood-rot that needs to be repaired.

How long paint lasts really depends on the are you live. Paint doesn’t last as long when it is exposed to harsh weather.

So you only get 3 years on a paint job in Florida near the beach.

But you can get 5 to 10 years in the Atlanta suburbs.

On a side note, if you have a brick house, don’t paint it. Painted brick looks great but you took a maintenance-free product and made it a maintenance nightmare.

Does the House Have a Basement? Check for Moisture

This one is the hardest to spot.

If the house has a basement and it smells musty, there may be water issues.

Get a contractor to help you find the problem.

And most of the time, it has nothing to do with water in the soil.

Water takes the path of least resistance so most of the time it’s getting in from above ground.

I had a major water issue in my basement and it was from the deck. The deck wasn’t flashed correctly.

So I spend $100 on flashing and fixed the issue.

Check your doors too. I’ve seen french doors let water in around the threshold.

So don’t panic this could be a cheap fix.

But pay attention to the slope of the yard and driveway as I mentioned earlier.

If it slopes toward the house, you may have big issues.


Phew, that is a lot to take in.

That’s why I split it into 2 posts.

Buying a home is the biggest purchase most people make in their life time.

So it’s important you make an informed decision.

Surprises aren’t good.

So use this list as a reference to reduce those surprises.

What are other internal factors you should consider when buying a home?

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