Purchasing a new home is an exciting experience. It can also be a scary time if you’re not sure of what to expect. Between picking a dream home, negotiating with sellers and their realtor, and haggling with mortgage lenders, the stress can quickly mount before your closing date. However, there are important steps you can take while home shopping to ensure you’re protecting your investment and making a wise real estate purchase.
Buying a New Home? Protect Your Investment Now
The steps to picking a sound home begin when you start touring properties with your realtor. While your list of must-haves might include hardwood flooring or granite countertops, there are less glamorous aspects of the home that deserve more of your attention. When most people think of water damage, they think of dramatic floods, hurricanes, and feet of water building up in the basement. However, when buying a home, it’s important to be on the lookout for all signs of water damage: big and small. The selling homeowner may not necessarily think it’s important to disclose a small washing machine leak that he mopped up on his own; however, even seemingly trivial water damage that’s improperly handled can lead to severe mold damage behind the drywall and under the flooring. The homeowner may not even know that mold or water damage is creeping in his property and thus neglects to indicate those damages on the property disclosure form you’ll see when you make an offer on the home.
While visiting properties, aside from the obvious issues like roof damage and foundation leaks, you can be on the lookout for some of the less obtrusive signs of water damage, such as flaking or peeling paint, water stains, dampness, crumbling wood around baseboards or molding, bowed walls, or a musty or mildew-y odor. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about leaky appliances such as washing machines and hot water heaters. Also be aware of areas of fresh paint. Some unscrupulous sellers will use a fresh coat of paint to hire mold or water stains.
This is exactly why it’s always important to hire an inspector to come and thoroughly assess the property you’re planning to buy. Do your research and hire an inspector you trust. An inspector recommended by your real estate agent may not always have your best interests at heart, as your realtor is anxious to close the sale. While the inspector you choose is unlikely to be an expert in mold cleanup, he or she will know what to look for. Tri State Restorations can also help. We have a dedicated team of technicians standing by who can inspect your potential new home for mold and water hazards. We can even set up an infrared camera inspection to inspect the structure for into problems that may otherwise go unnoticed in routine inspections such as leaks in the plumbing or holes in insulation.
Another important aspect of home buying is selecting homeowners insurance. This is the insurance package that will serve to financially protect you and your home in the event of disasters. Typically, your homeowners policy will cover your property against fires, lightning strikes, windstorms and hail. However, there are some surprising hazards that are not typically offered in a standard homeowners policy.
Flooding, for example, usually requires separate coverage despite being the most common natural disaster in the United States. There is a 26% chance a homeowner will experience flooding during the span of a 30-year mortgage. As you’re considering whether or not you need flood coverage, you should also consider that flooding isn’t just caused by storms or heavy rains: anything from a frozen pipe on a cold day to a broken sewage line can lead to flooding in your home. Mold is another hazard that is limited or excluded by many homeowners policies. Mold thrives on moisture and can take hold on surfaces after just 48 hours of a moisture intrusion. It isn’t just an unsightly blotch on the wall: many forms of mold can cause health issues. As you’re working with your new homeowners insurance agent, be sure to ask questions about what will or what won’t be covered by your new policy, and ensure you’re getting the best coverage for your situation.
Whether you’re buying a new home or just looking for advice on handling a mold or water situation in your existing residence, Tri State Restorations is here to help. Call us at 866-280-3073 to schedule your inspection today in Maryland, Washington, DC, or Virginia!