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68% of millennials say that they’d buy a fixer upper as a way to eventually live in the home of their dreams without having to pay such a high fee upfront.

While fixer uppers are becoming more and more popular amongst younger home buyers, there are a few things that buyers need to know before closing the deal.

If you’re planning on buying a fixer upper home, here’s what you need to make sure your home inspector checks before you sign a contract and move in.

Understand the Benefits of a Home Inspection

If you’re not quite sold on having a professional perform a home inspection before you purchase one of your favorite fixer upper houses, then you might want to take a step back.

Understanding the benefits of a home inspection will help you ensure you’re asking all the right questions before and during the inspection itself.

First of all, a home inspection will allow you to get an accurate estimate of all of the necessary home repairs that you’ll need to pay for in the coming years.

A thorough home inspection will allow you to identify problem areas so that you can budget accordingly. This will help you adjust your down payment if you need to or consider taking out a different loan.

On top of that, a home inspection will show you whether or not this fixer upper is worth your investment.

Oftentimes, fixer upper houses for sale simply aren’t worth the investment. That doesn’t mean you can’t buy a fixer upper! It just means that you need to have it inspected before you close.

Inspecting the Foundation of a Fixer Upper

Don’t know what to look for during a home inspection? The foundation is the first and probably the biggest aspect of a home that you need to check out.

Issues with the foundation of a home are often the most costly to repair or replace. They’re also pretty time-consuming.

Home Advisor reports that the average foundation repair cost can reach up to $6,000. If you need to stabilize the home, then you’re looking at repair costs of over $12,000.

During the home inspection, make sure your home inspector checks the following:

  • Gaps in the doors. Open and close the doors to look for gaps between doors and the corresponding door frame. If there are gaps, then that’s a major red flag.
  • Gaps in windows. The same above goes for windows too. If they’re out of square, this is a red flag.
  • Uneven flooring. The home inspector should take a level with them or some similar tool that will allow them to see if the floors are uneven.
  • Cracks in the foundation. Any cracks are a big no go!

Foundation movement is a major issue, especially if you live in a state like Ohio that experiences both hot and cold seasons.

Having the foundation checked out before you invest in a property can save you thousands on unnecessary repairs.

Inspecting Mold Issues Related to Water Problems

Not only are both mold and mildew pretty big issues when it comes to the health of a homeowner, but they are also indicators of a deeper issue within a home.

If there is mold in a house, it can mean that there is water damage or problems with the foundation, roof, or plumbing system. This means that you’ll need to get rid of the mold while also paying to repair the underlying cause.

During a home inspection, looking for mold and mildew should be at the top of your inspector’s list.

However, sometimes you can’t always visibly see mold. Have the inspector:

  • Touch the walls. If the walls feel damp, then you might want to ask if it’s possible to check underneath a specific area of the wall or underneath the floorboard.
  • Smell the rooms. Okay, this one sounds a bit weird. However, if you think you can smell mold and mildew in a room but you can’t see it, chances are that it’s there.

If there are signs of mold during a home inspection, it’s crucial that you don’t end the inspection until you find out what the root cause is.

Perhaps it’s something else, and that’s great! But until you are 100% sure it’s not mold or mildew, ask the inspector to find out what it is.

Check All of the Major Systems

This should be part of your general home inspection checklist. Always be sure to check the major systems of a fixer upper home.

This includes the plumbing and all water-related systems, electrical systems, and the heating and cooling if they’re part of the existing home.

Ask the owners or the realtor how old all of these systems are, and be sure to ask:

  • If there have been any updates or recent additions to the property.
  • If the previous owners did renovate the property, then did they also update plumbing and electrical systems to accommodate the upgrades?

Then, as you’re going through the process with the inspector, try to do a few things on your own.

Flush the toilets to see if they work and check for water stains on the floors to make sure there aren’t any leaks in the plumbing.

You’ll also want to ask the inspector to check all of the wiring and electrical boxes to make sure there aren’t any major problems their either.

Getting the Most Out of Your Property Investment

Investing in a fixer upper is a great way to build the home of your dreams without having to pay the price tag for it.

Not only do you get the chance to add your own special touch to the home, but they make for great DIY projects that you’ll cherish even more than a regular home.

However, before investing in a fixer-upper, you’ll want to get it inspected. If you’ve found the home of your dreams but want to make sure it’s a safe investment, then contact us today.

Schedule an inspection to receive high-quality help from an ASHI Associate Home Inspector.