People often spend a lot of time thinking about the location, size and design of their new home, but they forget to think about the most important thing: how much work must be done before you can move in. If you buy a house that has good bones, i.e., is structurally sound and doesn’t need major renovations, then you’re in luck. If you buy one with bad bones, then you’re in for a lot of work and expense in the future.
This is why it’s important to check every nook and cranny when visiting open houses. Keep an eye out for these potential signs that the house has good bones:
1. You can see the original moldings, floors, and woodwork: These are often solid signs that the house’s bones are in good shape. If these elements look worn and well used, this is a good thing. Just note how you will handle any necessary repairs to restore their beauty before you buy.
2. The basement walls aren’t made of cinder block: Check that it hasn’t been divided up with non-load bearing cinder blocks if there is a basement. This means the homeowner planned to turn it into another living space but never got around to it (not an unusual situation). However, because the walls don’t support the weight of future renovations such as adding a bathroom or kitchen, they are likely to have structural problems that are very expensive to fix.
3. The basement doesn’t flood: If the basement is wet, then there’s a high chance of water problems in the future. No matter how aesthetically appealing it may be, you don’t want to buy a house with bad bones.
4. You can see outside from inside without any problem: It’s often hard to see the exterior’s condition by looking in through windows (especially if they’re dirty). So look for holes or gaps around window and door frames that allow you to peek at what’s happening on the other side. Especially look at the foundation, which should not be cracked or crumbling away-bad signs of foundation issues! If big chunks of plaster or drywall are missing from inside the walls, that’s also a bad sign.
5. The house doesn’t lean to one side: Another telltale sign of foundation issues. If you can’t see cracks in the exterior brickwork and the floors, walls, and ceilings seem level to each other (test out by using a long level), then there’s a good chance that this house has good bones.
6. It’s well-insulated: An excellent way to tell if insulation is sound is by checking for discoloration around window and door frames and electrical outlets that should not show any signs of dampness. These areas are often poorly insulated, leading to deterioration over time and severe problems such as mold or fungus growing in walls and on floors.
7. The electrical system is up to date: This includes having good wiring, circuit breakers, and ground fault interrupters (GFI). GFI outlets prevent electrocution by shutting off the power when there’s a surge or drop in power, which would be bad for all kinds of appliances. They’re required near kitchen sinks where water might contact an electrical device such as garbage disposal. If the house has older wiring-very common- you’ll likely need to bring in an electrician (at considerable expense) before you can move any appliances out of the garage!
8. The furnace is newer than five years old: While furnaces don’t last forever, it’s still not a good sign if the current owner has had to replace it lately. If you get a home inspection done on the house, this is something that the inspector should note.
9. The roof is newer than ten years old: Look at shingles, particularly around chimneys and skylights, for any signs of black or curling shingles. It’s not worth investing in a new roof which may last 25-30 years, only to find out later that this one needed to be replaced right away!
10. Newer plumbing fixtures: Including toilets, sinks, tubs, and showers, often indicate that the rest of the house might have been renovated at some point because plumbing fixtures are usually replaced when upgrading kitchens or bathrooms.
11. There’s a fireplace: If the current owner has been using an alternative means of heating, there is likely no need for a fireplace any longer. However, if the house has not been heated with wood, this indicates that there may be serious problems somewhere in the chimney or flue, which can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.
12. Hot water tank was replaced within five years: Another sign that renovations could have taken place in recent times, meaning you’re getting into good bones. It could also mean that the hot water tank wasn’t very energy efficient and that it could still be better insulated or other factors such as how old it is (look on the top). Replacing appliances like hot water tanks while still working can be expensive, so they usually only get replaced when necessary. I hope this helps your search for the best house with the least amount of problems.
In conclusion, finding a house that has good bones is one that has been well taken care of. Suppose the current owner hasn’t had to replace or do any major renovations. In that case, they’re likely not too expensive, and you’ll be getting into a home with very few immediate problems requiring your attention. These indicators can also mean different things, such as the electrical system needing updating, which could be costly. At the same time, newer appliances like hot water tanks or furnaces could make up for this expense. However, it’s still important to factor in everything when weighing the cost and benefits of investing in said house.
Signs like discoloration around windows and doors are a common sign of water leakage, which is not suitable for the long term but doesn’t necessarily mean you need to back out of the deal. If that is taken care of, there aren’t any issues with it. Regardless, a home inspection should be done because it’s hard to see what needs to be fixed behind walls and under flooring and insulation.
Although some houses may seem cheaper than others due to needing renovation, this can come at an expense, especially if you’re unsure how extensive it would be, so starting with something that has fewer problems right away will ensure that your money isn’t being wasted by having to put more into fixing things later on just because they weren’t taken care of initially.