Excitement over buying a new house, especially if the sticker price on the house is good,could cause you to overlook key factors about the property. If you get too emotionally attached to the idea of living in a new house, you could rationalize away water stains that you see on walls. You could also dismiss how cold and damp the basement is or how humid it is in the attic.

High price of rationalizing away house problems

It’s these very defects that can cost you thousands. The trick is that you probably won’t start dealing with issues related to one or more house defects until after you move in. By then, it could be too late. Then, again you may have some safeguards.

Investing in homeowners insurance that covers standard events like fires and theft is just a start. You also want to get insurance that covers events like floods ,earthquakes, mud slides and tornadoes, whichever events generally occur in the area that the house is located in.

  • To protect yourself against house defects, ask the seller to complete a home disclosure form. Depending on the state that the house is located in, this might be required by law. If not, ask the seller to list out any known defects that the house has and to sign and date the form. Work with your attorney or real estate agent to get this document.
  • Check to see if defects that appear after you move into the house were listed on the house inspector’s report. If they were and you missed seeing the defects, you may be responsible for associated repairs. If the defects were not picked up by the inspector, contact your local housing authority. Explain the situation and see if you have legal recourse. You could also work with your attorney on this.
  • Hire your own house inspector before you move into a house. This applies whether it’s a newly constructed house or an older home.
  • Make sure that a house built before 1978 is inspected for lead paint.
  • Get the house inspected for defects such as asbestos, mold and mercury levels before you buy the house. Clearly ask inspectors to check for these items. Also, make sure that the wiring, plumbing and the roof are checked.

Paying for an independent home inspection before you buy a house is a great way to find out specific problems that you could be taking on with a new property before you sign a contract. If you live in a state like California, you can have added protections, as some state regulations require sellers to fill out, sign and date disclosures that list out known defects associated with the house they are selling.

Because you are the one who will be living in the house and maybe paying a mortgage on the property for several years, make it your responsibility to check for problems.Make it your responsibility to ensure that you’re getting the best housing deal possible and not only as it relates to the price of the house.

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