When you are in the market to buy your new home, of course, you want it to be perfect. Nobody wants a house riddled with unexpected, continuous problems that will drain his or her bank account. If this is the case, your home might be considered a “money pit,” making it far from an ideal situation. Fortunately, you can take specific steps to get yourself out of a money pit mess and turn your investment back into your dream home.
Realizing You are in a Money Pit
Learning the signs of a money pit is the first step. Look for things such as:
Mold can lead to long-term health issues. If you notice a little bit of mold, chances are it is not anything too severe, but if there is a great deal of mold in the home, this could be a sign of a bigger problem. Check for mold close to water sources such as:
- Bathroom fixtures
- Basement drainage
- Around pipes
- Under sinks
If you see any mold on your walls, you could have it behind the wall as well. If this is the case, you will have to rip the wall out and hire a professional to come over to clean and treat the area.
Check for buckling or cracked walls too, which could be signs of water damage.
If you are thinking about buying an older house, you will want to check the wiring since it could be outdated. Homes today have newer and much safer wiring systems than in the past. To rewire a house, you have to get into the ceilings and behind the walls which can be very costly.
Like old wiring, old plumbing can also be a problem, mainly when it involves your septic system. Apart from outdated plumbing possibly lowering water pressure, chances are the pipes over time have deteriorated. That can result in water damage behind your walls and up in your ceiling. Not to mention, you are looking at potential future problems if you ignore the septic system. Having to replace plumbing and water pipes and a new septic system can also be costly.
You want your home to be resting on solid footing. Inspect for cracks, gaps or buckling in foundation walls. On the main and upper levels, look for drywall cracks, particularly around doorways and in corners.
Overview of Options
So, you have realized your home is a money pit, now what? Here are some options you may want to consider.
Assess the Damage
Walk around your home and determine which areas need improvement. Even though you are likely frustrated or angry and feeling like your entire house is disintegrating right before your eyes, it is essential to stay calm, objective and to hire an experienced professional to come into your home to assess the damage. Most likely, it is not as bad as it seems.
Contact a Lawyer
In many states, laws may require home sellers to disclose property information like past damage or hidden problems. If you suspect the seller withheld information about the property, consult with a lawyer to see if you may have a case.
Do One Repair at a Time
You no doubt want your home to be perfect right now, but repairing it will take time. Trying to fix all the damage and problems all at once can become overwhelming. It may take several months to improve your home's condition, but it is worth being patient and taking it one repair at a time.
The best option, of course, is to avoid buying a money pit in the first place. However, life does not always come with such simple solutions.
What you can do, however, is talk with your neighbors. If the home has had significant work done or if it had damage or enormous problems, the probability is that the previous owners have seen it. Another option is to call your insurance company and request a Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE) report. The report provides you with information on the last seven years of any claims made on the home.
Just remember, you do have options if you did buy a money pit, but if you have not purchased the home yet, take advantage of the resources available to you to avoid this problem in the first place.