Signs of Potentially Costly Repairs to Look for when Buying a Previously Owned Home

Buying a house that has already been lived in can be a real gamble. The upfront price is usually the only one that a first time homeowner considers. It takes the experience of having lived in a house for which you are responsible to fully comprehend all the costs involved after the purchase has been completed. If you don’t know what to look for, that incredible bargain can wind up becoming a money pit. Some houses are lemons just like cars with the difference being that upkeep on a house is exponentially more expensive. When looking at a house with a price that seems like a dream, here’s what to look for to avoid having it become your worst nightmare.

Dripping Faucet

Take notice of faucets that are dripping despite being turned off. Even a very slow and barely perceptible drip has the potential to be a sign of serious plumbing problems that will be your responsibility later on.


Examine windows closely for signs of sagging or cracking that could signal replacement or repair in the not too distant future. Also look for very fresh paint jobs on windows intended to cover up cracks that reveal signs of aging.

Rusty Gutters

Rusty gutters is not just a great name for a fictional character, it’s a danger sign you should inspect more closely. If you notice rust on the gutters or the downspouts of a home, look more closely for any additional signs of leaking or water damage. You should also come back to view the house immediately after a heavy rain is possible to check for signs of water retention.


When buying a home, you should not stop looking for problems at the edge of the foundation. Carefully note the tree situation. Look for hazards like dead branches, blight and termite damage. A tree can give an indication of the overall health of the property and even a perfect home cannot eternally withstand the ravages of an unhealthy outdoor environment.

Test Electrical Switches

You may not be comfortable doing this if you are inspecting the home in the presence of the owners, but don’t be ashamed. Cover up the testing of a light switch by asking what the room looks like in a brighter light. If you notice that more than a couple of electrical switches do not work, it could be a sign that the home is going to need some serious electrical work up to and including a comprehensive rewiring.

Cracks in the Driveway

Cracks in the driveway indicate a sloppy work quality that may or may not extend to the home’s foundation if the situation involves a concrete slab. At the very least, an abundance of cracks in the driveway could be a sign that you are going to have to invest in repair work eventually. Larger potholes that have not been attended to can be a sign that the current owners are not exactly obsessive-compulsive about addressing less obvious problems inside the home.

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