Maintenance questions for your new home

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Maintenance Questions to ask when buying a new home

Not too many things can top the excitement of buying a new home.  However you want to try and minimize the number of surprises that can accompany that initial excitement. By asking some important questions, you are educating yourself about your new investment. Here are few things to inquire about as you are proceeding in the home purchase.

 

Has there ever been a bust pipe or water damage?

A broken pipe isn’t rare and generally can be fixed by a good handyman. Water damage is generally the tell tale sign of a pipe failure and a good inspector can usually tell if it has occurred. Make sure exposed pipes in unheated areas are protected with pipe insulation. Install frost-proof spigots on all exterior faucets. Check that washing machine hoses are in good condition and replace, if necessary, with braided steel hoses and brass fittings. The big challenge with water damage is really the things you don’t see, behind walls and trim, that can lead to mold issues. Read more.

How old is the roof?

Knowing the approximate age will give you a good idea of how soon you’ll face — and need to budget for — repairs or replacement. A new roof is no small matter: “Remodeling” magazine’s annual “Cost vs. Value Report” pegs the average national cost of a roof replacement at $18,913.

The most common type of roofing — regular asphalt shingles — needs to be replaced after 15 to 20 years. Here are estimated average life spans for other types of roofing materials:

Top-of-the-line (architectural) asphalt shingles: 24 to 30 years

Metal (galvalume): 30 to 45 years

Concrete tile: 35 to 50 years

Wood shakes: 20 to 40 years

What are the monthly utility costs?

This is great to know when evaluating your housing budget. Be sure to ask for the average costs are and when the peak months are. This information can also be helpful when you want to think about increasing your new home’s energy efficiency. Remember that energy savings start with the simplest of tasks, like sealing air leaks.

Has the sewer ever had an issue?

As properties age and trees and other plants get bigger, roots find their way into sewer lines between a house and the street, causing clogs. It’s a mess for sure, and most homeowner insurance policies don’t cover damage from backed-up sewers. Plan to have the sewer line cleared (about $150) every other year. For $40 to $50 per year, you can add an endorsement to your insurance policy to cover damage from a backed-up sewer.

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