|Many families are taking advantage of low interest
rates along with other incentives, and are shopping for
new homes. With this potential rise in home-buying,
prospective purchasers must be fully aware of what they
are getting into
when buying a home. For example, a recent study found
that as many as 44 percent of consumers call a plumber
within one year of purchasing a new home. Many homes may
have an attractive facade and price, but bear problems
that can prove to be costly. Problems that lie beneath
the surface of a home, such as faulty plumbing or water
leakage, often do not become evident until after the
house is bought.
To help avoid such unexpected and costly problems, we
offer homebuyers these tips:
Check around the base of toilets for signs of water
damage or soft floors (check for soft floors by standing
over the toilet and rocking back and forth on each foot.
If the floor feels spongy, it has probably been
damaged). Check to see how fast the toilet flushes.
Check for leaky or loose tiles. Press on the walls where
they come into contact with the tub. If they're soft,
water has most likely caused damage behind the tiles.
Water Supply Piping
Turn on the water in the bathtub and the kitchen sink.
If there is a noticeable reduction in volume, the pipes
may need to be replaced because of calcium and mineral
deposits. If the house has a basement, check exposed
pipes for signs of leaks and recent repairs. Find the
main line cleanout and be sure it is accessible.
Check the date of the water heater (the first four
digits of the heater's serial number are the month and
year it was made). Any heater over 15 years old should
be replaced. If the water heater vent ties into the
chimney, verify that the chimney is lined. To check,
look to see if a metal liner sticks out of the top of
the chimney. In the lower level of the house, make sure
there is a drip tee sticking out of the chimney. If
there is not a basement in the house, make sure the
water heater vent is a "Class B chimney" or at least six
inches away from wood.
Other Vital Tips
Make sure the garbage disposer and dishwasher
connections work properly.
Use a flashlight to check for signs of water damage
inside cabinets. Check washing machine hoses for rupture
and turn valves on and off to test for leaks.