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How can you be sure the house isn't falling apart?

by MelvinVanhorn
(Green Bay)

Hello, I’m a first time home buyer and have some major concerns. I want to buy a home but since I have never owned one before, I’m afraid of buying a house that is going to cost me a lot of money to fix after I buy it. Please consider my questions below. This would be greatly appreciated.

How can you be sure it doesn't have any major problems? Say for example it has a leaky basement? What if it rains and the basement floods and you suffer a ton of water damage? Is there anything you can do? Are the owners obligated to tell you about that?

It would just seem like the buyer can get majorly screwed here, by buying a faulty product, and it’s not like you can take out a warranty, right? Not for an $80,000 house, anyways. It seems like the responsibility is mostly on the buyer, or am I wrong here?

Are there any common problems I should be aware of?


Hi Melvin,

I see you have some good questions here as a first time home buyer. Hopefully I can give you some good answers.

The best way to be sure you’re not buying home with major problems is to spend a few hundred dollars and have a home inspection done. This can save you a lot of time and money in the long run. You can order this before even putting a offer to purchase on the property.

These home inspection reports are very detailed. In fact I suggest you be there with the inspector when it is taking place so when he discovers something you will see it right away.

The sellers have an obligation to tell you if there has been water problems in the basement. You’ll need to ask the realtor for a “sellers disclosure” document.

But if the sellers claim there has not been a problem with water and your basement floods after you buy the home, then you own the problem. I suggest “flood insurance” when you go to buy the home owners policy to give you some protection here.

If you ask your realtor, many times you can buy a home warranty. This may help give you peace of mind also. The realtor is in the best position to advise you on this.

The most common problems to watch for are the mechanical systems (i.e. heating, plumbing and electrical) and the roof. Your home inspection will give you everything you need to know on the condition of these things.

I hope this helps.

Jeff Ragan

Comments for How can you be sure the house isn't falling apart?

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House Falling Apart
by: Joline

I was wondering the same thing and am happy to see what I need to watch out for. Thanks so much for providing this section of your website to get our questions answered.

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