Friends, I was talking to a friend the other day and she mentioned she and her husband were house hunting. They are young newlyweds and love the old charming houses in Victorian Village and Clintonville area of town. She is so cute, she took off on foot with her back pack and notepad to see what was available.

We discussed the fact that she did not want a house that was a "fixer upper". That can end up being disastrous on the bank account. When looking to buy an older home whether it be 20 years old or 100 years old there are some things that need to be taken into consideration. Of course the mom in me started giving her some advice on what to look out for.

I told her the first thing to ask is how old the roof is. One needs to be suspicious of roofs that are 15 years or older. Replacing a roof can cost a new homeowner anywhere from $3,000.00 and up depending of the size of the roof. When I sold my previous house the roof was in need of replacing. I ended up splitting the cost of a new roof with the buyer of my house. Ask for written proof that the roof is newer if possible.

Friends, I was talking to a friend the other day and she mentioned she and her husband were house hunting. They are young newlyweds and love the old charming houses in Victorian Village and Clintonville area of town. She is so cute, she took off on foot with her back pack and notepad to see what was available.

We discussed the fact that she did not want a house that was a “fixer upper”. That can end up being disastrous on the bank account. When looking to buy an older home whether it be 20 years old or 100 years old there are some things that need to be taken into consideration. Of course the mom in me started giving her some advice on what to look out for.

I told her the first thing to ask is how old the roof is. One needs to be suspicious of roofs that are 15 years or older. Replacing a roof can cost a new homeowner anywhere from $3,000.00 and up depending of the size of the roof. When I sold my previous house the roof was in need of replacing. I ended up splitting the cost of a new roof with the buyer of my house. Ask for written proof that the roof is newer if possible.

Check for wet basements and mildewed walls and floors. It can be quite costly to have a basement sealed and a new sump pump installed. In Central Ohio it is very important to have a functioning sump pump.

What condition are the kitchen and bathroom in? Are they outdated? How old are the appliances and flooring. Inspect the plumbing to look for problems as well. If they are older use that as a negotiating tool to shave off around $5,000.00 from the asking price. That can be a modest amount if you do need to do some work. The first thing I had to do when I moved into my currant house was add a dishwasher. The house was less than 20 years old but never had one installed.

Another factor to consider is the age of the furnace and air conditioner, if it has central air. If the furnace has been maintained regularly there should be dated stickers on the furnace showing the dates of service. The same can be true with the hot water heater. If they are approaching the twenty year mark they will need replaced on your watch. That can cost well over $3,000.00.

Never sign a contract without having a house inspection by a professional. Your realtor should be able to recommend one they trust. It will cost a few hundred dollars but is well worth it. They will check everything from the electricity, plumbing, driveway, gutters and downspout to the attic. All these things can add up if they need immediate attention.

Be sure to make the seller include a year membership to a Home Warranty company such as American Home Shield. It costs around $500.00 and can be renewed by you yearly. Even with that you still may have to pay out of pocket on things they do not cover. I have had my issues with them through the years. I have yet to have a plumbing problem that the contract covered. We do renew ours yearly though.

Shopping for a new home can be exciting. With the interest rates being so low this is a prime market to buy a new house in. Make sure to do your homework. Ask the right questions and be observant before on deciding on anything. I hope I did not scare her. I just wanted to make sure she was well equipped to be a savvy house hunter. For now happy shopping!

Laurie, TheBag Lady