Investing in a home is one of the smartest purchases most people will make. Although it can feel overwhelming, buying a home should be a fun experience — even if it is a lot of responsibility. When purchasing a home, it’s essential to consider things like the neighborhood, school district, and home’s general condition. However, there are some critical structural things that you should also look for in your new potential home. If you’re thinking about buying a home, here is a list of four essential things you should look for before heading to the closing table. 

Age of the HVAC System

A reliable HVAC system can seriously impact your quality of life, especially if you live in a state that gets very hot in the summer! It’s important to know what type of heating and cooling system a home has, plus its age and whether there’s a copy of maintenance records. 

The typical HVAC unit has an average life of between 10 to 25 years. According to Home Advisor, it costs an average of $7,000 to replace a HVAC unit; however, this can differ depending on the size and type of unit.

The ideal home-buying scenario would be an HVAC unit under ten years old, in good working order with no noticeable water damage. It’s important to hire a home inspector to determine if the HVAC unit is working, as well as its estimated age. This can help you make an informed decision before you purchase. 

The Condition of the Roof

The condition of the roof can have a significant impact on the cost of your home insurance. For example, most homeowners who wish to save on their insurance have a wind mitigation survey completed on their home. A wind mitigation survey helps to determine the condition of the roof and how well it will fare in high winds and other weather conditions. 

With the average cost of a new roof ranging anywhere from $5000 to tens of thousands of dollars, it’s important to know what you’re dealing with before taking ownership of a potential home. The average lifespan of an asphalt shingle roof is approximately 10 to 20 years. If you’re unsure of the age or condition of a roof, it’s essential to have a licensed home inspector take a look and advise further.  

Plumbing Issues

When purchasing a home, you should consider the big three plumbing issues, sewer lines, toilets, and water heaters. After many decades, sewer lines can degrade, leading to costly plumbing issues down the line. Having a sewer inspection can give you peace of mind, especially if the home is over 20 years old. In addition, it’s also important to look for evidence of past or active leaks. Water damage can be costly and problematic, so it’s crucial to know what you’re getting yourself into. 

In addition to the sewer lines, you should also find out the age of the water heater. On average, a water tank lasts around ten to fifteen years; however, it can last longer with maintenance. You should expect to pay anywhere from several hundred dollars to a $2,000 for a new water heating, depending on what you need. You should also factor in around $1,000 labor to install the tank. 

A Solid Foundation and Home Exterior

Foundation issues are one of the most significant problems a home can face. This is because structural weakness is often expensive and time-consuming to repair. It’s important to look out for issues such as cracks in the flooring, ceilings, and walls. Other concerns include uneven floors and sunken staircases. 

It’s important to remember that all homes experience some settling to a degree, which can lead to cracks. If you aren’t sure whether a crack is structurally significant, it’s important to seek a professional opinion from a qualified home inspector.