There are a lot of great advantages to purchasing a pre-owned home. First off, as with other pre-owned items, older houses often come with a lower price tag than brand new ones. On top of that, pre-owned homes tend to be less cookie cutter than a lot of newer developments. However, that doesn’t mean that all is necessarily perfect with buying a pre-owned house. There are many potential pitfalls to watch out for, and the kitchen is one place to be especially aware. Here is a list of some common issues and what to keep an eye out for:
Check for Water Problems
Water is an important aspect in a kitchen. It’s needed for both cooking and cleaning, so it’s essential that you check into any previous and current water issues before buying a pre-owned home. As stated by residential architect Richard Taylor in an article for Yahoo Real Estate, “Water is the number one cause of damage in all homes, especially older ones.”
You don’t want to find out after the fact that a previous leak caused water damage in your kitchen. You will also want to know that the pipes are in good shape so that there won’t be any water worries in the near future. Have a look under and around the sink, dishwasher, and fridge to see if you notice any water staining, dripping, or any sign of warping due to water leakage.
You will likely spend a lot of time using your kitchen appliances. The cost of replacing appliances can really add up, so you’ll want to be sure that they are going to meet your needs. When you’re walking through a home that you’re excited about, it’s easy to get caught up in things like the architecture, number of bedrooms, and square footage. However, it’s highly advisable to give the kitchen appliances a thorough look over.
If you have the opportunity to turn the appliances on to test their function, then it’s a great idea to do so. If not, ask the seller (or have your realtor ask the seller) whether or not there are any problems with the appliances and if they have any warranties and manuals to go along with them. Take note of any potential issues and factor that into your final decision about making an offer.
Be Cautious of Updates
Older homes have often had a facelift or two over the years. Styles change and different owners have varying design tastes. That said, not all updates are done well. Just because something looks shiny and new doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s sturdy and resilient. Sometimes homeowners cut into support walls to create a more open space, but end up doing damage to the home’s overall integrity. Other times people give a room a cosmetic makeover to hide damage that has occurred in the home such as a kitchen fire or a water leak.
Inspect the Cabinets
As stated on UncleBobs.com, “Kitchen cabinets are the most expensive amenity of the kitchen.” Replacing them can cost a lot of money, so it’s best to know what you’re getting into ahead of time. If the cabinets look newer, be sure to ask who did the work so that you know who to contact in case you need a section repaired or replaced. If the cupboards are older but look to be solid, then it may be a good idea to look into the cost of refinishing or re-facing them.
Putting your own stamp on an older kitchen can be a lot of fun, but it can also reveal hidden costs, especially if you overlook problems in the first place. Have a close look at anything in the kitchen that appears unusual. If it seems at all suspicious or if you’re just not sure, be sure to ask. If you feel like you’re still not getting all the information you need, either walk away or call in a professional to properly check it out.