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Pitfalls To Avoid When Buying A Used Home

Updated on December 1, 2013

There seems to be a common misconception in recent years that newer is always better, and while this may be true in some areas of consumerism it is not always correct when it comes to purchasing a home. The craftsmanship and quality of materials that were implemented in home construction 30, 40, or 50 years ago were far superior to that of today and if a home buyer knows the pitfalls to avoid when buying a used home the advantages can be tremendous.

The first step is to find just the right location for your soon to be residence. The nicest used home in the world is no great deal if you need to drive for an hour each way to work or 15 miles to go grocery shopping. Other aspects of daily life also need to be close at hand such as schools, health care, religious and cultural institutions and recreational facilities such as parks and libraries. While it may not sound like too much of a hassle if you need to travel a bit more consider that those 20 minute trips here and there can add up to 10 to 20 hours a week of additional time spent behind the wheel of your car - and a considerable increase in gasoline expenditures to go along with it.

When it comes to location another important issue is the matter of urban sprawl and decay. Take a look around as to the distance between the house you are considering purchasing and the seedier parts of town. While the ghetto may be three miles away from your prospective home at the present time it may be three feet away in fifteen years. Along with this goes any hope of your home retaining it's value and the funds and effort placed into it over your time living there will never be recovered upon resale.

The next pitfall to avoid when buying a used home is to ensure that the house is in at least reasonable condition for it's age. While there are certainly items you can spot that may need attention during your initial few viewings there are many more that require a trained eye to discover. This is the point where the retention of a certified home inspection service comes into play. These services are well worth the small comparative cost of being stuck with a large repair at a later date and provide peace of mind that is invaluable. Electrical, plumbing, heating and cooling, structural, foundation, sewer and roofing issues can be determined before you make a 30 year mortgage commitment.

The final pitfall to avoid when buying a used home concerns the size of the structure, the layout and the yard. While a 2,000 square foot four bedroom 2 1/2 bath house may be just right when you have three kids at home the day will come when the nest will be empty. At that time all of the extra space becomes little more than an added expense in terms of heating, cooling and maintenance. While you may enjoy the two acre yard now at the age of 70 when the grass needs cut it will not be nearly as enjoyable.


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    • glassvisage profile image

      glassvisage 3 years ago from Northern California

      Thanks for posting! I can remember looking at used homes to buy and my realtor would tell me to try to find something under 30 years of age, and to pay attention to the age of the roof, the condition of the pipes, and the foundation.