Buying a house in Los Angeles? Consider this common scenario. A couple has spent every weekend and most evenings for the past several weeks looking at homes. Not only are all those homes and their features beginning to run together, but the people are getting tired. So they finally make an offer on a home that has a few problems but seemed to be in good enough shape. Shortly after they move in, though, they wind up spending thousands of dollars for a new roof. Don’t let this be you. Instead, keep in mind these 4 things you should never overlook when buying a house in Los Angeles.
1. Roof and Foundation Problems
Other than the framing itself – the bones of a house – the next two most important structural features are the top and the bottom. So you should never overlook roof and foundation problems when buying a house in Los Angeles.
Just because you love everything else about a home, you should never overlook an old roof or one in bad repair. For the roof, after all, protects all the rest of the house from the weather. The cost of replacing a roof always runs into the thousands of dollars, ranging from around $8,000 at the low end up to $25,000 in some cases. Keep in mind too that the average lifespan of a roof is about 20 years. So if the roof on the house has already been there for 15 years, it won’t be long till you’re facing a huge expense.
Just as important as the top of the house is what holds it up – the foundation. Repairing major foundation flaws is also enormously expensive. You can overlook superficial blemishes, but not noticeable foundation cracks. If you do, you’re headed for big problems and major expenses.
2. Sewer Issues
Buying a Los Angeles should also always involve careful inspection of the sewer system. This isn’t typically a part of a normal home inspection, so you’ll have to see to it yourself.
As a homeowner, you will be responsible for the entire system if it’s a septic system and (typically) for all the sewer system from the main to your house if it’s not a septic system. Either way, repair or replacement will be a huge expense. Your best course is to pay for a separate sewer inspection before making an offer.
3. Old Wiring
And you definitely should not overlook old wiring that probably isn’t up to code. You may have lights and juice to your outlets, but old wiring can pose a major fire hazard. An outdated electrical system can also increase your insurance premiums – if you can get coverage at all.
As with roofs, foundations, and sewer systems, rewiring a home is a major expense. So if the house has old wiring with brittle insulation, few outlets, and fuse boxes, you should probably reconsider.
4. Night-Time Neighborhood
This is one aspect of a home that most people never consider, but it certainly should not be overlooked when you’re considering buying a specific house in Los Angeles. And that is the personality of the neighborhood at night – which is sometimes far different from what you see during the day.
Certainly, you want to be on the lookout for night-time dangers, but that’s not the chief concern. Neighborhoods can change dramatically when all the residents are back home from work and school. Some people have loud, crowded parties at night, others keep an obnoxious number of bright outside lights on, and still others drive around all evening in their loud cars. Find out before you move in next door to them.
Somethings you can accept or compromise on when buying a house in Los Angeles, but others you should never overlook. Listen to your inspector and, especially, your local real estate agent. A good local agent will likely know the neighborhood and may know a lot about the condition of the house.