Worry Free Home
By Nikki Willhite
A guide to buying a house
So many things can go wrong when you move into a new home. Weíve
owned seven houses, and there have always been surprises, even in the newer
The roof can need replacing, the foundation may need repair, the
chimney may be blocked and crumbling, the pipes may be galvanized steel and need
to be replaced with copper, the furnace or water heater can die, there may be
unexpected assessments on the property, insect infestation, dry rot, wet rot,
and in the worst of cases, houses literally start cracking and falling off the
foundation and sliding down hills.
While many safeguards have been put into place to catch some of
these things, they are not foolproof.
A few years ago, we had a case in our area where a house fell
down a hill and pushed the house beneath it (which was on level ground) into
Puget Sound. The family was sleeping at the time, and tragically, they all died.
Yet, people continue to build on the edges of cliffs, in flood
plains, and in our area, under a sleeping, yet potentially explosive volcano.
Our homes, if we are lucky enough to have one, are the largest
investment that we have, as well as a huge expenditure of time and money for
upkeep. How much easier our lives are if we choose our dwelling wisely.
It is so easy to be impressed with appearance, and neglect the
basic structure. Iíve done it myself. When you are poor, you donít feel you have
the money to hire an inspector to check out the things you donít know about. We
bought one house in Arizona simply because it had a huge living room, which was
very different from all the tiny rooms we had been looking at.
We learned the hard way. The living room was large because the
home had been modified. Our huge living room was made by taking out the
original kitchen, and adding a new one. When they added the new kitchen to the
house, they didnít know what they were doing. They neglected to put in the air
pipes in the plumbing, so the sink constantly backed up.
They used the wrong kind of plumbing, and where it joined the
original plumbing in the house, water came running down the ceiling and walls.
The new kitchen wouldnít cool properly, so we had to put a folding door between
it and the main house. It got so hot in that kitchen during the summer, that
every piece of plastic in that kitchen melted.
We were too trusting, and too innocent. We were young. Never
assume anything when you are buying a home. Never believe anything that is told
to you by someone who has a vested interest in selling the house.
If you are thinking of buying a home, make sure you have enough
money for a home inspection as part of the transaction.
A lot of people will not buy a house older than about 10 years.
This is because it is a fairly safe bet that no serious damage can be done to a
house in that amount of time, even if it is neglected. Some people will buy a
new mobile home for this reason, if they cannot afford a newer frame house.
When damage has been done to a house through neglect, some
things can be repaired, other things will never be the same. The repairs will
cost a lot of money.
Give buying a home the research, time, and the diligence that it
requires. Try not do make decisions based on emotion. Be careful, and you won't
suffer buyer's remorse.