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11 Signs You are Buying a House that’s a Money Pit

If you’re buying a house, it’s important to watch out for potential money pits that could cost you thousands of dollars each year. Don’t let your dream home become a financial burden! Watch out for these common money pits!

Signs that You’re Buying a House that’s a Money Pit

1. Old Roof

When it comes to real estate, one of the most costly expenses is an old roof. That’s why it’s important to hire a reliable home inspector before buying a house to check the age of the roof. 

If your roof is 20-30 years old, I recommend asking your home inspector to assess the roof’s condition and to figure out if you need to hire a roofer to do a thorough inspection. 

Buying a house with an aging roof can be a nightmare, especially if you have to replace it within a few years of buying the property. The cost of replacing a roof can range from $10,000 to $50,000, depending on the roof’s size and the home’s location. 

You should also pay attention to the roof’s material. If it’s made of asphalt shingles, its lifespan is between 12 and 30 years. Roof made of clay tiles and cedar shingles will be more expensive than asphalt shingles. 

Home Buying Mistakes- Money Pit

2. Old HVAC

Another big money pit to watch out for when buying a house is the HVAC. To avoid any surprises, you should have a home inspector check the age of the boiler and A/C units and assess their condition. 

HVAC units typically last 15-20 years, so if they are approaching or within this timeframe, it’s a good idea to have an HVAC specialist conduct a comprehensive inspection. The last thing you want is to buy a home and later find out that the A/C units or boiler need to be replaced, which could cost anywhere from $8000-$12,000.

3. Old Water Heater

Old water heaters are a major money pit. It’s very common for water heaters to start leaking when it’s around 10 years. 

I’ve seen many homes spout a leak in their water heater, causing thousands of dollars of damage—ruining hardwood floors and needing a water heater replacement. 

To replace a water heater, you can expect to pay $1000-$2500, but if there’s a leak, you’ll have to add in the cost of water damage. Water heaters have a lifespan of 8-12 years, so if you’re buying a house near that age range, you should factor in the cost of water heater replacement into the price and replace it before it starts leaking.

4. Aging Appliances

When buying a house, it’s important to check the age of appliances since they can be a potential money pit. You should find out how old the appliances are.  

Most appliances last around 10 years before they start to break down. If you are buying a house with appliances that are around a decade old, you need to take that into consideration because the appliances are approaching end of life. 

Replacing appliances like refrigerators, dishwashers, washers, and dryers can cost thousands of dollars. It’s best to be aware of this before buying the house.

5. Non-Energy Efficient Windows

Another money pit that buyers should watch out for are old, non-energy efficient windows. Old windows are more likely to have leaks and are not double-glazed, leading to heat and cold air escaping. The result is higher electric and heating bills. 

Before buying the home, it’s a good idea to find out from the seller how much their utility bills are. That way you have a better understanding of what your monthly utility expense will be. 

Replacing old windows costs thousands of dollars, each window can cost $1500 each! If your plan is to replace the old windows, then you should take that into account during price negotiation when you buy the home.

Home Buying Mistakes- Money Pit

6. Long Driveway

Homes with long driveways can be a money pit. Having a long driveway might be grand at first, but the truth is, long driveways just means you have more driveway to maintain. 

Maintaining a long driveway can be a real hassle since it requires more upkeep. For example, clearing snow from a long driveway is more expensive. Plus, the cost will be higher when it’s time to repave your driveway. It’s worth considering the maintenance before deciding on a home with a long driveway.

7. Big Yard

One of the major expenses that first-time home buyers tend to overlook is the maintenance cost associated with a big backyard. Keeping a yard in pristine condition requires frequent attention, including weed removal, reseeding, and aeration. 

It’s an ongoing process that is expensive, and the larger the yard, the more costly it becomes. Landscaping is another expensive aspect of yard maintenance since you’ll need to hire a professional to work on your yard. The cost of hiring a landscaper increases as the size of your yard increases. Maintaining a large yard can cost thousands of dollars per year.

8. HOA

It’s important to consider the HOA fee or Homeowner’s association fee when buying a new home. This is often a forgotten expense that can become a money pit if not researched properly. 

Before buying your home, you should do your due diligence and scrutinize the homeowner’s association financial statements. If you buy a home in a community that requires costly repairs, you may end up paying hundreds or even thousands of extra HOA assessment fees. 

Be sure to double-check and do your homework before buying a home with an HOA, especially in older communities where repairs may be needed. 

Ask yourself questions like, “How old is the roof, and will it need to be replaced soon?” or “Does the community require new roads?” or “Does the clubhouse, pool, tennis courts need renovation?” This way, you can avoid unexpected expenses and make an informed decision before buying the home.

9. Pools

When you’re buying a home, it’s important to be aware of the additional expenses that come with amenities like pools and hot tubs. Though they may seem like a great feature to have, the costs of maintaining them can add up quickly. 

In fact, on average, it costs between $1500 to $3000 a year to maintain a pool. If any repairs are needed, the costs will be even more. 

Having a pool can be a potential money pit if you only use your pool occasionally. For example, if you only use your pool once a year and it costs you $3000 to maintain it, that one swim could end up costing you a whopping $3000!

10. HOA Amenities

Living in an HOA community can be both a blessing and a curse. While amenities such as pools, clubhouses, golf courses, and tennis courts can be a great source of enjoyment, they can also become money pits. 

The more amenities a community has, the steeper the HOA fees are. If you plan to use these amenities frequently, paying the extra fees is worth it. However, if you only use them occasionally, the high HOA fees may not be worth it. You might be better off living in a community without such amenities. 

Another thing to remember is that high HOA fees can impact the resale value of your home. Homes with high HOA fees tend to appreciate less in value over time, limiting the pool of potential buyers.

11. Termite Infestation

It’s important to inspect for termite infestation before buying the home. Otherwise, you may have a money pit of repairs and active termite infestation to control. So, to prevent such a nightmare, remember to have your potential home thoroughly inspected for termites!

House Hunting Checklist

House Hunting Checklist: Free Printable

Below is my house hunting checklist printable. I suggest you print out copies of this checklist and keep it in a binder. Use it to take notes and to keep track of the homes you visit during open houses or when you are out house hunting with your real estate agent.

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House Hunting Checklist

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