What You Need to Know Before Buying a House

Image of couple thinking about buying a new home

Buying a new home is a big commitment! It requires a lot of thought and attention to detail. Many aspiring homeowners think about finances, insurance, curb appeal, neighborhoods, school districts and house size. But what about all of the behind-the-scenes systems and equipment that keep a home running?

What home comfort systems should you be thinking about?

There are several pieces of equipment that make your home a comfortable and functional place to live. These include plumbing, heating and cooling, electrical and appliances. It is easy to forget about them until something goes wrong.

Before making the decision to buy a home, you need to be aware of the condition and estimated remaining life span of each system. Hidden problems can cause unexpected and possibly expensive repairs later. Just like you might take a used car to a mechanic before or after buying it, you should do the same for your new home. But where should you start?

Get a home inspection

This is a great place to start. A home inspection will explain the current condition of your home’s interior systems. Most of the time, a home inspection is required! The inspection includes the heating and cooling, plumbing and electric. However, most standard home inspections don’t include the sewer/drain line outside your home.

Consider a full inspection of the drains

It is a good idea to go a step further than the home inspection. Drain problems often start in the pipes outside of the home. These issues might not to show up on the standard home inspection report. It’s a good idea to have a licensed plumber come out and check the drains. Schedule an appointment with TLC’s professional drain’s team today.

Find out the estimated remaining life-span of equipment

For example, the typical furnace has a life-span of 15–20 years. If the furnace in your potential home is 12 years old, you can expect to replace it in the near future. You might even want to factor it into the cost of the home.

Equipment Life Expectancy Infographic

Here is a list of common equipment life-spans:

  • Furnace: 15 – 20 years
  • Swamp Cooler: 10 years
  • Refrigerated Air:  15 – 20 years
  • Water Heater: 10 – 12 years

Typically, manufacturers put the date and serial number on a sticker or tag on the equipment. If there is no date, you should be able to research the serial number on the manufacturer’s website. Plumbing and HVAC professionals can help you determine the ages of your equipment if the home inspector didn’t already do so.

Maintain your home’s comfort systems regularly

Maintenance is an important element of home ownership. Whether your systems are new or old, regular maintenance can prolong their life span. TLC offers a cost-effective Preventive Maintenance Program that makes it easy to keep your heating, cooling, plumbing and electrical running in top condition for years to come!

Set aside an emergency fund

Nobody wants to have unexpected repairs or emergencies. Even though most unexpected repairs can be prevented by proper maintenance, accidents and emergencies sometimes still happen: the children put something they shouldn’t have down the drain, an old part you thought would last another season gives out or the temperature unexpectedly drops and the outdoor faucet freezes.

You don’t have to be blind-sided by unexpected repairs. Start an emergency fund now to give yourself peace of mind about future repairs. Set aside some money each paycheck – whatever you can afford – and when an emergency surprises you, you will be ready.

What’s the bottom line?

Purchasing a new home is a huge decision and can be especially nerve-wracking for first-time homeowners. Know beforehand what to look for and what questions to ask about comfort systems and appliances. Think ahead about maintenance, and be prepared for emergencies. Get informed and have a plan. It will give you peace of mind and help you enjoy your new home for years to come.

If you have questions, Ask a Pro today!