Buying a home? Not only should you be very choosey when it comes to the aesthetics of the home and the location it's in, but you also want to make sure it's a safe place for you and your family to live.
Be sure you include a provision in your purchase agreement that allows you to bring in a professional home inspector to scope out the home in great detail before you finalize the deal. These experts will be able to spot issues and hazards with a home that you may not notice yourself and will make recommendations on how to rectify them.
So, what hazards should you be on the lookout for when checking out homes for sale?
1. Unsafe Staircases
Staircases should have handrails that are sturdy and strong enough not to waver when you hold on to them going up or down the stairs. If you notice that a handrail is shaky or is even missing altogether, that's an issue that will have to be rectified before you move in, or at least immediately after moving in.
Further, stairways should be well lit, including both indoors and outdoors, for obvious safety reasons. Older homes tend to have more issues, so keep your eye out for these things when scoping out homes on the market.
2. Broken Walkways
You can easily trip on a walkway that has cracked and raised concrete or interlocking stone that is not even. Also, look for holes, bulges, and any buckling of the material. Pay attention to issues such as these, as they can prove to be a real hazard if they're not fixed. Even the slightest difference in height can be dangerous.
3. Unsafe Pools
If you happen to be buying a home with a pool, make sure you actually want one. Pools come with a lot of extra cost and maintenance and are best suited for those who will actually be using them.
That said, when buying a home with a pool, there are some things you should be looking out for. For starters, is it fenced? Depending on the size of the yard, the pool may need its own dedicated fence surrounding it to help keep children and other vulnerable people out of the water when unsupervised. Otherwise, the property itself should be fully fenced to keep everyone safe and to keep you out of legal trouble.
Further, look for other hazards around the pool, such as cracks in the deck material, pumps that aren't functioning properly, and so forth.
4. Busy Streets
If you're a parent and have small children running around, a busy street nearby is something you should be wary of. If you're on a quiet cul de sac, you have little to worry about. But if you're on a main drag with a lot of traffic, you might want to look for something that's located on a quieter lot.
5. Windows and Doors That Don't Lock
It seems obvious that all doors should come with locks to keep intruders out. But all windows need to be able to be locked too. Check out all the windows on the home to see if they not only come with locks, but that the locks are actually functional. And windows on upper levels of homes should also have guards to protect occupants from accidentally falling out.
Before you spend years living in a home, make sure you've ruled out the presence of any toxins that may be lurking. Things such as asbestos, mold, radon, lead, and carbon monoxide can be deadly if left to be inhaled by occupants of a home. Be sure to get your home inspector to look specifically for these things, especially if the home you're looking at is at least 40 or 50 years old.
Considering the fact that you're going to be living in your home for a long time (depending on what your specific goals are), you want to make sure that the place is safe for habitation, especially if you've got kids in the house.
Make sure to get a home inspector to help you pinpoint any issues, and if any are spotted, ensure that they are rectified right away, either by requesting the seller to make the repairs, or by making them yourself before you even move the first box in.