If you bought a house in Berks County with no maintenance issues at all, that would certainly be a rare occasion. Usually, most homeowners find a something that needs to be fixed in a home within the first couple of months of purchase.
And if you’ve already settled into your Berks County home, getting answers to these key questions will help you get to work putting the shine on your castle. Ask the previous owner, your agent, and your new neighbors for helpful answers.
Has There Ever Been a Busted Pipe?
Broken pipes are more common than many people think. Water damage caused by a frozen or burst pipe is a leading cause of homeowners insurance claims, at around 22% of all home insurance losses, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
What pipes can you expect to burst? Typically, the ones that burst more are exposed water pipes in unheated basements and crawl spaces, along with exterior faucets.
Old washing machine hoses are also a cause of water damage.
A good inspector in Berks County usually can tell if water damage has occurred, and any damage should be disclosed by the previous owner at the time of sale.
The big fallout from water damage is moisture problems you won’t see — behind drywall and trim — which can lead to mold. If you know there’s been a major leak, a mold remediation pro ($200 to $600) will tell you if mold is present and the steps required to remove it.
Any Infestations of Termites, Carpenter Ants, or Other Pests?
In Berks County there’s a wide range of pesky critters that can plague a home. These can include ants (carpenter, fire, harvester, and the like), cockroaches, fleas, silverfish, and termites.
If this was an issue in a home you bought, this should be disclosed by the previous owner at time of sale. But even if the owner dealt with a past infestation, that doesn’t mean the little buggers have been totally eliminated.
Whatever conditions made your house ripe for infestation in the first place (a slow leak under the house, soft rotting wood that attracts insects) may still be present. Plus, many infestations aren’t confined to one house. It may be a neighborhood-wide problem.
Be proactive, because the average cost of a termite extermination treatment around the perimeter of a 2,500-square-foot house is $1,700 to $3,200. Repairs to wooden framing, sheathing, and siding can run from hundreds to thousands of dollars.
What are Monthly Utility Costs?
You can’t get away from paying utilities, so know what your monthly budget is up against. Be sure to get an average cost, not the lowest monthly bill. Also ask when peak months are.
While you’re at it, ask what kind of energy sources your house appliances use - gas, electric, propane, or a combination. That’ll help you understand where you might upgrade to energy-efficient appliances to save energy costs.
Remember that energy savings starts with the simplest of tasks, like sealing air leaks.
Has the Sewer Ever Backed Up?
As properties age and trees and other plants get bigger, roots find their way into sewer lines between a house and the street, causing clogs. It’s a mess for sure, and most homeowner insurance policies don’t cover damage from backed-up sewers.
Plan to have the sewer line cleared (about $150) every other year.
For $40 to $50 per year, you can add an endorsement to your insurance policy to cover damage from a backed-up sewer.
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