So you’ve found the perfect house. You love the neighborhood, the area, the big backyard – it has everything you want and it is the perfect price. Well, so you think. Just because you love the house does not mean it warrants no costly repairs. Before jumping at the offer, make sure you do a little extra research to avoid purchasing a money-pit.

Make sure the house is structurally stable – 
First, check the basement of the house. The basement serves as the foundation, and can reveal all types of poor maintenance or future problems. Look at the quality of construction, materials used, and age of the heating, cooling, and electrical systems. If the house uses a heating tank, check for leaks. Evaluate the sewer system and look for potential problems.

Look for hard-surface flooring cracks, gaps, and repairs – check out the drywall, especially in corners and around the windows. Walk around that beautiful backyard and inspect the trees. How big and how close to the house are they? Will they continue to get bigger? Trees near the house that will continue to grow are likely to damage the foundation with root growth.

Look for water damage –
Bathrooms and kitchens will be your best indicators for water damage. Look at the fixtures – they can show how the overall maintenance has been so far. Also look for caulk in sinks and the seals around windows. If there is any sort of mildew, there is a good chance you will have costly water problems later on.

Plan a “bad-weather” visit. This is the best indicator of how the house will hold up and perform under realistic weather conditions. It will also be more difficult for sellers to hide problem areas.

Plan for the future – 
Do not overlook the basic style of the house. Think about how the cosmetics can be changed to fit your style, and if it’s too costly, walk away. If you will want to make huge changes later, you will regret spending the money to do so, rather than just finding a house better suited to your style and needs.

Do not ignore the costs of maintenance and repair. In addition to the structural elements discussed earlier, inspect the roof. Ask how recent it is – a roof over 10 years old needs replacing, and that will cost you money. Make sure to account for all these possible repairs in your bid, and get a second opinion if unsure.

Check out the neighborhood and knock on some doors. It is surprising how much people will tell a total stranger. Ask them things like: what do you like about the neighborhood? What do you wish you could change? Have there been any recent problems with crime? Do any neighbors have unusual or unfriendly pets? You can even ask about the house in question: how often do you see maintenance crew, when was it last painted etc.

Think about the commute and talk it over with your family. Know what to expect traffic-wise to and from work, schools, and home. Are the roads prone to flooding or accidents? Do you have alternative routes from the neighborhood? A bad commute could create resentment about your decision.

Do not buy anything that will not sell in the future. Even if you love it, will it appeal to the average buyer? Does it have everything a buyer looks for?

Do not get emotionally attached – 
Even if it really is the perfect house for you, great houses are hard to find and sell quickly. This house might get away before you have the chance to say “yes”. Recognize that this can happen, and plan accordingly.,,