3 Simple Ways to Tell if You are Buying a Money Pit

Written By Jeff Hindenach
Last updated December 11, 2020

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March 18, 2016

Simple. Thrifty. Living.

Buying a home is exciting, but there’s always a chance you’re getting in over your head. Plenty of people think they’re getting great deals, only to discover that they have bought money pits which require thousands of dollars in repairs and updates.

Use these three simple tips to tell if you are buying a money pit.

If you plan to purchase your new home with help from a mortgage, then you are probably obligated to have a professional inspect the property. This ensures that you and the lender know about any major problems. It also gives you an opportunity to have the seller make some improvements to the house before you buy it.

None of this matters much unless you have a reliable inspector with plenty of experience.

You can find a good inspector by:

  • Asking inspectors to give you references
  • Getting license and insurance documents from potential hires
  • Reading online reviews
  • Requesting a sample report

After talking to a few inspectors, it will become clear which ones stand out as true pros.

Plumbing, electrical and HVAC systems have limited lifespans; eventually, you will have to replace them. This makes it important for you to find out when the latest improvements were made to the building.

If no one has updated the home in more than two decades, then you will probably have to spend money on crucial systems soon.

Even if the existing features are in good condition, it’s not a great idea to live in a home with aging plumbing and electrical features. Cutting-edge technology from the 1970s looks antiquated by today’s standards.

Talking to neighbors can tell you a lot about the property since they know more about the immediate area. If their basements flood, for instance, there is a good chance your potential home’s basement will also have issues.

The neighbors may also know what previous owners complained about. People trying to sell houses don’t always tell potential buyers the truth. They’re more likely to share that information with neighbors before they decide to put the house up for sale. When you have a conversation with the neighbors, you can get an honest assessment that helps you decide whether you want to buy.

You don’t have to put your financial future in jeopardy by buying a home. In fact, it’s usually pretty simple to avoid a money pit that will drain your savings account.

About the Author

Jeff Hindenach

Jeff Hindenach is the co-founder of Simple. Thrifty. Living. He graduated from Bowling Green State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism. He has a long history of financial journalism, with a background writing for newspapers such as the San Jose Mercury News and San Francisco Examiner, as well as writing on personal finance for The Huffington Post, New York Times, Business Insider, CNBC, Newsday and The Street. He believes in giving readers the tools they need to get out of debt.

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