4 Tips For Buying A House In New Orleans (And What To Avoid)
July 4th, 2019
4 Tips For Buying A House In New Orleans (And What To Avoid).
New Orleans is a wonderful and unique place and its historic homes are a big part of that. And just like most things here, New Orleans homes have a character all their own. The weather, the water, the building materials and even the ground they are built on all come into play when assessing a New Orleans home for buying (or passing on!).
Having worked as a contractor and plumber in New Orleans for over 20 years and having bought and renovated multiple homes in that time, I’d like to share 4 observations and tips that I’ve picked up over the years:
1. Get good inspections!
This seems obvious, however, like in all things, there are degrees of good and great. For example, a lot of potential home buyers will have a general inspection done. If that inspection comes back relatively clean, oftentimes buyers will move on with the sale without further inspections.
New Orleans weather and conditions can be extreme (usually extremely wet!) and if you couple that with the age factor in many homes here you realize that you’ll need to go deeper on inspections than you do in most places with newer homes. It may cost a little more in the short term but can save you from massive headaches and potential expenses down the road. Some inspections I recommend by default for most New Orleans homes are: Termite, Plumbing, HVAC & ????.
2. Look beyond the fixtures...
Something that I’ve seen time and again here is sellers that will put on the equivalent of ‘lipstick and rouge’ on an otherwise troubled property. New and shiny bathroom fixtures will not address structural issues in a water damaged wall.
A example of this may be: a house ‘flipper’ buys a run down property for 200k. Two months later it’s back on the market for 450k and they claim to have done a renovation in that time. However, the renovation has really only been on the surface, they have painted and put in new fixtures in the bathrooms and new appliances in the kitchen.
Be sure to look ‘beyond the fixtures’ and really poke around at what is beneath the surface. Do your homework and look into the history of the house and it’s sales etc. All of which leads into tip number three.
3. Ask questions
We all want to believe that everyone we hire for a given job will always do their best work and have your best interests in mind. While this is often the case, it always pays to advocate for yourself!
Will your general inspector find everything that needs to be addressed? Most likely, but what if they miss something or don’t put the same value on something as you do, or are just having a bad day? Do yourself a favor and ask the inspector any questions you may have, however mundane or simple they may be.
ASK THE SELLERS TOO! Have a list of questions for the sellers that your real estate agent can pass to the seller. For example: ‘I see this house was bought 6 months ago, why the quick turnaround?
4. Look for original materials
This is something that applies before and after you buy a home in New Orleans. You have a home built in 1870 but in 1970 someone decided to ‘modernize’ some of the details in the home and in doing so ended up taking some of the charming architectural points out and replacing them with something... not as charming.
Sometimes this process isn't as bad as it seems, sometimes the original materials are still there! I’ve seen many instances where original shudders, mouldings, doors and more are stashed somewhere on the property like an attic or shed. So be on the lookout, there may be more there than originally meets the eye.
I hope these tips come in handy, buying a home can be a daunting process. As always, Blum Construction and Plumbing is happy to help with that process and is happy to use our experience to help you make the right decision.
Call today and schedule your free Blum consultation.
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