Basements are not just additional storage spaces anymore. They can be great for many things. People use them for game rooms, movie rooms, bedrooms, and even full apartments if they have the space. They’re also considered safe spaces in areas where tornadoes are a big concern. But if you’re considering buying a house with a basement, there are a few things you should look for to make sure it’s in the best shape.
Water leaks or stains
Some homes, especially older ones, might have basements with foundations made of material other than cement, such as stone. Stone is not a good material for blocking water, which is devastating to other foundational elements such as untreated wood or drywall. It can also wreak havoc on your health by harboring mold and other harmful allergens. In these situations, it could be quite costly to make the necessary improvements to waterproof the basement. But that’s not the only reason there might be moisture in the basement. It could also be caused by foundation issues like shifting or settling. If this is the case in a house that you love, you can contact a professional about basement foundation repairs to get estimates for fixing the problem. You might also be able to request the owner make these repairs or that they be deducted from the selling price.
Heating and cooling vents
If you’re planning to use your basement for anything other than storage, it’s important to check the heating and cooling systems to see if they are vented to the basement. Pay attention to the temperature when you’re viewing the home and ask a lot of questions about how well it is temp-controlled. If the basement is not connected to the home’s HVAC unit, it could get pretty costly to make that modification. But you can speak to an HVAC specialist and have them check the home to let you know what your options would be.
Chipping paint and loose siding could be more than cosmetic problems. This is especially true if you notice the problems close to the ground in a home with a basement. Even if you didn’t notice water leaks or stains in the basement, there could be a problem that hasn’t made its way inside yet. Take a peek under loose siding to see if you notice rotting or cracking caused by moisture or ask a professional to check it out for you. If it is just cosmetic, it can be easily fixed, but be sure to contact professionals for exterior house painting in Massachusetts or your state, who can take steps to ensure that your paint job lasts as long as possible.
Radon gas leaks
According to Basement Health Association (BHA), Radon is a “radioactive gas naturally caused from uranium decaying in the soil.” Radon enters the house through cracks in the foundation and seeps upward into the rest of the house. Being exposed to high levels of it can cause severe respiratory problems and even lung cancer. In fact, it’s said to be the second leading cause of lung cancer. And the problem with radon is that it is completely odorless so there’s no way to know if your house is over-exposed other than testing it. It’s a good idea to buy a radon test kit or call a professional to check the radon levels in a basement before you buy the home. Excessive amounts of radon could signal problems with the foundation. And both the foundation and the radon leak will need to be addressed.