real estate

How to avoid buying a money pit

Seek out water damage
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Seek out water damage

One of the fastest ways to rack up huge repair bills on a home is to ignore the hazards presented by water, says Dean Bennett, president of Dean Bennett Design and Construction in Castle Rock, Colo.

"Water will ruin things more than anything else in the house, and problems resulting from water damage are among the most costly to repair," Bennett says, adding that mold and rot can result from water issues left unattended.

The bathroom and kitchen are obvious places to look for water damage, Bennett says. He adds that it's a good idea to check the fixtures because they can give you a quick read on maintenance.

Buyers should also inspect the caulking in sinks and seals around windows where storm water can get in. If you find mildew and cracks, Bennett says, there's a good chance you're in for a bigger problem down the road.




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