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What Does ‘Completely Remodeled’ Mean? 6 Things to Look For

Oct 19, 2021Buying Basics, First-Time Home Buyers, Homebuying Process, Real Estate Tips

There’s an expectation when you see the phrase “completely remodeled” in a home listed for sale.  

‘Remodel’, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary means “to change the structure, shape, or appearance of something”.  When the phrase “completely remodeled” is used in the description of a listing, many homebuyers expect the entire house to be updated. But in residential real estate, a house advertised as “completely remodeled” may have a number of big-ticket household items, like the roof, HVAC system, deck and windows that are either original or close end of their useful life.

With that in mind, here’s what to look for when a home is described as “completely remodeled”:

Electrical upgrades

The standard for household power used to be 60 amps. Today modern homes need as much as 200 amps to run all the electrical needs. High-definition televisions, computers, air conditioners and home automation devices require lots of power to run. Have a home inspector check the entry cable coming into the house and the electrical panel. If the house has original or outdated wiring, consider upgrading for safety and function purposes.

Roof

Depending on the size of a house and the style of shingles, a new roof can cost between $8000 and $40,000 dollars or more. The age of a roof is a very important consideration when buying a house. While you are touring the house with your exclusive buyer agent, check the roof to see if any shingles are curling. Look for cracked or missing shingles. Finally, look for bald spots or areas of the roof where the granules are gone. These are all signs of an older roof. If you move ahead with the purchase of the home, make sure your home inspector gives you an estimate on the age of the roof.

Electrical Outlets

Electrical outlets all under the electrical upgrade category but it’s important to pay close attention to the electrical outlets in a home. We still see the old-fashioned 2 prong outlets in houses in the Greater Washington DC area. These older outlets do not have the ground wires to protect people and electrical devices in case of a fault. Today’s modern houses should have the 3 prong outlets for safety and function purposes. In kitchen, bathrooms and exterior locations, look for GFCI outlets. These outlets protect against electrical shock. They have a test and reset button. GFCI’s are now code in all new construction. If you’re like me and you don’t know how to change outlets, hire an electrician.

Water Heater & HVAC

Most water heaters have an 8- to 12-year lifespan. If the heater is a high-quality water heater, it may last longer. Take a picture of the HVAC label and Google it to determine the age. If the unit has been well maintained, there will be a label from an HVAC company with service dates. Again, this can be done when you are touring a home. If you decide to purchase a house and schedule a home inspection, the inspector will confirm the age and condition of the HVAC unit and water heater.

Plumbing

Plumbing problems can be very expensive. When you are touring a house that you like, turn on the faucets to check pressure. Look under sinks for signs of water issues. Look up at the ceiling to see if there are any stains. You can’t always see a plumbing problem but it’s a good idea to ask the seller if they have a record of plumbing maintenance.

Foundation

Check the basement walls for large cracks or bulges. Look at the house exterior for signs of moisture or cracks. Examine the landscaping to see how well the yard is graded. Water should be moving away from the house, not toward the foundation. Again, this advice is for homebuyers as they tour a property of interest. Once you have a ratified contract and hire a home inspector, he/she should be able to offer excellent advice on the condition of a home.

Be sure to choose an Exclusive Buyer Agent to help you find the perfect home. Find an agent here.

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Victoria Ray Henderson is a NAEBA member, a licensed Realtor & Exclusive Buyer Broker in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington DC with The Buyer Brokerage and HomesBuyHendersons. Victoria is also the host and producer of our Listen Up Home Buyers podcast.
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