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Fox Around the House

Overlooked upgrades when buying a home

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 (iStock)

When buying a home, most people gravitate toward the flashy features, like a recently remodeled kitchen or hardwood floors. But if you’re in the market for a sweet deal, here are some overlooked features that you should be searching for.

Steel Security Door

The front door is the first thing you see when shopping for a new home, but most people give it little thought. Most exterior doors are hollow-core and made of wood. They offer adequate protection, but they aren’t nearly as safe as a steel security door. Not only are steel doors more secure, but they can also offer better insulation from the elements and dampen the sounds from a noisy street.

In-Ground Irrigation

Most potential buyers do a quick scan of the backyard without realizing that a incredible time-saver could be lurking beneath the surface of the soil. An in-ground irrigation system can make gardening and lawn care a snap. With a few sprinklers scattered across the lawn, or a self-watering vegetable garden, you can put your greenery on an automated schedule and reap the harvest of this backyard upgrade.

Tankless Water Heater

Water heaters have changed little over the years. An electric or gas burner heats up the water, which gets stored in a large tank. The problem, however, is that the tank has to constantly work to keep that water warm. That’s why many people are turning to tankless water heaters, an upgrade that can save you money. Rather than store the water in a tank, these heaters use powerful burners to heat up the water only when you need it. So when you’re doing the home inspection, make sure to check out  the hot water heater to see if your future home comes equipped with one of these high-tech — and money-saving — devices.

Insulated Garage

Those who live in a winter climate know the torment of sliding into a frigid car on an icy morning. If you’re on the prowl for a new home and hate the indignity of chilly car seats, check to see if your potential new home comes with an insulated garage. Of course, an insulated garage isn’t just about keeping the car warm in the winter. It also allows you to  use the garage as an all-seasons, multi-purpose space, like a workshop or a man-cave.

Cast Iron Pipes

Most people don’t think much about the pipes when they are buying a home. The pipes are hidden behind the walls, and as long as they keep the water flowing, why worry about them? In most homes today, PVC pipes have become the standard. But if you’re lucky, you can land a home with cast iron plumbing. Much sturdier than PVC, high-density cast iron is also a better sound insulator, which means that you’re not going to hear a loud whoosh of water when someone flushes a toilet or takes a shower.

Energy Efficient Windows

A home retrofitted with energy efficient upgrades can save you money in the long run, and few upgrades pay off better than new double- or triple-paned windows. When it comes to keeping a house warm, leaks and drafts are the number one culprit, which is why old single-pane windows with cracked seals do such a poor job. While new windows can save you money on your monthly utility bills, they can also be a pricey upgrade. However sellers rarely recoup the full cost of major upgrades, which means that a buyer can get a great deal on a feature they might not otherwise be able to afford.