In the excitement of finding the perfect house, it is easy to overlook potential issues. Here are some items to consider when purchasing a home:
Structure – Does the house have good “bones”? Does the foundation appear to be in good shape? Although the paint and décor look nice, what is underneath might not be in the best condition.
Layout – Make sure you are looking at homes that fit your desired number of rooms and bathrooms. Also, make sure those rooms are large enough. As you walk through the house, determine if it is easy and comfortable to walk through. Look at the laundry room location and decide if it is close enough to the bedrooms so you can do your laundry easily. Also, look at the size of the driveway and/or garage, and the number and size of your vehicles.
Roof – If the roof of the house you are looking at appears to be damaged or in need of replacement, you could be setting yourself up for a large cost soon after purchasing your home. If the house is perfect except for the roof this doesn’t mean you should turn and run, but keep in mind that you will have an added expense coming soon. Also, the material of a roof can affect the cost of your insurance.
Heating/Cooling – What is the condition of the furnace and air conditioning unit? Does the house appear to be well insulated? Location of the home, nearby trees, and the number of windows can also factor into the temperature, which in turn affects utility costs.
Plumbing – As you walk around the home, turn on each faucet and make sure the water is running properly. Also flush the toilet to make sure it works. Do your research on the home and look into how old the pipes are and what the pipes are made of.
Scent – When you first walk into the home is there a certain smell that stands out to you? It is likely that there are air fresheners coming into play, but tries to ignore that. Walk around and see if you smell anything that could be gas, sewage, pet odors, cigarettes, or mildew.
Land – Is the land in an area that is prone to flooding or fires? Not only does this increase the likelihood of future repairs, but it also increases your insurance costs.
Location/Neighborhood – Is the house near your workplace? Are there any parks nearby? How close are the neighbors to the house? Research schools in the area, crime rates, property taxes, and utility availability/cost. Also, drive around and look at the houses/people/businesses nearby.
Cell Signal – Can you make a phone call in the house? Do text messages go through okay? Can you access the internet on your cell phone?
Possibility of Future Wants/Needs – If you know you might want a deck in the backyard in the near future, make sure you are looking at homes that allow for a deck to be built. If you know you will want a detached garage built, make sure you have enough land to build the garage. Consider all potential future desires and make sure the house you are looking at is adaptable.
Always make sure to get a home inspection before purchasing a house to ensure that you did not miss any critical factors. You are not only purchasing a house, you are finding a home.
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