Looking for your dream house can be so much fun, especially once your loan has been pre-approved and you know what you’re shopping for in a home. You’ve got your list of must-haves, and you’ve got a list of deal-breakers, so it’s time to put on your walking shoes and tour available properties. But don’t get caught up in the glitz and glitter of your dreams. There may be headaches, dangers, and buyer’s remorse lurking in the corners. Here are some things to look for before saying yes to the house that might not be what it seems.
When you purchase a home, you’re also buying the neighborhood it’s in, so before you assess the curb appeal of the house and get swooped up in its staged charm, take a good look at your surroundings. Are the streets busy and noisy? Are there businesses, bars, or other turn-offs in the neighborhood? Check out neighbors’ yards for clutter or disarray, and listen carefully for screaming children or barking dogs. Barking dogs and bawling babies could be disruptive to your lifestyle. Notice how people are driving on the roads – are they obeying speed limits or zipping through without a care? Safety could be an issue.
It’s okay to ooh and ah at the adorable stance of the house as it sits prettied up on the lot, but before you get carried away, investigate the outside of the home. Are there tree roots threatening to uproot the house from its foundation? Is it prone to floods? How is the siding? Are the outdoor faucets and outlets in good condition? And, although it may be difficult to climb on top, you’ll want to inquire about the state of the roof. Replacing a rooftop can be expensive, time-consuming, and a hassle. You may require the assistance of a professional to inspect the quality of the roof. Otherwise, you may experience rain on your parade after you’ve moved in.
When you’re inside the home, check for structural integrity. Are floors sagging? Are wires exposed? Are there water spots on the ceiling or cracks in the drywall? All of these things may seem small or inconsequential, but once you’ve taken ownership of the home, those little problems become expensive fixes. You have a right to inspect things carefully, so don’t be embarrassed to ask questions to clarify the quality of things that pique your curiosity.
If the house you’re considering is an older home, check the heating and cooling units, hot water heaters, and other systems that could put a fast freeze on the fun of home ownership. Older systems are not only more likely to need replacing shortly, but they can also generate ghastly power bills. You may find it helpful to inquire of the current owner the amount of recent power and water bills, so you’re not shocked when your first bill arrives.
Wiring is crucial in the function of a home, new or old, so check into the electrical system. Inspect the breaker box to see if things are labeled and in good, clean, working order.
Plumbing is another factor that could make a dent in your funds if it’s not in good condition when you purchase the home. Turn ever faucet, flush every toilet, and check under ever cabinet housing running water. Look for damp materials, dripping water, rust, mildew, and mold.
Check the windows. Not only are you looking at light sources to determine how bright or dark your home may be, but you also want to look for cracked paint, broken glass, windows that don’t open, or poor insulation.
By the time you’re walking through a home for sale, it has likely been prepped, primed, and staged for appeal. Don’t let the fresh paint and new carpets fool you. Consider the layout of the house. Is there enough room for storage? Does the floor-plan meet your preferences? Does the house allow room for your household to grow?
Taking the time to ask yourself these important questions can save you time and heartache in the future. We would be happy to answer any questions you have about to home buying process. Give us a call today at 646-639-4155.