Whether it is your first or fifth purchase, buying a new home is an exciting time in anyone’s life. It is a time filled with new beginnings and fresh starts.
In the excitement of finding your dream home, it can be easy to overlook some important factors that can affect your bank account down the road. Most potential home buyers aren’t qualified home inspectors, but what are some basic items you can look for during a routine showing?
Examine the Mechanicals
Furnaces, air conditioning units, and hot water heaters are the backbone of any home. They keep you warm in winter, cool in the summer, and clean all year round. They are also big-ticket items when it comes time for replacements and upgrades. A real estate agent can help locate these in the home during a normal showing.
Look for evidence that the mechanicals are in good repair, working properly, and have been serviced regularly which helps extend their valuable lifespan. Some models will also show dates that indicate when they were installed. The average lifespan of most of these major mechanicals is typically around 13 and 15 years.
Look Carefully at the Foundation
During a home inspection, an experienced professional will examine every possible portion of the home’s foundation. Potential homebuyers should take a cursory look around during the viewing as well. Not every crack is a major cause for worry, but cracks that are large, deep, or show signs of a shifting foundation can be a cause for concern.
Dodge the Cold Drafts
No matter what kind of design your dream home may have, make sure you consider what it will feel like in every season. Older homes often have poor insulation and can be difficult and expensive to heat in some cases.
Examine the insulation as well as the condition of the windows. A lot of a home’s heating and cooling is lost through drafty windows and poorly insulated attics/roofs. Newer windows and recent insulation will go a long way toward reducing future utility bills.
Take a Deep Breath
Before you leave a showing, take a deep breath. Literally.
Many sellers want to make the home seem inviting by burning a scented candle, brewing coffee, or baking cookies. As inviting as these smells can be, they can also cover up some unwelcome but important scents. Take a few deep breaths around every room. Look for unpleasant smells that could indicate water, mold, or sewage problems.
Consider the Location
While you can renovate almost any aspect of an existing home, you cannot renovate the neighbourhood. Spend some time examining the environment. Does it fit your lifestyle? Does the property itself seem in good condition? Does it look like it is prone to flooding? Does the local school system live up to your needs and expectations? Every home buyer’s needs are unique and not every community will be a perfect match.
Even with a lengthy showing, repeat visits, and a thorough investigation as a potential home buyer, always invest in a home inspection. An experienced home inspector will examine every accessible part of a home and can uncover a multitude of problems, sometimes serious, mostly not. The inspector’s report can be used by a real estate agent as leverage in the negotiation process to get the most serious issues fixed before the deal closes.
Paying attention to these important aspects of your potential dream home will pay off well in the long run.