What You Should Look for When Buying a Home
Are you looking for a new place to call home? Whether you’re a first time home owner, or looking for a new one, knowing what to look for when browsing potential homes can save you a ton of time and money. There are a number of issues that can surface when browsing a home, you may find the foundation is in a bad state, the kitchen is outdated, or the roof needs repairing. Before you sign your name on any contract, it’s important you find any issues, and address them. Turning a blind eye to an issue that may cost you money later on is a mistake you won’t want to make. Take a look at our home inspection checklist to help you spot issues in your potential home.
Find a Quality Real Estate Agent
Finding a quality real estate agent is one of the first steps to take when buying a new home. Check out real estate forums such as Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com to find an agent in your area. Consider hiring an exclusive buyers agent, a real estate agent who specializes in working with home buyers, rather than sellers. Wherever you find your agent from make sure they are reputable.
Look at Local School District Scores
If you have a family, or are planning to start one, it’s good to know the quality scores of the schools in the area you’re looking to buy in. There are a number of websites that track school performance, providing a relatively accurate picture of their overall quality.
Home Inspection Checklist
While touring a potential home, make notes of specific areas in the house you want an inspector to examine more closely. Use the checklist below as a guide while you take a look around the house.
- Are there shingles missing?
- Is there flashing and trim installed?
- Are there any signs of leaks?
- When will the roof need to be replaced?
- Are there visible cracks on the outside walls?
- Are there any trees near the foundation?
- Does the drainage slope away from the house?
- Are there any soggy areas you can identify?
- Are the walkways and driveway in good condition?
Appliances: (If included)
- Do the appliances appear to be well-maintained/Are they new?
- Are there any leaks under the sinks (bathrooms and kitchen)
- What are the ages of the:
- Refrigerator? ___
- Dishwasher? ___
- Oven? ___
- Has there ever been a fire in the home?
- Do the walls show vertical or horizontal cracks?
- Are there any stains on the floors, walls or ceilings?
Ventilation and Sub-Systems:
- Does the house smell? Can you identify the source?
- Do the heating and AC systems appear to be working?
- Does the water heater produce enough hot water?
- Is there a working exhaust fan in the kitchen?
- Do all the switches work?
- Is each outlet properly grounded?
- Do the ceiling fans work?
- Has the electrical panel been recalled?
- Are there any unusual noises?
- Do the faucets and other fixtures have enough pressure?
Check all of the following elements for signs of damage or wear:
After the Tour
Hire a Home Inspector
After touring a few homes, you may find one that you want to make an offer on. But before you make an offer, hire a home inspector to thoroughly go over the home. Your real estate agent should be able to recommend one to you, if not check sources like Angie’s list, and others to find one yourself. Remember your home inspector should have at least three to five years of full time experience, has proof of licensing, and insurance.
Read the Inspection Report
A home inspection shouldn’t take more than three to four hours, afterwards you will get a full report to read over. If there are any potential issues they will be noted on the report, usually included with pictures. Keep in mind any home will have issues somewhere, the key is to identify the more costly issues before signing. If you find some problems but are still willing to buy the property, you may use the information to renegotiate the sellers asking price.
The most common problems found on a home inspection checklist include:
- Faulty Wiring: Wires without wire nuts, open junction boxes.
- Faulty Plumbing: Low water pressure, water stains on ceilings.
- Poor Drainage: Soggy areas in the yard, leaks in basement.
- Bad Gutters: Clogged gutters, basement dampness.
- Foundation Flaws: Small cracks, sticking doors and windows.
- Poor Maintenance: Chipped paint, worn shingles, cracked driveway.
With a good contractor, all of these issues are an easy fix and shouldn’t be a deal breaker. However, if any of the problems below are flagged in the report, you may want to reconsider signing anything:
- The Roof Needs Replacing: The average cost of a roof replacement is $7,000.
- The House Is in a Flood Zone: Use FEMA’s flood maps to determine if the home is at risk.
- Major Foundation Issues: Hire a structural engineer to determine if those cracks are actually serious.
- Aluminum Wiring: This type of wiring almost always needs to be replaced, a process that can cost thousands of dollars.
These are just some of the more expensive issues needing repair you may run into while house hunting. If you find any of the above issues in your home inspection report, make sure you consult with your real estate agent to see if the seller can either be convinced to pay for the repairs or is willing to drop their asking price. For issues outside the home such as flood zones, be prepared to pay for additional insurance.
At the end of the day, don’t let any potential pitfalls deter you from closing on the home of your dreams. Many issues are fixable if not easily fixed, if you have the money and are willing to spend money and time on repairs, you won’t have an issue making any home the home of your dreams. Remember, keep this checklist close when looking for homes. By following the checklist, and the home inspection report you should be able to make a fully informed decision on your new home. Remember, if you have to do any renovation, clean out, or general junk removal, call us at Dumpster Rental Inc for an affordable roll off dumpster! Call today for a free quote and get your next dumpster rental on schedule!