Shopping around for a new place to live can be simultaneously overwhelming and exciting. You might fall in love with (or hate) a number of features. Don’t allow your emotions to influence your decisions – purchasing property may be the biggest investment you’ll ever make.
Use this checklist when looking for potential properties on the market.
WHAT TO KEEP YOUR EYE OUT FOR WHEN LOOKING FOR A NEW HOME
To begin with, there are certain things a home must-have. These things are different for everyone – only you know what you need in your new home. What would be a dealbreaker if a home doesn’t have it? These should be the biggest aspects of your house hunting checklist.
For instance, if you raise two children, then you’ll probably want a three-bedroom house (to accommodate both your kids, and a room for mom and dad). This will probably be the highest priority on the list. If double ovens are something you’ve always wanted, or a wine cellar is necessary to store your bottles in, write it down as a priority above other features.
Think about all the best things about your home. It should be a place where you are happy and comfortable. You’ll probably be there for a couple of years, at the very least – otherwise, you’d be renting instead of buying.
After you have figured out what you want/need in a property, you need to check off some boxes on this house hunting checklist:
• How intact is the home’s flooring? The aesthetics aren’t something you have to like, but the condition of it is important. If you lack the budget to replace the flooring, ensure that its conditions are livable.
• How intact are the walls and ceilings? Holes, drywall cracks, and water stains are aspects you should not neglect. If renovations are in your immediate plans, then the walls and ceilings should be intact and expected to remain as such for a while.
• What kind of condition on the stairs in, and how safe are they? Do they contain handrails? How sturdy are the stairs? Do they make cracking and creaking noises with each step you take?
• What kind of conditions are the systems in? Is everything operating as they should be? Test the systems out, but be mindful that any technical aspects should be delegated to an inspector. Evaluate the basics – are the faucets running? Is the air conditioning and heating easy to turn on and off? How does the electricity flow? If fire hazards or frayed wires are apparent, red flags should be going off in your head.
• What kind of condition are the doors in? Are they easy to close and open? How secure are the locks?
• What kind of condition are the windows in? Are any leaking signs apparent? Are they easy to lock securely? Are there any cracks in the glass? This could impact the safety, energy efficiency, and temperature of the property.
• Is the amount of room sufficient? What about other types of rooms – is a dining room or living room mandatory for you? What about a great room?
• How many appliances are in the home? Are they staying or going? Are they new or old?
• If the home has window treatments, will they be staying? Sometimes, homeowners develop an emotional connection to window treatments, opting to bring them to their new home. Ensure you understand what is staying and going.
We will now evaluate a home’s exterior:
• What is the condition of the roof? This is something an inspector will be evaluating with a close eye. It’s hard to tell what kind of shape a roof is in at first sight.
• What is the condition of the foundation? Are large cracks apparent? Does the foundation show signs of pest infestation?
• What is the condition of the siding? Is it in need of a paint job, or has it been recently painted? Is the paint flaking off? Is it a fresh coat?
• What is the condition of the driveway and the garage? Will the garage be able to accommodate what you need to fit into it? What is the condition of the concrete floor and walls? What is the shape of the driveway? Are there cracks in the driveway? Does it seem like it’s been maintained well?
Don’t forget, when you purchase a house, you get the whole neighborhood with it. Try to gauge what your neighbors are like, take a look at their homes, and the overall environment. Is this a loud street? Be sure to drive around at various times and days during the week to find out.
Does this area have everything you need? Are train stations or transit stops nearby? What about freeways? Shopping malls? Grocery stores? Schools? Churches? Are other places that you depend on regularly close by?
Check to see what the internet and cell phone coverage is like in this area. Is it easy to get reception here? Are the Wi-Fi signals blocked by anything? This could deter your plans, if so.
Is there an association in the neighborhood? What fees do they charge, if any? Does this association frequently charge special assessments?
How much taxes can you expect to pay here? Have increases been on the rise as of late in this area? Does the neighborhood end up fighting taxes a lot?
When browsing for a new house, there are several factors that you need to consider. The above checklist and your real estate agent’s recommendations can help you make the right decision. A licensed agent will help you become familiar with the neighborhood. Rely on experts to assist you with your decision, since it is one of the biggest investments you’ll make over the course of your life.