What to Look for When Buying a House

If you are in the market for a house, you have a lot to think about. Not only do you have to worry about the home’s price, but you also have to worry about its features. While you probably know certain features that are a ‘must have,’ there are some features that you may overlook.

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When you visit a home, remember the seller’s goal is to sell you the home. Of course, they are going to do everything they can to make the home seen inviting and ‘perfect.’ Before you fall for that, consider the following tips to make sure you truly know the condition of a home.

Don’t Focus on the Fresh Paint

It’s common for sellers to give their home a fresh coat of paint. It gives the home that fresh feeling that buyers want. But, don’t be deceived by that fresh coat of paint. In other words, don’t let it distract you from what’s lurking behind the fresh paint. Look closely at the appliances, the wiring, and the plumbing. Is there something the seller is trying to hide?

Don’t Focus on the Scents

Sellers are also good at making a home smell inviting. Who doesn’t love to walk into a home that smells like fresh baked cookies or pie? Again, this could be a tactic to distract you from an odor that lingers in the air. Sellers prey on the chance that you’ll feel welcomed and relaxed at the first sniff of the good baked goods.

Once you enjoy the smells, it’s time to get down and dirty. Figure out why the seller is wafting such smells through the home. Is it genuinely to make you feel at home or are they trying to hide something? Take slow, deep breaths in each room you walk into to see if you can pick up on the odor.

Open the Cabinets

Don’t just try faucets and light switches, get down and check out the plumbing and wiring. Open cabinets, check out the fuse box, and look at the plumbing. Looking in these areas will give you an idea of the condition of the home. For example, if the plumbing is rickety, chances are the rest of the utilities in the home could use some work. If there’s one leak, there could be more, but even one leak is too many as it could cause mold growth and potential health issues.

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Check out the Insulation

Insulation does a lot for a home. Not only does it keep it warm or cool, it helps keep your utility bills down. Insulation can even help keep the noise level in your home down. If you don’t want echoing throughout the house or you would prefer not to have to wear your parka in the house in the winter, take a close look at the insulation to make sure it’s sufficient.

Look for Cracks

You’ll want to pay close attention to the home’s foundation. Some cracks are normal, as they occur with normal wear and tear. Large cracks or gaps, however, could cause serious issues with the home. While your home inspector will take a close look at the foundation, if there are any cracks visible to the naked eye, it should be a red flag, keeping you away from it.

Don’t Fall for Staging

It’s important to take a close look at the home in ‘real terms.’ In other words, don’t focus on the beautiful furniture or properly staged fire in the fireplace and photos on the wall. Instead, take a realistic look around. What does the area look like? Is there enough room for the furniture you have? Is there enough living space for everyone in your family?

What is the Roof’s Age?

A roof is a big investment. If you are buying a home, you will want to know if the roof only has a year or two left on it. If this is the case, it could cost you as much as $20,000 for a new one. In a perfect world, you’ll buy a home with a newer roof that won’t need your attention for many years down the road.

What’s the Neighborhood Like?

Finally, you should check out the neighborhood. When you buy a home, you buy more than the house itself. You are buying into a community. It’s a good idea to drive around the neighborhood during different times of day and different days of the week. This way you can see what neighbors are partiers, which are quiet, and how well everyone maintains their home and their loan.

Buying a home is a big decision, but you should have help from a realtor and your attorney to get you through the process. Knowing what you want in a home and making sure it meets your standards is the first step in the process. Once you make the bid and the seller accepts it, you can pay an inspector to check the home out. But, knowing what you should look for ahead of time can save you time, money, and headaches.

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Justin McHood is a managing partner at Suited Connector and has been recognized by national media outlets as a financial expert for more than a decade.

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