Many factors make a home perfect! But also, many things make that same home not as perfect. You could take a little peek at the exterior of a house and think, “Wow! This is wonderful!” Or is it? Take some time to go up and pay close attention to the siding. Are there parts that are dilapidated or beginning to rot? Are the doors and windows secure? Maybe there are cracks in the foundation that you didn’t see from the street. If so, then you can safely assume that there are going to be some major fixes you will be needing to make; that you originally weren’t intending on. Be sure to bring a pen and notebook with you when you go to view a potential home to keep notes if it needs some updates. Here is a straight forward guide of what to check for when visiting each listing!
Checklist from room to room
- Siding- What condition is the siding in? Ask when it was put on and what material it is made out of! Is it needing to be replaced by chance?
- Deck/Porch/Patio- Does the wood look good? Is there any rotting? Maybe there are cracks in the concrete that will need immediate fixing or some cosmetic repairs.
- Garage- Will there be enough room for your car, as well as your wife’s? Maybe you need more storage for your tools and other equipment! Also, check if the automatic door is working properly.
- Windows/Doors- Make sure the doors and windows are secure! Do they let in any drafts? Or perhaps they may be old and need replacing.
- Roof- How old is the roof? What kind of condition is it in? Has it had any leaks or severe damage since it’s been replaced?
- Fencing- Is it built well? Does it need any fixing? If you have a small dog, will they be able to get through the fence?
- Electrical- Doing a formal home inspection will find any issues that may be wrong with the home’s systems, but you might as well make sure the basics are functioning for now! Are the lights working properly? Are there any issues with the outlets that you can tell?
- HVAC- Listen for any strange sounds that the HVAC system may be making, such as clanging or hissing noise. Also, look for any damages such as water stains, cracks, dents, or rust on the actual system.
- Security- What type of home security is already installed? How new is the system and what all does it cover?
- Plumbing- Test the water pressure in the bathrooms to ensure it is working in prime condition. Ask about what age the water heater is, so you can further inquire more information if it is older. Check the water and drain lines on the property; this will reveal a lot about the plumbing. You will rarely find signs of corrosion down the drains, but it’s best to be safe! Next, check the visible water lines to make sure that there are no leaks or discoloration. You can also check the drainage while you’re at it by simply turning on the faucets to see if the drainage speed is good.
- Walls/Trim/Ceilings- Look for any signs of water damage on the ceilings or near the windows. Also, check for things such as evidence of a recent repair, signs of cover-ups, and cracks.
- Storage- Is there an adequate amount of storage for your things? Don’t feel like you’re being too nosey! You will want to know what you have in terms of space at the end of the viewing.
- Living Room- What is the room shape and size? Will your current furniture fit in the space provided? Bring a tape measurer with you as well to make sure you have plenty of space for your things!
- Dining Room- Is there a dining space, or just a kitchen eating area? Is a dining room one of your wishes for what you want in your home? Is there an area to fit your table and chairs?
- Master Bedroom- Again, check for space! How big of a closet does the room have? Open every door and access every single space to see how well the home will fit your things! Measure every room in the house to be sure of your bed, dresser, etc… Will fit. Be mindful of where the rooms are located if you have a preference.
- Bathrooms- Do they need any major updating? Do they have a bathtub or just a shower? What are the countertops like? Do they have enough storage in them too?
- Spare Bedrooms- Will you have enough space for your children or guests if you need it? Do you like or dislike that they have Jack and Jill bathrooms? Always keep those kinds of questions in mind when deciding on a home.
- Kitchen- What are the ages and conditions of the kitchen appliances? What about the cabinets? Do you love or hate the wood? Is there a pantry and enough space in the cabinets? How do you like the countertops? By taking note of what you like about certain features, will allow you to come to an easier decision in the end. So look at the backsplashes, light fixtures, layout, and flooring to see what you do and don’t like!
- Floors- One of the most common updates that need to be done in homes; is the floors! From fixing damaged flooring or replacing the old, nasty carpet. Just watch where you’re walking, in order to not miss key points of interest.
- Space/Foundation- Cracks in the foundation, stains on the ceiling or walls, signs of mold, and the height of the ceilings are some important issues to not overlook. These could not only be harmful to your health but come at a big cost to fix!
- Surrounding area- What is the crime rate like? Do the neighbors seem friendly? How close are you to a police station, fire department, or hospital? Do you have a longer commute to work? What is the house value relative to the rest of the area? Also, what is the school district like and how close are you to the schools? The community features will end up having a lot to do with your final decision on what house you go with. So be sure to ask your realtor these questions and do as much research as possible before settling on a place!
It’s important to remember that a lot of these issues will be found when doing your inspection! So don’t stress trying to tear a home apart when you do your initial viewing. There is no such thing as a “perfect” house. There is such a thing as a bad investment though! So do your due diligence in the areas where you can, to avoid the unnecessary hassles. Home buying is both stressful and expensive, but this checklist will help the process be less expensive in various areas. Happy hunting!