Top 5 things to look for when buying a house
From apartments to sprawling mansions everyone moves eventually. Finding a new home can be a daunting task, especially if you don’t know what to look for. Here are some things you should keep your eye on when you check out a possibility for your new home:
- Water Damage – The first thing I always look for when shopping for a new home is water damage. From floods, from rains or from leaky pipes water can cause all kinds of damage that is all but impossible to fix. That is why many homeowners will hide water damage under paint, carpet, or wallpaper. Look for signs of damage such as dark spots, soft spots, or recently painted patches.
- Cracks – Another big thing that homeowners try to hide is foundation damage or settling. Cracks can appear even in a relatively new home and show that there are bigger problems underneath. Look at the joints between walls, around doors and in corners. Keep an eye out for taped and painted areas- this is a common way to cover up cracks. You should also look outside the home for cracks in the siding or brick. Some cracking is normal, but any crack of size should be taken as a warning to check out the situation further.
- Smell – There is a reason realtors fill for sale homes with welcoming scents like baking cookies and odor spray. Ask to forgo these scents (cite allergies if you must) and get a sniff of the house for real. Smells can reveal things like water damage, mold growth, pet stains, and rotting wood. Take a sniff around the bathroom and make sure there is no sewage smell to indicate poor plumbing. Journey outside to sniff around septic tanks too. There should be no odor.
- Outside – Speaking of septic tanks, take a look outside the home. Is the yard going to flood? Is the house on a hill or in a valley? Does the foundation look secure? Are windows and doors tightly sealed? Is the roof at a good angle so that snow and leaves do not build up and cause rot or collapse? Is the roof solid and well maintained? If you spot missing shingles, darker looking spots, or rotting siding beware, those are expensive to fix and can lead to more water damage inside.
- Neighborhood –Don’t forget there is more to your home than just the house. The neighborhood you live in makes a big difference on whether you enjoy your home or not. Find out if there are rules governing how your home or yard must look, and visit the neighborhood at various times of the day. While it may be quiet at noon it could be party central in the night time.
These are just a few things you should look for when checking out a new home. Have fun on your house hunt and make sure you know what you are getting into before you buy!