When you buy a home, the process to get from searching to closing is a long one. It’s time to do some serious house hunting, starting an online property search, and visiting different homes. Most homebuyers will focus on such things as space, fixtures, and features. That’s completely understandable but falls a bit short of what’s most important. A home includes many things, some are major systems, like electrical wiring, plumbing, sewer, as well as others. When you tour a property, you can gather a lot more information than you might suppose. It’s choosing the right properties that comes first.
Choosing the Right Properties to Tour
One thing about the home buying process is that it is full of emotion. Even though it’s a very large investment and a big commitment, some home buyers get caught-up in the excitement, rationalizing away what otherwise would be large concerns. Put another way, you’ll be smart to choose the right home to tour so you are wasting your time, lulling yourself into making a poor decision or, worse of all, purchasing a huge amount of buyer’s remorse.
“For home buyers, the slowing real estate market offers good news: not only are prices dropping, but with the number of houses on the market rising, so you can take your time, and learn a great deal about the one you want to bid on. You don’t have to be a home repair expert to be sure you won’t have to unexpectedly pour thousands into a home you just purchased. Here are nine things to check – they are the big dollar items in a home – so you know exactly what you’re bidding on. The goal is to avoid unexpectedly shelling out thousands of dollars to make repairs soon after you move into your new home.” —Home Insight
The simplest way to do this is to refine your online home search to certain qualifiers. These include budget and price, acceptable neighborhoods, property type, square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, deciding your must-haves versus your wish list items, and lot size. One bit of advice is to start with your budget and identify desirable neighborhoods. Because, buying a home means buying into the surrounding neighborhood.
5 Things to Double Check when Seeing a Home
When you begin to pare down your choices to the homes you want to see in person, you should go into each one with a dedicated mission. You’re there not just to critique it, but also, to learn as much about the property as possible. While you don’t have to be a licensed contractor or home inspector, you should have a critical eye. Here are seven things to double check when seeing a home:
- Check the foundation and the structure. The foundation and structure are the single most important parts of a home. You should slowly walk around the exterior, looking at the foundation and the walls. If you see warping, cracking, or discoloring, you’ll want to have these inspected closely to learn as much as you can.
- Go inside and out at least twice. All too often, buyers go into a home, tour it, perhaps stepping out onto a patio or porch. That leaves too much untested, so, walk through the home, then go outside and walk through the yards. Repeat this process at least once so you can get a sense of how it feels, flows, and, to see if there are potential problems.
- Ask questions about the home and restate the answers. When you see a home, the owner or seller’s agent will likely be present. Take full advantage of this by asking plenty of questions, and, rephrase the answers you are given to ensure you understand each one.
- Go into the garage from the home and from outside. The garage is one of the spaces least checked during a home tour. Time is usually spent in the kitchen, master bedroom, and common areas, such as a the living room. To get a sense about the home, go into the garage from the home and then from the outside into the interior.
- Try each and every system in the home. Turn on every sink, flip every light switch, open the windows and doors, and look inside the closets.
Also, look at the roof carefully, around the whole house. When you’re walking around the exterior, take a look at the roof for loose shingles or tiles.