Sometimes looking at properties can be a daunting task! And sometimes, people just aren't quite sure what to look for. In a market like todays, that can make it even harder! Especially where the chances of going back for a second showing are slim. You need to make sure you notice all the important things in one shot. So what exactly should you look for? That's what we can help you with, from the end of the driveway to the corner of the basement.
Location, location, location! You'll hear it a million times. Having an idea of where you want to live is incredibly important for a multitude of reasons. Do you plan to have a family and want them to be in a good school system? Do you work for a company in the city and need an easy commute? These are all important things to consider that will help narrow down what area you'd like to live in. Once you get to the property, you also want to pay attention to it's exact location. Is it right next to a major highway? Do the neighbors have screaming kids or barking dogs? Consider everything! You can change the color of your house, but you can't change your neighbors.
When it comes to the home itself, the layout is important to think about. Unless you're planning on a complete home renovation, changing the shapes and sizes of the rooms can be a difficult task. Other than that, you want to try not to focus on any cosmetic-related items too much, such as paint color. If you walk into a room that's covered in Pepto-Bismol pink and you hate it, it can certainly be hard to ignore but is it going to turn you away from the home if everything else is near-perfect?
We always encourage our buyers to go to their inspections. At this point, you've already submitted an offer on a property and that offer was accepted. The inspectors will take a thorough look at the property and they will share a lot of useful information that could benefit you as the new homeowner. Of course this all comes back to you in the form of a report, but it's nice to walk around with them and have them point each thing out to you.
On occasion, it has proven to be extremely helpful if buyers know a little bit more about the major home systems before they submit an offer on a property. Right when you pull into the driveway at a showing, take a look at the roof. Are there shingles that are curling up or even missing altogether? Or is it a metal roof that the seller says he just had put on a couple years prior? This is a big-ticket item, and it will help to have an idea if that's money you'll need to cough up right away or if it's something you can save up for down the road!
Once you get inside, make sure you look at the walls and the ceilings for any water spots. Depending on what you find, it can give you an idea if there's been any sort of pipe damage or leaking inside the walls. The basement is also a great spot to look at the pricier, essential items in a house. When I first became a Realtor, my dad taught me something at my first showing and it has stuck with me ever since. He told me to go down in the basement and if they have anything stored down there, take a closer look at it's placement. Did they put their belongings directly on the floor, or was it up on a shelf or even on risers of some sorts? This will give you an idea if they've experienced any water or moisture on their basement floor.
Another thing you can look for is any information on their most recent service call for the heating system. A furnace and a boiler should be cleaned on an annual basis, and it's always comforting to know if a seller just recently had it done. Most heating service companies will leave a tag behind near the system to indicate when they were last there. Sometimes you'll go into a property and see that it's been a few years, and that means it will need to get done ASAP. Also, furnaces and boilers are expected to last around 20 years. If the date on the heating system is 25 years old, expect that to be a cost in the very near future.
There are numerous things that you can keep your eyes open for, but it's tough to do it all in 30 minutes. We hope that this article can help someone when they're going on their next showing, and don't worry about remembering everything! As Realtors, my dad and I keep are eyes peeled for these types of things so we're here to help you through the process the best we can.
I've also created a video to help explain these components and you can find it on our Facebook page by clicking here!