Looking for a new house can be daunting; having a checklist of things to look for can make the process less stressful. If you plan to buy an older home, remember that older homes require more maintenance and repairs. Newer homes offer the advantage of using more modern architecture and systems, making them easier to maintain. To keep track of all the homes you see, take photos of the inside and outside of the house, and then keep the photos with your notes so you can compare the houses later.
Make sure the houses you consider offer enough space to fit your current lifestyle, including room for your furniture. Take a close look at the bedrooms and baths to confirm that they fit your needs. Information on the square footage of each room is often provided, but you should bring a tape measure to calculate the amount of storage space available and make sure it will hold your belongings. Take a look at the kitchen cabinets to see if they offer enough space to store your cookware, plates and pantry items. Also take a close look at the cabinetry itself to confirm that the design and setup will fit your needs.
Utilities and Appliances
Ask your agent to show you the last 12 months of utility bills, including gas, electric, water, sewer and trash. Make sure you can afford the cost of the utilities based on the amounts of the past bills. Find out if the house offers central heating or air conditioning, then make sure they function properly. Turn on other mechanical systems to confirm that each one works. Check out each appliance that comes with the house to make sure it works. Test all of the water taps in the house, including the kitchen, laundry and bathrooms. Check out the water pressure and make sure the water drains adequately. Take a look at the hot water heater to make sure its size will meet your family’s needs. Make sure the water heater is in good shape, with no rust or leaks. If repairs are needed on any of the utilities or appliances, you may be able to ask the seller to replace or repair the items.
Look for large cracks in the walls, which may indicate major problems in the walls or structure of the house. If the interior of the house has been painted recently, ask your agent to check if there were any problems with water leaks from the roof, walls or ceilings. Check for wood rot by opening and sliding the windows. If they show signs of cracking paint, the frames may be rotting. If you prefer wooden floors instead of existing carpet, make sure the floorboards underneath the carpet are in good condition.
Ask the agent about the neighborhood, then take a slow drive around the area to get a feel for the quality of life. Take a look at commuting time and costs associated with the home you’re considering. If you have children, contact the city or county school board for information about local schools.
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