Recently I was out with one of my clients, a wonderful couple with a newborn looking for their first home. Bright and cheery eyed we frequently got together and compared new potential homes for their new family. I took for granted knowing the basics of house hunting and things to look out for when viewing potential properties and wanted to write an article for first time home hunters to ease their anxiety when deciding whether or not to pull the trigger.
The Big Four
The basic four things you want to check when walking through properties is as follows:
Structural Integrity and Foundation
Check floors for a level surface and walls for alterations, as with the advent of “Home Reno” TV program and You Tube, home owners may have preformed a lot of “Do it yourself” renovations. Without knowing they may have compromised the structural load of the home by removing portions of supporting walls or tampered with the support beams. Check the basement foundation for cracks or shifting of the structure of the home, water is like a STD… trust me you don’t want it lurking in the lower regions of your sanctuary!
Systems and Furnace
Electrical and furnace are among the pricier items of the home. Knob and tube wiring is a bane to home inspectors and it often causes complications when getting insurance for the property. Replacing existing electrical is a hefty expense and should be accounted for when assessing costs. Also the remaining life of the furnace/air conditioner should also be assessed as a typical average system could range from $5,000 upwards if it needs replacement.
Roof and Windows
These two are a major expense in maintenance costs of any home and definitely should be accounted for when determining a property’s worth. Check for shingles that are curling which indicate need for a new roof and the windows for insulation value and whether or not they need updating. Heat loss can add to the amount of heating required to maintain comfortable living conditions in the house which equates to higher utility bills.
Often overlooked, the resale appeal of a property is very important when assessing for purchase. Its hard to imagine selling the home before you even move in! Any realtor that’s worth his weight knows whether a property’s location is going to pose any issues in regards to stigma or undesirable location influences (such as a sewer treatment plant next door!) that will affect appreciation and resale value. You may decide your new home is where you will stay forever and a day but life throws curve balls and its always good to have a plan B just in case.
You will notice that I didn’t mention the aesthetics of the home, this is because preferential tastes are based upon the individual. The feel of the home is definitely important as you want to be comfortable in what you are buying but the takeaway here is like any other big investment purchase you should lead with numbers. Knowing you are buying at a reasonable price point after assessing value with the above factors mentioned gives you peace of mind when putting in an offer.
At Infinity 8 we are always available to help with all your real estate needs and investing options. We appreciate your time to read our articles and hope to connect with you soon!