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5 Things To Watch For When You Check Out A House

Everyone wonders what they should be looking for when they go see a house prior to putting an offer. When we first started looking for a house we just looked at the floor plan to ensure it met our needs and that we liked it. We also looked at the house cosmetically to ensure the house looks clean, is painted well and looks upgraded. We did not know better on what else we should be looking for. But, as the saying goes don’t judge a book by its cover. There is more to watch for when you look at a house.  I’ve have listed a few things you should consider when you go look at a house. When you order an inspection the inspector would be checking all the items listed below, but it’s good for you to watch for it as well prior to putting an offer so you can make an informed decision prior to putting the offer

1. Appliances

Pay attention to all the appliances: stove, microwave, refrigerator, dishwasher, washer and dryer to determine if they are relatively new. If they are very old they might be at the end of their usable life and you might have to replace them once you move into the house. Replacing all the appliances might run into thousands of dollars. So, if the appliances are old you should take that into account when you decide the offer price for the property. In some instances people might consider requesting a homeowner’s warranty which covers all the appliances for a year.

2. Furnace, Air conditioner and water heater

Find out the age of the furnace, air conditioner and the water heater. These are typically the most expensive equipment in a house. The typical use life of furnace and air conditioners is about 15- 20 years and the use life of water heaters is about 8 – 12 years. You can find the age of the furnace from the mfg. dates on the labels place on these equipment. If you cannot find the stickers you can always ask the relator to find out the age of this equipment from the homeowner. This is one of the key things you should consider while deciding your offer price. The cost of replacing this equipment can run into several thousand dollars.

3. Windows & Patio Doors

Look at the windows and patio doors. Make sure you don’t notice any condensation between the glass panes of the windows or patio doors. If you notice any condensation that could mean that the windows are pretty old and the seals are broken. If the seals are broken that means the window is no longer doing a good job of insulating the house from the outside temperature.

4. Sidings & roof 

Look at the sidings to see if there is any weather damage. See if the sidings look uneven and looks bulged in places. This could mean that the siding might need a replacement.  Typically it’s hard to look at the roof, but if it’s a multi-story home and if you might be typically be able to see parts of the roof from the higher floors depending on the layout of the house.  Peeled, curled or broken shingles could mean that the roof it at its end of life and might need to be replaced. The typical use life of a roof is about 15-20 years. Replacing both the sidings and roof is very expensive and needs to be considered before you put an offer. Roof and sidings are more of a concern if you are buying an independent home versus a townhome or a condo. With an independent home you are responsible for replacing the roof and the sidings and will have to shell out money from your pocket. If you are buying a condo or a townhome its less of a concern, but you would still need to pay attention to them because you might be charged special assessments if the association has to replace the roofs and the sidings and does not have sufficient reserves to do so.

5. Surroundings

Always pay attention to the surroundings. See what the house backs into. It might be loud if the house backs into a busy road or a freeway. It typically is harder to sell a house if it backs into a freeway or a busy road because of the noise factor. Also, just drive around the neighborhood to see what’s around the house. This is your home where you will be living with your family, so you got to be sure that the neighborhood is right for you. When you buy a house it’s not just the house that needs to be right for you, it’s also the surroundings and the neighborhood that’s got to be the right fit for you.

Once you put an offer into a house, everything listed above except for the surroundings will be checked during the home inspection. But, it’s a good practice to keep these items in mind when you go check out a house because if more than one thing listed above is not favorable to you, you might want to consider staying away from the house or at least factoring this into your offer price. It costs money and time for a home inspection. So, it’s better to look at these items earlier and weed the house out instead of going through the process of putting an offer and spending money on home inspection just to find out that several things are wrong with the house and that it could cost a lot of money to fix them.

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