So you researched online and found a few potential properties that could be your dream home, but you need to remember that what you see on paper may not always be what you actually get. Here are 7 things you should do when taking a tour of a property so your life savings don’t get wasted on heartache.
Turn on the water
This is one of our most basic of necessities, so running into problems with the water system can be a big inconvenience. Turn on the water and flush some toilets to get an idea of how strong the water pressure is and whether there is good drainage. You wouldn’t want to end up with a clogged toilet or an overflowing sink. Some regions may have old piping infrastructures so turning on the water also allows you to check for dirty water. Last but not least, check the temperature of the water. Fighting each other to see who gets the hot shower is not the ideal way to start the day. Check that the hot water system is working and that the boiler is up to date on maintenance.
Feel the walls
People always say to look beneath the surface to see what a person is really like, and the same applies to properties. I know you think the paint work on the walls is amazing, but it may be hiding something underneath. So the first thing you should do is run your hand down the walls. If you feel any bumps, your walls may be damp. This is a common indicator for mold or even worse, a rotting foundation. In order to fix the problem, you will need to install new walls and a new ventilation system, which can both add up to a hefty price. As you run your hands along the walls, look for cracks as well because cracks can be a sign of subsidence (the gradual caving in or sinking of an area of land.). If your property really is shifting, your doors and windows will not close properly. So unless you want to watch your property slowly get swallowed up into the ground like quicksand, you may want to look for a property with a sturdier foundation.
Check for signs of insects
Nobody likes to share their home with insects but you only notice their presence once you actually start living in the property. To avoid the unbearable itchiness in the summer, make sure that your windows and doors have mosquito screens. Check for any holes in the flooring and cracked sealants around the window frames that might allow insects to enter freely. Most importantly, check for signs of termite infestation. If you see minuscule holes in the walls or see a pile of what looks like saw dust along the base of the walls, your property may be in the process of being torn down by termites. Extermination of any pests can be a costly endeavor, so it’s best to avoid having them from the start.
Measure the space
Some show rooms or open houses may have furniture displayed in order to help home buyers visualize themselves in the home. Be careful though because there might be a kid’s bed made to look like a full sized bed so as to make a room look bigger than it actually is. The furniture and appliances on display may fit perfectly into every nook and cranny of the room, but what about your own furniture and appliances? Come prepared with the measurements if you already own some household items. If not, know the average size of some household items and imagine placing them in the room. Some properties have awkwardly-shaped rooms that may not match your vision for the room.
Another important factor is whether the home matches your personal lifestyle. If you like to cook, you may want a big kitchen with ample countertop space. If you own infinite amount of clothes and shoes like I do, you may want a big closet space. If you have a growing family, you may want some extra bathrooms to avoid the early morning fights among your kids. If you like working from home, you would need the space to build a home office. If you plan on or already have young children or elderly seniors living with you, you may not want a home with steep and narrow staircases. And you wouldn’t want your tall husband to hit his head on the low ceiling every time he wants to visit the basement. Understanding the amount of space (both vertically and horizontally) on the property will make things easier for you in the long run so as to avoid expensive renovations and remodeling.
Simulate your usual routine
You might think that having the master bedroom away from the other bedrooms will allow you to have a quiet night away from the kids, but if they are still young, you will have to go back and forth between your room and theirs. You might think that carrying the laundry basket will be good exercise for you, but you might end up dragging a heavy basket up and down the stairs. The location of rooms is one of the most important factors to lead a happy, comfortable life in your new home so move from room to room, indoor to outdoor to get a sense of the layout. Your usual routine should not consist of running up and down the stairs or rushing from one end of the home to the other.
Make sure you can stay connected
Do you like to watch your favorite movies and TV shows on Netflix? How about talking to your high school BFF on the phone for three hours straight? We rely on wireless technology to stay connected with friends and family, so make sure that you have good cell phone signals and accessibility to internet. Also check that you have enough outlets to charge all your devices and appliances.
Now that you know what to look for in a home, are you ready to visit some properties? Check out NuProp for a huge list of newly launched properties and take this checklist with you to make sure that it’s right for you. And follow our Facebook page to read more helpful articles and guides on home buying.
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