When you are finally ready to look at homes, here are some of the things to look deeply into. If the homes does not meet some basic need like too few bedrooms, a pool you don’t want, a destroyed back yard or other cross-it-off-our-list consideration then you really don’t need to look into the aspects below. Move on to the next home.
If you find one that meets your basic needs then look at these items. Feel free to walk around the inside and outside of the whole house. Look up and look down.
- Stucco cracks, siding separations, does it look solid
- Bones, does the home feel solid, well sealed and comfortable
- Roof line changes, any odd roof lines, these can signal a poor or illegal addition
- Roof covering transitions, does the type of roofing change from one area to another
- Rooms that don’t make sense, does it look stuck on, or without a specific purpose
- Layouts that don’t make sense, four bedrooms with one bath at the end of the hall
- Old style layouts, long halls with bedroom after bedroom, or huge living room no family
- Room, big dining room that you never use, but a tiny family room
- Where does that refrigerator go and can I open the door
- Is the kitchen too crowded for two people to use at one time
- Try some of the doors and windows for ease of motion and proper closing
- Which way does water drain on the lot
- Any huge trees to trim away and are they historically protected
- Ceiling height make sense or are high ceilings just energy wasters
- Lighting fixtures of the right height, are there enough of them
- Breaker panel capacity, Add up the big breakers ________
- Internet access ______________
- Schools _________________
- Connecting garage ________________
- Gutters _____________________
- What seems out of place?
- Is the swimming pool in the shade at the time of day you want to use it
- How much extra landscaping needs to be removed, trees touching house
- Do I need to add to the landscaping and at what cost
- How old are the heating system, water heater, A/C, appliances, smoke detectors
- Is the carpet used up
- In a condominium, what are the rules and will they impact what I want to do
Pet restrictions, flooring restrictions, parking rules, garage use rules, walk around, do things look well cared for, pool clean, free of dog litter and trash
The Jump – you must sometimes make a quick decision about a home or you will lose out on it. Here is how to bridge the gap in these two opposing needs we have discussed. You can put a house in contract very quickly. That doesn’t mean you have to close on it. Now, I am not suggesting that you do this in a cavalier fashion. You are involved in the Sellers’ life as much as your own and must play fairly. But the time that a home is in escrow is the time that commercial Realtors call “due diligence.” That is the time for investigating every aspect of this very important decision you are making.
Feel free to have a physical inspector examine the home for possible defects. Remember you are most likely buying a USED home, not a new one. To expect a previously occupied home to be as perfect as a new one is unrealistic. The physical inspection is not supposed to be a club you use to bash the Seller into perfecting the home. What it IS for is to determine if there are any major, undisclosed items that could cost you plenty down the road. Don’t ask the Seller to replace the electrical cover plates that are out of date; that is petty. Don’t ask them to replace the roof; they can’t afford that.
They want their price and their Realtor has probably already pounded on them to accept alower price because the carpet needs repair or the kitchen is outdated. You will not get the lower price and concessions for the outdated amenities, too. Late in the process you may need for the Seller to give something into the transaction, so don’t back them into a corner too early in the process and jeopardize what you may need later.
SEE CHECKLIST 3 – FINALIST HOMES CHECKLIST, at the end of the book.
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