When shopping for a new home, it’s easy to get caught up in what the home looks like and its special features. You can find yourself dazzled by the well-manicured backyard, trendy kitchen, or high ceilings and want to make an offer right then! But, slow down, take a step back and evaluate the less-exciting details, which are often overlooked but may lead to significant and costly issues later. Get beyond the WOWs and take a closer look at the following:
Windows: Do all of the windows open? Do they close and lock securely? Is the glass intact? Is there a tight thermal seal (which is important to regulate temperature)?
Flooring: Look for cracks, stains, holes, and warping. Ask if there’s another layer of flooring under carpet, tile, or laminate. Is the floor level? If not, it might be an indication of water, or worse, structural problems.
Basement: That beautifully finished basement could be hiding a ton of problems! Be sure to carefully examine corners and walls and look behind and under finishings for issues such as mold, leaks and critter infestations.
Roof: Roof replacements are costly. Find out when the roof was last installed, and if there has been any patch or a replacement. Look for signs of damage.
Neighborhood: Look beyond the obvious into the details: Is local traffic a nightmare in rush hour? Is there reliable transit nearby? Is the home near green space, schools, and recreational facilities? When you buy a home, you also buy the neighborhood!
Parking: If the house doesn’t have a garage, will the driveway accommodate your vehicles? Is there good on-street visitors’ parking? Are there any rules prohibiting parking on the street? Make sure to know where your cars are going to be kept and that there is enough room for them.
Even after you’ve checked the details, make your offer contingent on a home inspection. A reliable home inspector can dig deeper into the details. You may love the features of a home, but they won’t look so great if there other problems.