10 Things to Look for When Buying a New Home

So you’re in the market for a new home. This is an equally exciting and stressful time. There are a lot of things to take care of from selling your own home to searching through every neighborhood for that next place to call home. When you are looking, make sure you look passed the staged furniture and the decor. All that stuff will be gone once it’s your time to move in. Looking for a new house–old or new–needs strict scrutiny. If you truly are interested in a home, ask for an inspection before making any final decisisions. Homes can be damaged, structrually unsound, and, without your knowledge, falling apart from the inside out.

Here are some things to not only ask about from the previous homeowners, but also examine yourself:

The structure. This is something that you can’t always see with the naked eye. You can easily tell if any walls are bowed or not square at all corners. When you take a walkthrough of a potential home, look at these factors. A home inspection will also clear up if there are any structural issues in the foundation.

The curb appeal. While this may not be a huge issue to some, it is important that your home has a little bit of curb appeal. It’s what will set your house apart from others. The outside is something that could alawys take work, but it’s nice to see from the outside what kind of home you are buying into.

The roof. Not many first time home buyers or even second time home buyers consider looking at the one thing that homes are good for–the roof. Take a step outside and look at the roof. Does it look like it’s in good shape? If not, you might be paying out of pocket for any repairs or renovations to the roof after buying the home. Sometimes, home buyers can request (after a home inspection is complete) that the previous homeowners repair any intense damage.

Insulation. Checking the attic is somthing an inspector will likely cover, but you can ask about this feature of the home. Sometimes, the insulation may be old and require new insulation.

Kitchen and bath fixtures. We feel the need to emphasize the obvious–look at the applicances. Home buyers will do this anyway, but when we say look, we mean really examine the fixtures. Some may be outdated or not work properly. You can check the sinks, too, to make sure they work. And don’t forget to flush the toilets to make sure those work, too.

Water control. That brings us to our next point. Checking the sinks and toilets is a smart way to determine what the water pressure is like in the home. Also, check that the ground outside of the home is sloped away from the base. Heavy rain water can seep into the foundation and cause long term damage. Additionally, you should have an inspector check the foundation for any previous water damage before fully purchasing the home.

Heating and cooling. This also goes without saying, but it’s certainly something some new and young home buyers will look over. Take a look at where the furnace or heater is located. What type is it? Does heat reach all rooms equally? This is where a home inspection comes in, but you can check that all rooms have vents and heating spaces. Also, check for these same issues for the air conditioner.

Electrical system. Does every wall have an outlet? Do the number and locations of receptacles meet the needs of the house? Check the main circuit breaker and make sure it is marked at least “100 amps.”

Fireplaces. If the home you are interested in has a fireplace, make sure that all its pieces work. Does it have glass or screen doors? Does the vent work? These are all questions that you can bring up to the previous owners, or have completed in an inspection.

Details. Lastly, pay attention to detail. What do the floors look like? What do the crown moldings and base boards look like? Does it look like a lot of craftsmanship went into this home? Will it be worth your investment?

Whatever house you choose, it must be a home that is safe, yet one that reflects your personality.

About the Author: Cameron is a guest contributor from Coldwell Banker-Hubbell Briarwood, helping residents in the Greater Lansing Area find realtors and homes. Visit their website at cb-hb.com.

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