Here is a helpful checklist of things to look at when buying a home. Carry it with you to remind you of what you should be investigating when reviewing potential new homes.
1. Basic structure
Look around the outside of the home for things like cracks in the foundation, stress cracks in the interior drywall, or water staining on both the ceilings and the basement floor/walls. Check how old the roofing is.
2. Major utilities
Make sure you know what is in the home, from the type of wiring, to the heating and cooling sources. It’s also important to check on the age of things like the hot water tank, and furnace.
3. What’s included?
Ask if the appliances are included – washer/dryer, dishwasher, fridge, stove and microwave if applicable. You may also want to negotiate for window coverings.
4. The location
Is it near everything you will need? Consider the distance to/from your work, schools, the hospital, and amenities like grocery stores, gas stations, and even your gym.
5. Estimate additional costs
Find out about the property taxes, the cost of adding a security system, changing the locks and any imminent repairs that you will have to do. You may also need to install fencing if it is a newer neighbourhood. Get quotes.
6. Be sure you are comfortable with what you are getting
It’s important that you are comfortable with the condition the property is in. Make sure that you can live with an overgrown garden, or a patchy lawn that needs a lot of work. While most of these things are cosmetic, and can be rectified fairly inexpensively, they can be very time consuming endeavors.
Sometimes house-hunting sweeps you away and you get so caught up in how much you love a place and want to buy it, that you forget to be practical altogether. Have a plan and be pragmatic when viewing a potential home. It’s a big investment.