No matter what steps you take to prepare yourself, buying a home is always going to be stressful. Nonetheless, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing since a home is usually the single biggest purchase a person will make in their life. Therefore, it only makes sense that you should be worried about whether or not you’re making the right decision as making the wrong decision and purchasing a home that is in less-than-ideal condition could have major, long-lasting financial implications.
For this reason, it is important that every potential homebuyer takes the time to properly evaluate each property they’re considering. By taking a bit of time to carefully consider the following factors, you will give yourself a much better chance of avoiding buying a dreaded money-trap.
Pay Close Attention to the Home Inspection
The home inspection report should be one of the single biggest determining factors in your decision. Unless you happen to be a home builder, there is simply no way that you will be able to fully judge the quality and condition of a home on your own. This means that it essential that you make sure the home has been fully inspected by a professional.
By viewing the inspection report, you can easily identify any major issues, such as foundation or roof damage or plumbing and electrical problems. Just because a home has these issues doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t buy it, but you will definitely want to be fully aware of any potential issues so you can figure the cost of fixing them into the total price.
Judge the Quality of the Design and Construction
This factor is a bit more subjective in some ways as the quality of the design is obviously a matter of personal taste. However, it is still important that you consider the overall layout and flow of the home as well as the coherence of the design. For instance, if there are any additions, you’ll obviously want to make sure that they actually fit in with the rest of the home instead of looking like something that was just stuck onto the structure haphazardly.
In terms of the quality of the building materials, the inspection report can tell you a bit about this. However, you can also examine much of this with your own eye or the help of a trained real estate agent or home builder. Pay attention to the siding, drywall, flooring, etc. If the materials used are of poor quality, it’s likely that you’ll need to replace them at some point and this will further add to the total costs.
Be on the Lookout for Water Damage
Again, the inspection should reveal these issues, but you can also watch out for them on your own. Look for areas with water spots, use your nose to smell for damp and mildew and generally just be on the lookout for potential water damage. This is generally the sign of a leak that will need to be fixed, but it could also indicate that the home potentially has a mold problem.
Examine the Doors, Cabinets, and Fixtures
This is definitely a more superficial issue as you can always replace any fixtures and furnishings that you’re not happy with. However, examining these various items is one of the easiest ways to determine the overall quality of any recent renovations or upgrades. Basically, if the homeowner chose to use the cheapest doors, cabinets and other furnishings, it is also likely that they chose the cheapest contractor.
On the other hand, heavy solid-core wood doors and heavy-duty metal bathroom and kitchen fixtures are a good sign of quality renovation work. The same goes for cabinets, as you can easily identify quality work by whether the drawers have been dovetailed and if the cabinets are made from solid wood or laminate.
What Are the Appliances Like?
The appliances are another area that you can easily change out over time. However, this is still another easy way to judge the overall quality of the home and any recent renovations. For this reason, it’s always a good idea to take down notes about the specific make and model of each appliance. You can then search online for information about the price and overall quality, which will give you a better idea of how much the previous owner spent on any renovation work. Again, cheap appliances don’t necessarily mean a home isn’t worth the money, but it does mean that you might soon be forced to spend extra money to repair or replace them.
Paying attention to the details of the house can go a long way. If you want to be more familiar with real estate and home values, you can look into Youtube videos, educational courses like Success Path, or even just talking with a Realtor about what you can look for. Buying a home isn’t an exact science, and in truth, there is no way to entirely guaranteed that you won’t get burned on a poorly built home. Nonetheless, taking into account all of the above factors should at least help you avoid the most common problems and hopefully prevent you from being stuck with expensive repairs later on.