Look Before You Buy: Important Things to Check When Viewing Homes

by Darwin on November 12, 2016

Buying a new home is one of the biggest investments you will make in your life, so you want to make sure you chose a home that is in great condition that you will love for years to come.


There’s nothing worse than buying a home only to find out months later that it’s not the home you thought it was, whether because you fell in love with it too quickly or because there are problems that are only then coming to your attention. So before you buy a home, you want to keep a few things in mind the next time you have a scheduled viewing or you visit an open house. Hopefully already you’ve secured a loan through a reputable source, like this mortgage company, and all you have to do is find the house you love.


Here’s what to look for:


Structural Damage


One of the most important things for you to find out as early as possible is if there is any structural damage that needs to be taken care. Just because a house has damage doesn’t mean it’s not worth buying, but you definitely want to get any problems fixed before you buy it and the repairs fall on you.


The first thing to look for is a damaged roof. This may be hard to find from the ground, but if it’s damaged enough, there will be signs. As you approach the house, look for any signs of sagging that may indicate a poor roof structure that can eventually lead to leaking. You should also be able to see if there are any singles missing around the edge of the roof.


Also, as you walk the property, look for any cracks in the foundation. Sometimes, cracks are a natural result of the shifting ground, but if neglected, they can lead to serious problems like instability and flooding. Foundations are expensive to fix, so make sure you talk to your realtor before buying a house with cracks.


Don’t Hate the Paint


If you are looking at multiple houses, there will be a time when you walk into a room and say, “eww, who chose that paint color?” When this happens, don’t let it affect your decision making.


Paint can always be replaced. Rather than allowing the paint to make your decision, look past it and imagine what the room would look like in a color you love. Look at the space of the room and any features like crown moulding or chair rails that show a great skeleton underneath that awful paint. If the house is right for you, you can repaint the walls whatever color you want as soon as you move in.


Don’t let paint distract you from more important things, either. Look for cracks in walls and flooring, or electric outlets that are in disrepair. These are far more important than the color of the room.




As you tour the house, look in areas that are typically wet for signs of a mold infestation. Mold is a dangerous problem, so you want to make sure the house is mold-free before you buy.


Look underneath sinks and in the wall corners near showers and bathtubs. These areas can get wet very easily and mold can quickly become a problem. If you find any leaks underneath sinks, this is also a good time to ask about any plumbing issues and to check for mold in other areas, such as near the water heater and the place where the main water line enters the house.


Mold doesn’t mean that the house should be taken off your list, but you should proceed with caution and make sure the problem is eliminated before buying.


A Professional Opinion


Once you have found the house you love and have satisfactorily looked over everything, get a professional to look as well. Professional inspectors can find things that you may have overlooked and have the problems fixed before you move in.


The truth of the matter is that every home with have a few defects and professionals can find them even if you can’t. They can also look for dangerous materials such as lead paint and find subtle problems with insect and termite infestations that may not have been readily noticeable.


Sure, a professional inspection may cost a little, but it’ll cost a lot less than dealing with a major problem a few years down the road.


Before you buy a home, look for these few things and you should find the one you want.


Paul Jameson is a property accountant who writes articles most months for a variety of real estate and property relevant sites as he shares his tips with first time buyers, investors and those looking to upsize or downsize their properties.

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