10 Things To Look For When Buying A House
Okay, so you've already made some of the most crucial decisions in your home-buying journey. You've selected a seasoned real estate agent who knows the ins and outs of the local market, and you've partnered with a mortgage advisor who has your financial best interests at heart. Your mortgage advisor has already provided you with what I like to call your 'golden ticket'—that all-important pre-qualification letter.
With that in hand, your real estate agent has enthusiastically lined up a series of homes that match your criteria for you to tour. So now, you're ready for what many consider the most exhilarating part: the house hunt!
But hold on just a second—before you strap yourself in and launch headfirst into the emotional rollercoaster that is house hunting, it's crucial to go over some ground rules. Think of these as the 'keep your hands and feet in the vehicle at all times' guidelines.
Because let's face it, when you're on the ride of your life, it's easy to forget some of the essential details. We've all seen how the dizzying highs and lows of this wild adventure can make it challenging for some people to focus on the nitty-gritty.
So, to keep you grounded and ensure you're paying attention to what really matters, let's delve into 10 key things that you should always have at the forefront of your mind when comparing houses. These guidelines will help you separate the wheat from the chaff, ensuring you make a decision that you'll be happy with for years to come.
1. Location, Location, Location! You've heard it a million times, right? But seriously, you've got to dig deep into the neighborhood. We're talking about schools, transit, the works. Think about whether you'll want to resell this house one day, so don't forget those future-proof aspects like nearby job opportunities, flood zones, or busy roads. Scout it out with your realtor and make sure you're not just buying a house, but also the life that comes with it.
2. Size Matters Sure, it's a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised how many people underestimate this. Will this house fit your family, your pets, and your ten-year plan? Bedrooms, bathrooms, storage—get into the nitty-gritty with your must-haves and your nice-to-haves.
3. The Blueprint of Your Dreams Size is great, but layout is the game-changer. Will your furniture fit? Are the future kid's bedrooms where you want them to be? Is the kitchen a good layout for your cooking sprees? Thinking long-term, does the floor plan fit with any potential renovation plans? Trust me, you don't want to realize you have a load-bearing wall right where you planned your open-concept kitchen.
4. Don't Judge a House by Its Cover, But… Look, the exterior might not be as fun as picking paint colors, but this is where future headaches can be avoided. Roof condition, siding status, foundation integrity—get to know them. Your future self, not stuck with a massive repair bill, will thank you.
5. The Engine Room No, it’s not HGTV glamorous, but this stuff keeps your life running smoothly. Think HVAC, electrical, plumbing, the works. Go under the hood and make sure you're not getting a lemon.
6. Spot the Red Flags Stains, weird smells, flickering lights—you know the drill. These are your clues for bigger problems lurking under the surface. Nobody wants a money pit, so if you see these signs, call in the pros to really know what you’re getting into.
7. Let the Sunshine In Windows matter. Orientation matters. If you love natural light, don't compromise. You're not going to change where the sun rises and sets, so make sure your new home is bright and cheery if that’s your thing.
8. Basements and Attics: The Overlooked Frontier Look, these spaces can be goldmines or minefields. Check for mold, critters, and the potential for future finishing. Get them tested and inspected—no surprises, just opportunities.
9. Garage Galore If a garage is part of the deal, then do a deep dive here too. Is it attached? How many cars fit? Got enough storage for your camping gear, or is it just a parking spot? Know what you're working with.
10. The Renovation Equation You’re probably not walking into a turnkey situation, let’s be real. So jot down what you're willing to tackle now and what can wait. Floors, paints, and maybe even a room addition—factor that into your offer and your budget.
Bonus: Don't Skip The Home Inspection!
Look, snagging a home is a big deal. You want all the facts before you shout, "Sold!" That's where the rockstar of the home-buying process—your home inspector—comes in. Teaming up with your trusty real estate agent, you can find an inspector who's got an eagle eye for the good, the bad, and the potentially ugly.
Think of a home inspection as your VIP backstage pass into the bowels of your future abode. This happens after you've got a "pending" label slapped on that property. It's your last chance to discover if the electrical system is a dud or if the roof is ready to party with you for another decade.
Our inspector buddy will check out everything—from the crawl spaces you never want to crawl into, to the attic you might convert into your next Zen zone. You'll get a report that tells it like it is: what's cool, what needs a fix, and what might come back to haunt you later.
Now listen, an inspection isn’t a get-out-of-trouble-free card; it's a guidebook. It's your inside scoop to make an informed decision, but it doesn't come with a magic wand that fixes everything in a snap. So, read that report like it's a bestseller because it's definitely the story of your future home.
So there it is—your roadmap for navigating the epic journey that is house hunting. Trust me, it's more than just touring some pretty houses and imagining where your sofa will go. It's about strapping in, knowing what signs to look for, what questions to ask, and yes—making sure you've got the right pit crew in your corner.
From your killer real estate agent to that indispensable home inspector, these are the folks who help you dodge the potholes and stay on track. Don't underestimate the ride you're on; it's the highway to one of the biggest investments of your life. These checkpoints aren't just arbitrary mile markers; they're the lens you'll use to scrutinize every property that catches your eye.
So refer back to this guide as often as you need to. Save it, print it, stick it on your fridge, or make it your screensaver—whatever helps you remember the rules of the road. Because once you hit that finish line, keys in hand, it's not just a transaction that's closed—it's a brand-new chapter that's just beginning. Are you ready to make it an epic one? Happy house hunting!