Signs the home you’re touring has major issues

Understand what makes a home problematic and what to look for at showings. 

It’s easy to fall in love with a home (or be completely turned off!) by its appearance. But stepping into a home reveals than its pictures, whether it be untapped potential or hidden damages. Even viewing the home during an open house can be distracting-maybe there’s music playing, or a chatty listing agent. The only way to get a true sense of a home’s worth is to schedule a private tour-and when you do, you’ll want to go in prepared. 

Prep for success

If you’re in the home search phase, you probably have a list of features you desire such as price, location, and bed/bathroom count. Once you’ve determined your home preferences, you want to put all prospective properties through the wringer. 

In order to do this, you’ll need a home tour checklist separate from your list of home preferences. A uniform checklist for all the properties you’re viewing will give you a clear idea of what to look for in a home as it relates to practical necessities—and ultimately, determine whether the home is structurally a good fit for you and your family.

Create a wishlist, then trim the fat

As you start visiting homes, you’ll notice that some properties meet your checklist but not your preferences. When this happens, consider the features you could live without. 

A home with stylish kitchen cabinets and a broken sewer system probably isn’t going to be a good investment. On the other hand, maybe a home with all structural features intact, but a less -than-appealing guest bathroom is negotiable. 

Unless you’re designing your home from top to bottom, there’s bound to be parts of a home that you’re not crazy about. The key to making a sound financial decision is understanding the difference between what is negotiable and unacceptable in a property.

A good way to think about it is to focus on whether or not you can live with the things you *can’t* change. Examples include the lot size, neighbors, and location.

Home aspects that shouldn’t be complete dealbreakers

As you know, furniture and decor are not permanent parts of the home, no matter how hideous they may be. Couches, tables, and anything hanging on the wall will be cleared out. Try to not let these items have too much of a bearing on whether you make an offer on the property, or not. 

Wall and floor treatments will remain, but don’t worry-if you have a small renovation budget you’ll be able to get rid of wallpaper, add a fresh coat of paint, and deep clean baseboards. 

The same is true for small fixtures and hardware such as faucets, showerheads, and doorknobs. Like the home features mentioned above, they’re easy to swap out with a quick trip to the hardware store and some elbow grease.

Home aspects you definitely need to consider

While furniture, decor, and wall treatments can be ignored—the actual condition of the walls should not be! Deficiencies in the walls or floorboards of a home could indicate problems with the home’s foundation, termites or water damage.

Be on the lookout for warped floors, cracks in the walls and watermarks, as they could be signs of a home that was poorly built, or built without proper permits. 

The following items will definitely come up in the inspection report should you move forward with the property, but you could save yourself some time by making sure that all integrated systems are functioning properly. Sewage, water, electrical and HVAC systems should all turn on and off with ease. If they don’t, they might be eroding and will definitely cost you money later on.

Exposed wires, leaky water heaters and poor ventilation of HVAC systems signal not only expensive repairs, but potential safety hazards within the home. 

As one of the largest parts of the home, the roof is certainly worth paying attention to. While it may be hard to assess the roof yourself, a walk around the property will reveal a few things about its condition. Click here for a breakdown of roof repairs and what to expect should you need to replace one.

The home’s interior

Always look for stains, cracks and lumps along walls, ceilings and floors. These could be signs of water damage caused by natural disasters or broken pipes. Regardless of how the damage was sustained, they are expensive repairs. 

You should also be on the lookout for subtle damage. Take the time to stand in each room and simply observe. Are there any weird smells? Do you hear something in the walls?

In the excitement of visiting a new home, or exhaustion of visiting so many, it’s easy to miss these important details. 

Lastly, you want to test all appliances. If you don’t have the time to do so in the first showing, schedule a second one. Don’t feel like you’re overstepping by testing everything out. It’s necessary.

Keep a spare phone charger on you, and plug in your phone charger to various outlets and verify that they are working properly. Turn the lights on and off to make sure there’s no circuit delays nor flickering. 

Note water pressure, temperature and color when you run the sinks and showers.

There are several appliances you should pay attention to in the kitchen, such as the garbage disposal, dishwasher, stove and oven.

The home’s exterior

In your walk around the home, keep an eye out for large exterior features that are expensive to repair or replace, such as garage doors, porches, decks and the home’s foundation.

You should also note the home’s proximity to dangerous structures such as low-hanging trees, as these structures could leave your home vulnerable to damage caused by natural disasters. 

As mentioned above, the roof is one of the most important parts of the home and may cost you a pretty penny to fix. It can be difficult to assess the quality of a roof yourself, so contracting someone to evaluate its condition is a smart move. 

You should also be cautious of poor landscaping and brown spots on the lawn. These could be signs of fungus growing under the earth, which makes lawns vulnerable to pest infestations.

Wrapping up

Purchasing a home is a major investment and should be decided with caution. You definitely don’t want to be in a position where you discover a negative aspect about the home after you’ve closed. 

Establishing a home tour checklist and a list of home preferences will provide some much-needed structure to your home search.

You should then assess what features you are willing and financially capable of repairing, renewing or replacing. The chances of you finding the perfect property are slim to none, so be willing to compromise on at least some features. 

If you’d like more guidance on the home touring process, reach out to one of our trusted Flyhomes Agents by clicking below!

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