Tips from Reddit: The “little stuff” to look for when choosing a home

Seattle townhouse with green door

What are the non-obvious things you should think about when choosing a home to buy?

Reddit user Wisdom_In_Wonder asked this smart question and a bunch of homeowners weighed in with their responses.

Some of the most savvy ideas for people who are getting serious about a particular home:

  • Visit the neighborhood at different times of day and days of the week. Pay attention to noise, traffic and light pollution to avoid surprises once you move in. Also, do your commute from the home to your workplace during rush hour.
  • Drive there enough to notice traffic patterns. Reddit user ohlookahipster noted that the street their rental is on gets crowded when there’s an accident on the nearby freeway and GPS apps redirect users to their street. Others note to try avoiding left turns from your home to a major roadway.
  • Note nearby schools. While great for families with kids attending those schools, remember that weekday morning and afternoon traffic can get intense.
  • Think about nearby event venues. User lollipopfiend123 mentioned living near a college football stadium, and experiencing a nightmare of traffic and disrespectful visitors on game nights. Of course, being near the action might be a pro if you’re likely to be part of the crowd.
  • Ask the utility company for last year’s meter readings. They can supply this information and it will give you an idea of what costs you can expect.
  • Look for natural light. While it’s often technically possible to add windows where there are none, make sure to note existing light in the home and think about your habits … are you OK if the sun rises into your bedroom? (Blackout shades can work wonders!)
  • Check the size of appliances. Notice non-standard sizes, which will be more difficult to replace. User Clypsedra dreads replacing her small oven, tiny dishwasher, and gas range that’s built into the counter. Also check for non-major brands and learn whether replacement parts will be difficult to come by.
  • Check the cell reception. Remember to check your cell service while at the home to make sure your phone works there, or get advance warning if you may want to change carriers.
  • Count the electrical outlets. Many older homes are lacking outlets, especially grounded outlets. An electrician can add more, but you’ll want to know about the need ahead of time. Also look at the placement.

While there’s a lot to think about when choosing a home, remember that no home is 100% perfect. The bottom-line question is what are you willing to live with or fix (if it’s fixable) versus what’s a deal breaker for you.

See the full Reddit thread.


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