Your REALTOR® should show you the homes that meet your needs and weed out the ones that don’t.
He or she will make arrangements for you to see only those homes that match your requirements, so your time is well spent. Remember to record your impressions about the homes you visit.
A key benefit of working with a great REALTOR® is that you’ll be informed about homes that are new on the market or those with price changes. He or she will identify all the potential sellers in your market by working with the entire real estate community – not just those who list with their company.
When visiting individual homes, your REALTOR® should remind you to keep several factors in mind, including:
Evaluating the home’s Exterior:
- Do trees and shrubs appear healthy? Are large trees at least 20 feet from the house?
- Is the lot sloped for proper drainage? Are there low spots near the house?
- Do outdoor electrical outlets have ground fault current interrupters to prevent shock?
- Is the outdoor lighting adequate?
- Are there outdoor faucets or a sprinkler system?
- Are sidewalks and driveways in good condition? Will water drain off them?
- Is the house’s surface in good repair? Are there cracks where materials meet at two walls or at windows and walls?
- Do windows and doors sit plumb and square?
- Is the roof free from sags and dips? Are shingles in good condition?
- Are gutters in good shape, with tight seams and do downspouts point away from the house?
- Do foundation walls have cracks larger than 1/4-inch wide?
Considering the home’s Interior:
- Is the home divided into three distinct zones for working, living and sleeping?
- Are eating areas (including those outdoors) easily accessible from the kitchen?
- Does traffic through the kitchen flow outside the work area?
- Are the stove, sink and refrigerator just steps apart for an efficient access?
- Do open appliance doors block doorways, cabinets or each other?
- Do bedrooms have two uninterrupted wall surfaces for easy furniture arrangement?
- Are baths accessible without having to cross a bedroom or other living space?
- Does the main entry lead guests directly to the living room or make them figure out which way to go?
Even after a careful review, when everything “feels right” you should take the extra step to make certain everything “works right”. When you’re seriously considering buying a particular house, keep these factors in mind:
- Hire a professional building inspector to make sure the house is in sound condition. Use his or her report to make informed decisions.
- Ask your REALTOR® to include a final inspect prior to closing in the contract. This warranty protects you in case of major structural or mechanical system problems that may occur after the property was inspected by a building inspector.
- Decide which flaws you can live with and which you’d prefer to have repaired. You may also be able to refinance some repairs in your mortgage.
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DISCLAIMER: This information is provided for general awareness only and is not intended for the purpose of providing legal, accounting, tax advice or consulting of any kind. Please consult with a professional in their respective expertise for complete details.