Touring Your Next Home with Checklist

Talia Lee
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June 11, 2024

Exploring homes can be an exciting part of the home buying process, but amidst the allure of fresh paint and stylish decor, it’s crucial to stay vigilant for potential issues. Here’s a checklist to keep in mind during your home tours, alongside any personal considerations you may have. After all, the home you choose could become a cherished family heirloom. Let’s delve into some key questions you might ask your agent as you embark on your quest for the perfect home.

  • Easements Inquiry: Are there any easements affecting the property? Easements grant others access to your property for specific purposes, such as utility maintenance or roadway access. Understanding existing easements can prevent future surprises.
  • Seller’s Circumstances: Why is the seller moving? Knowing the seller’s motivations can provide valuable insight into the property’s history and potential issues. Additionally, inquire about how long the property has been on the market to gauge its desirability.
  • Homeowners Association (HOA): Is there a Homeowners Association governing the property? HOAs can impact your living experience by enforcing rules, managing amenities, and levying fees. Understanding their role is essential for informed decision-making.

Before arranging a home tour, it’s wise to familiarize yourself with the neighborhood where your prospective home is located. The neighborhood’s characteristics can significantly influence your decision, encompassing factors like commute convenience, school quality, and accessibility to public transportation. Prior to scheduling a tour, it’s beneficial to assess the local real estate market by examining the prices of recently sold or currently listed homes in the vicinity to gauge market trends. Here are some pertinent questions to ponder:

  1. Physical Appearance: Do nearby houses exhibit signs of good maintenance?
  2. Location: Is the neighborhood situated on a busy thoroughfare?
  3. Parking Availability: Does the property offer adequate parking options?

If you’re inclined and feel comfortable, engaging with neighbors can provide valuable insights into the neighborhood’s dynamics. Consider asking them:

  1. General Impressions: What are your overall thoughts on the neighborhood?
  2. Safety Concerns: Have there been any security incidents or break-ins reported recently?
  3. Family Friendliness: Would you characterize this neighborhood as suitable for families with children?

So, you’ve discovered your future abode! Nestled in the ideal neighborhood and boasting impeccable condition in the photos you perused on Homes.com. But before crossing the threshold, here are some vital inquiries to ponder.

Firstly, what’s the age of the roof? This query ranks among the utmost importance. Addressing potential roof repairs upfront could be a negotiating point with the sellers. Otherwise, you might find yourself footing a hefty bill, ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars, contingent upon the roof’s size and condition.

Next, inspect the gutters. Enquire about their age from your agent, as well. A critical component in safeguarding your home’s integrity against water damage.

Check the exterior paint. Is it pristine or showing signs of wear? A well-maintained coat can preserve not only aesthetics but also structural integrity.

Survey the vicinity for aging or ailing trees. While trees offer shade and enhance curb appeal, decaying ones pose risks of falling and causing property damage.

Lastly, assess the landscaping in both the front and back yards. Gauge the level of maintenance required and decide if it aligns with your willingness to invest time and effort.

The interior of the home is where you’ll spend most of your time, so it’s important to carefully examine the condition of each room. Here are some key questions to ask:

  • Renovations or Additions: Have there been any renovations or additions? This can provide insights into the home’s history and potential issues.
  • Inclusions in the Sale: Is there anything included in the sale? This could apply to appliances and even furniture, depending on the seller.
  • Age of Systems: How old are the current systems in the house? This includes HVAC, plumbing, and electrical systems.
  • Flow and Floor Plan: How is the general flow and floor plan of the house? Does it fit your needs and wants?
  • Wall Condition: Do the walls have cracks? Cracks can indicate structural issues or settling.
  • Floor Condition: Does the floor feel warped or uneven? This could signal foundation problems or water damage.
  • Window Condition: Do the windows have condensation on them? Condensation can indicate that the windows need to be replaced due to a damaged or broken seal.
  • Water Pressure: How is the water pressure? Check all the faucets in the house to ensure they are all running properly.

By asking these questions and thoroughly inspecting each aspect, you’ll be better equipped to make an informed decision about the home.

When examining the interior of your potential home, there are numerous questions to consider. Here are a few to get you started. Additionally, pay attention to any unusual smells during the tour, and ask your agent about their source to identify potential issues.

Beyond the walls, floors, and smells, it’s crucial to understand the utility costs and energy efficiency of the home. While a home inspector will verify the functionality of the furnace and air conditioner, you can ask these questions beforehand to get a general idea:

  • Age of HVAC System: How old is the HVAC system? This can give you insight into its expected lifespan and potential upcoming maintenance.
  • Efficiency of HVAC System: How efficient is the HVAC system? This will help you gauge the potential utility costs and energy efficiency of the home.

By considering these factors, you’ll be better prepared to make an informed decision about your future home.

Be vigilant for signs of pests both inside and outside the house. Open kitchen cabinets and look for mouse droppings. Use your sense of smell to detect pest infestations, as cockroaches and mice often leave a recognizable odor.

If you spot anything suspicious that suggests a pest problem, politely discuss it with your real estate agent to learn about the history and ensure the issue is being addressed.

Whether you’re buying a home for yourself, you and your partner, or your entire family, everyone involved will have their own preferences and desires. As you start touring homes, you’ll get a clearer idea of your needs, making it easier to narrow down your search.

It’s important to stay flexible about certain factors, such as location or size, as you explore your options. Buying a house is a significant commitment, and using this checklist will help simplify the process of finding your dream home.

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