As I’ve said a million times, purchasing a home is one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make. When it comes to information – in this case, more is better. Most homes look amazing in photos, but what is the real story behind these professionally captured shots? I encourage all of my buyers to be thorough in assessing the full potential of the one.
Logistically, how well does this homework for you and your family? How’s the water pressure? Can you hear laundry or other utilities in rooms you spend the majority of your time? Do the neighbors have crazy little barking dogs? Are there rooms that are hotter or colder than others? This is why I will encourage you to see the home at least one more time before we put in an offer, the initial WOW won’t impact you as much the second time around. You will pay attention more to details and notice things you likely didn’t notice the first time. It’s now time to pay attention to the logistics of this home.
1. Put your Detective Hat on
Think you found the one? Well now is the time to put your detective hat on and see what things are really all about. Do a few drive-bys past the house and through the neighborhood. How’s the foot traffic? Are your adventuring potential neighbors Young families? Retirees? How’s the neighborhood noise? Be sure to check not only during the day but in the evenings when people are home and on the weekends. If you’ve had recent rainy weather, check to see how well the neighborhood drainage works, any flooding problems or standing water that would concern you later? Test your morning and evening commutes and time how long it takes you from your possible new home.
2. Walk the Area
Once you’ve stalked the place by vehicle, it’s time to repeat on foot. Are there community amenities within walking distance? How long it takes you to them? Are you within walking distance of a coffee shop or restaurant? Are there sidewalks in the neighborhood? How’s the condition of any public spaces? Talk to the neighbors, see what they have to say about the area.
3. Follow the Light
If the first time you see the house happens to be an overcast or cloudy day, or maybe it was late in the day, schedule a second visit when the sun is out. Observe how the natural light flows through each room, especially high-traffic areas. Are there dark rooms? Is dark paint contributing to the dark feel? If you like a dark bedroom, try closing all of the window coverings (if there are any) and see how the light still filters through; you might want to throw room-darkening shades onto your shopping list.
4. Listen Carefully
This is a big one – especially in condos, villas, and townhomes, and has the potential to drive homeowners insane. During your multiple visits to the home, pay attention to catch surrounding neighbors when they’re home and making noise. If there are multiple units vacant and for sale in the building, bring a friend and have them walk around upstairs or in the adjacent unit to see how noise travels.
Now you should determine how sound travels within the home. Turn on the dryer to hear how loud it is. March around in the guest bedroom to determine how thick the walls are. If you’ll need to invest in sound insulation and throw rugs, it’s better to know now than later.
5. Got Storage?
It’s common for some sellers to clear their home of all excess and clutter, not all though. Don’t get discouraged by what may seem now like a lack of space. Break out your tape measure and start recording dimensions. Oftentimes, the space may be larger than it seems. These measurements can be very useful later on also; for paint, flooring, or even just planning out your layout online.
6. Plumbing flow well?
This is a reason I encourage sellers to be present at their home inspections. This gives you an opportunity to get to know your new home very well. It gives you an idea of what the inspector is looking for, and what you should look for in the future. Don’t get seduced by the outside appearance alone. How hard is the pressure? How quickly does the water heat up? Test the bathroom and kitchen sinks while you’re at it. Water pressure shouldn’t be a deal-breaker, but low pressure could indicate a damaging leak and more water problems (and expenses) down the road.
7. Test the windows
Regardless of the outside temperature, open a few windows, especially in the room that may be your future master bedroom. Can you hear a lot of traffic or neighborly noise? Do your windows seem to bring in a lot of cross breezes, or do neighboring buildings block the airflow? When the windows are closed, can you feel drafts around the edge of the frames? Windows are crucial for the look and feel of your home.
These 7 things I encourage all homebuyers to pay attention to. Make note of these items and check them out on the one.