The excitement of homebuying can sweep you off your feet (like that first time you saw Empire Strikes Back). In fact, it’s quite easy to lose your cool when you fall in love with a home. And why not? It has most everything you’ve wanted in your ideal home since you began looking five months ago. Everything is peachy… perfect!
You’re now in a very dangerous place. Your emotions are high, your defenses are down. It’s easy to pass over a home’s flaws when you’re ‘all in.’ As journalist Cathie Ericson best puts it: “It was your dream home – until it wasn’t.” When you’re in the hunt for a home, pay close attention to issues that appear to be very costly or seem potentially larger than only your surface observations. Be mindful of possible issues that can extend beyond the walls of the home too.
We’ve pinpointed eight telltale things below you simply cannot neglect when actively searching for a home in today’s market.
Larger cracks in the structure of a home shout ‘enter at your own risk.’ They can even flash in red and say ‘don’t buy me.’ A cracked foundation can be a mess and usually isn’t worth your time or resources. Are there doors in the home which don’t close as they should? When you walk through the property, do the floors feel uneven? These can point right to structure or foundation issues.
Water Where There Shouldn’t Be
When I first delve into real estate well over a decade ago, I was told water in a home was the root of all evil. Though not often overlooked by homebuyers, emotions can blind us to this potential problem, until we find ourselves knee-high in it. Are you aware of the probable signs of water damage when you walk through a home? Do you see any signs of discoloration? Do you sense a musty or mildew smell? Are the home’s systems/storage elevated off the basement floor? These may all be signs that water is the culprit and a bigger problem than the seller disclosing.
Won’t You Be My Neighbor
Many prospective homebuyers don’t give this much thought, but they should do their due diligence and survey the neighborhood. They should talk to neighbors, if they can. Quiet is a very subjective term in real estate, yet you may be concerned with the decibel level on the block? Sometimes neighborhood conditions at day or at night vary greatly.
The Windows Won’t Budge
If you’ve looked at numerous homes you’re bound to come across this issue. In Northeastern Pennsylvania between the weather changes, homeowners painting their frames with the windows shut and their age, you can really be in for it. Don’t overlook your outlets to the outdoors. If you do, it can cost you energy efficiency, money and comfort-ability.
Don’t Forget About Resale
You may live in your home for ten or twenty years or you might need to sell three or four years from now. You may not think purchasing a two bedroom home is a big deal, but the next buyer might. The traffic on your street may not bother you, but it might be a deal-breaker for the next buyer. When purchasing a property, always take into account its resale value.
A Specialist Is Needed
Sometimes you need to call on a professional. There are times when a home inspector will be all a prospective buyer requires for reassurance, but there will be other times when an uneven floor, dead trees on the lot or a septic system, for instance, may require a more thorough investigation and the proper specialist to do that.
One In Five Could Fall Victim To This
Did you know that 20% of homeowners are members of a homeowners or condo association? If you have serious interest in a property, which is part of a homeowners association (HOA), make sure to obtain a copy of the covenants and restrictions for that association. Your REALTOR® can provide you with a copy. It’s important to know what the HOA does and does not permit before you make a commitment to purchase.
Don’t Get Overwhelmed
The process of homebuying is a wonderful one, filled with adventure to say the least. It’s a solid investment where you can live and make memories, but don’t let your emotions override how you would normally handle most other situations. Buying the wrong home can set you back. When you find a home you love, step back from the front lines and give it serious thought (remember, this is a large investment). Analyze what you can afford based upon your budget. Think about the surprise costs that might come your way on any given year for maintenance and repairs. Consider the home’s condition. Consider the utility bills. Throughout this process, it’s important to remind yourself not to be overwhelmed.