Buying a home is a lifetime investment and you need to be very cautious to avoid losing money, buying the wrong house, or buying in the wrong neighborhood. Buying a house is a process that involves a series of steps with the goal of making the wrong choices. Sometimes, when buying a house, you need the help of professionals; for instance, for inspection to ascertain that the house is in the right condition. If you are considering buying a house, here are 10 things you should evaluate:
1. The Roof
The roof of a house plays a key role in ensuring your valuable items and family members are safe from different weather conditions. It is important to understand that roofs have a lifespan, depending on the materials used, and the type of roof. Therefore, before you buy a house, ensure that the roof is in the right condition and that it has not exceeded its lifespan to avoid a leaking roof. You can have a roof contractor carry out an inspection to avoid incurring additional roof repairs or replacement after buying the house.
2. The Plumbing System
The house’s plumbing system should be working properly to avoid additional costs. Ensure that you like the way the toilet flushes, check the drains, water pressure and faucets in bathrooms and kitchen. In addition, you need to know how long it takes for hot water to get to the shower, whether there is a water softener and the age of the water heater. Most water heaters have a lifespan between 10 – 15 years depending on the model, how they were maintained, and how often they were used as well as other factors. Therefore, checking the age of the water heater will help you know when you should replace it; thus helping you to determine whether it is worth buying the house.
3. The Size and the Floor Plan
When buying a house, you are obviously thinking of settling down with your family as well as about your future. The size of the house and the floor plan are some of the factors you should consider in order to make the right choice. Depending on the type of family you want to have, the size of the house will be a determining factor, because a large home can offer enough space for your family and friends when they visit, as well as a home office. However, you will have to pay more for a larger home – both in mortgage and utility bills.
Your neighborhood plays a key role when buying a house because it not only affects the value of the house but also availability of resources and security. You should gather as much information about the neighborhood as possible to make sure that it is safe and has all the facilities (social amenities) you need. Consider the proximity of your home to your place of work and ease of access because you will need that every day. However, you should know that the location might determine the value of your house.
5. Electrical Systems
Just like the plumbing system, your electrical system should be working properly to avoid possible injuries and accidents. A good electrical system also has little or no maintenance and repair costs after you’ve bought the house. Therefore, when evaluating the electrical system, make sure you know how much the electrical system can handle, whether the electrical sockets are upgraded to take grounded plugs or the type of electrical system used to wire your house. If you cannot o the assessment yourself, hiring an electrician is a better option.
6. Kitchen Appliances
You will need to use your kitchen every day after buying the house. Hence, checking the condition of the microwave, refrigerator, kitchen range, dishwasher and other kitchen appliances. If the house has a gas range, you should know whether it has a pilot light or an ignition starter and above all, know if these kitchen appliances will be sold with the house. You can make up your mind whether you want them or you will buy your own kitchen appliances depending on what your preferences and budget estimates are.
7. Interior Environmental Hazards
It is important to look for interior environmental hazards in a home to avoid exposing yourself and your family to health hazards from toxic substances. For instance, in an older home, you need to look for any asbestos coating on the furnace, pipes, heating systems and on water heaters. Make sure that the basement is tested for the presence of any poisonous gases e.g. radon which is carcinogenic and may cause lung cancer. You should also be on the lookout for carbon monoxide and vermin to make sure that your home is safe. Finally, an inspector should determine whether the house has any lead-based paints because they are poisonous. In fact, homes that are offered for sale should not have any lead-based paints under federal laws.
8. Structural Problems
Although you cannot buy an old house in perfect condition, it should have few or no structural problems. If you buy a house that has numerous structural problems knowingly or unknowingly, you will end up spending a lot of money trying to fix them. Know the state of the interior walls, roof, gutters and downspouts, flashings, doors and windows. Remember to inspect the floor too, as well as the fence and other structures in your house.
9. The Bedrooms and Bathrooms
First of all, you need to decide how many bedrooms and bathrooms your house should have and then start looking for such a house. This will be determined by your preferences, family size, and budget. Then, evaluate the conditions of the bathrooms and bedrooms: their size, closets/storage space, as well as the flooring. Your bathroom should have tile floors for easy cleaning and should include a shower or bathtub (or both) to be counted as a “full” bath. If you are thinking of adding extra room in the future, such as remodel your basement and turn it into a bathroom, have an architect advise you whether it is possible after considering lot usage, space planning, and city regulations.
10. Check Outside the House
Finally, evaluate the exterior part of your house because it also plays a role when buying your home. Does it have enough landscaping and a fence, where are the lot (or property) lines and the condition of the garage? Don’t forget to check the condition of the fences, patio and the deck.