You’re buying your first home, and that’s exciting! We’re so happy for you. But do you know what to watch out for as you’re touring properties? Here are a few house hunting tips and tricks.
Take advantage of the open house
Real estate experts say that you should treat an open house like a first date — one where you use your time to get to know as much as possible about your potential future home. Realtor.com recommends not speeding through the house. Instead, open closets, open pantries, check windows to make sure they’re hanging straight, flip light switches, and take a look at the floors.
Stop and smell the artificial fragrance
Another tip from real estate experts at Realtor.com: Too much scent at an open house could mean there’s something to hide. It’s recommended that you “look closely at walls, ceilings, and flooring for signs of pet accidents, mildew, or smoke.”
Don’t forget to look up
Take a look at the roof, experts say, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Older roofs or those with water damage could mean a costly fix, according to Architectural Digest.
Home inspectors tell Better Homes and Gardens Magazine that if the home you’re interested in has an attic, be sure to check it to ensure it is properly ventilated. “Proper attic ventilation allows the intense heat of the sun to escape from the attic space, and promotes evaporation of moisture that would otherwise damage interior walls and structural elements,” according to the report.
Window pane, or pain?
Another issue to look out for are sticky windows, according to Realtor.com. You want to make sure they open and close easily. If not, that could be a sign that they weren’t installed properly, or that the property has foundation issues.
Check the foundation
Speaking of sticky windows being a potential sign of a foundation problems, be on the lookout for large gaps, uneven floors, or cracks above window frames. “Most houses have hairline cracks, which just indicate the house is settling into its position,” Realtor.com notes, but anything bigger could be cause for alarm.
Down to the wire
A Fox Business report warns that buyers should beware of faulty or old wiring. Better Homes and Gardens’ experts agreed, noting that “dated or insufficient electrical systems can cause breaker tripping, or worse, a fire.”
Explore the neighborhood
Forbes’ real estate experts emphasize looking beyond just the home you’re interested in. They recommend looking at how the properties next to the home that’s for sale are maintained, and being on the lookout for potential issues (such as a dog that’s kept outside that never stops barking). Additionally, the experts noted, you may want to research school district and crime statistics.