Its Sunday! With newspaper in hand and steamy cup of Dunkin’ you’re off to check out the day’s newest and brightest open houses. You’ve got a full day ahead judging by the size of the paper. Make the most of the day and look for the 5 critical items of home buying.
- Location Location Location – An open house is a great way to check out the area. Location is still king in real estate. Be on the look out for situations that will make it hard for resale, such as busy streets, unkept or unsightly homes nearby, limited parking for you or your guests, hints of Walmart going in across the street. Shiny appliances and granite counters can momentarily blind you into a costly mistake. Just imagine how blinded you’ll be when the street lights of Walmart turn on…
- Water in the basement – Depending on the age and location of the home you may find a wet basement. This is common, but it doesn’t mean its something that you shouldn’t over look. Some basements will just get a little damp when it rains, some have trenches with little rivers running through them. Fixing a wet basement can be challenging and costly. Your storage and finishing potential will be adversely effected and so will your ability to sell years down the road.
- Windows – Depending on the size of the home, replacing windows can be a very costly endeavor. To save you from that future headache and expense, look for a home with new or replacement windows.
- Roof – It can be hard for an untrained eye at ground level to see what’s happening on the roof, but there are a few clues you can look out for from the safety of the ground. First the age of the shingles should be listed on the Seller’s Property Disclosure. Unless they are new 50 year architectural shingles, the average life span is about 20-25 years. Missing shingles from either a storm or wear can be cause for concern. Also shingles that are curling or buckling are likely near the end of their life.
- Heating system – The age of the heating system should also be listed on the Sellers Property Disclosure. If it is not, you can often find the service tags hung nearby. Heating systems usually have a lifespan of 20-25 years. Look for heating systems that have yearly maintenance records. Excessive noise and signs of leaks in and around the boiler are red flags. Proceed with caution!
And remember, its always best to attend the open house with your own broker. The smiling agent that will be there with coffee and goodies is there to represent the seller’s interests, not yours. Don’t be lured by delicious baked goods into putting an offer in without your own representation.
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