House Hunting Checklist: Things to Look for When You View a House

Being prepared is a must when you’re house hunting. You likely have an idea of what you’re looking for when you’re buying a new home, but when you go on a house tour, it’s easy to forget the important things that go beyond aesthetics. Having a checklist in hand ensures you don’t miss anything as you’re touring a house, and it can organize the process if you’re comparing several houses. Make sure some of these important things are on your house hunting checklist.

Take a Close-Up of the Bathroom

Taking a deep-dive into a stranger’s bathroom isn’t the most comfortable thing in the world, but it’s crucial when you’re viewing a house. Turn on the water faucets, bathtub, and shower head to check water pressure. Then flush the toilets to make sure there are no leaks or backups in the system. Finally, look for any signs of mold or mildew on the walls, ceiling, or around the faucets.

Peek in the Attic and Basement

Chances are you won’t be spending too much time in the attic or the basement, but both areas are potential trouble spots in a home. Take a close look around the basement walls and ceilings for signs of any water damage, which may include rotting wood, a white chalky look to the wall, or peeling paint. When you head up to the attic, look for moldy wood or signs of pest droppings.

What About Closet Space?

Don’t overlook the much-coveted closet space. Does every bedroom have a closet? What about broom closets, space for linens, and a coat closet near the entryway? As you try to determine if the given space is adequate, consider how much storage space you think you may need in relation to what you currently have.

Inspect the Plumbing

When you’re viewing a home, don’t forget about the hidden internal components, especially the plumbing. “Plumbing should be copper or plastic, as they last the longest because minerals do not stick to the piping,” says Geoffrey Rodil, a realtor at Southern California’s Century21 Union Realty Co. and founder of Rodil Realty. In contrast, galvanized steel pipes are prone to rust and corrosion and will eventually need to be replaced.

Examine the HVAC System

Don’t overlook your creature comforts. A functional and reliable HVAC system is essential for ensuring you stay comfortable in extreme temperatures. “As a buyer, you would like a forced air or HVAC system to heat and cool the air,” advises Rodil. “The home’s heating system is a good indicator of how old the home is and what hasn’t been updated,” he added. In general, if the HVAC system is in good shape, it’s a good sign that the homeowner has taken care to maintain things.

Don’t Forget to Look Outside

The home’s external elements are just as important as the rooms inside. Take a look at the roof, and make sure there are no holes, discoloration, or a sagging roof line. Does it look new, or do you envision needing to replace it within a few years? Next check for damage in the foundation. Hairline cracks are often normal, but larger gaps may indicate a problem with the foundation.

Tour the Neighborhood

Once you’ve done your tour of the house, try and get a feel for the neighborhood. One easy way to do this is to chat with any neighbors you might meet. Do they like living there? Do they seem friendly, or is their behavior in any way off-putting? Don’t overlook the surrounding streets and roads leading into the neighborhood. “As a buyer, you want to view all entryways of the neighborhood to ensure it’s the perfect environment to call home,” suggests Rodil.

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