Buying a house isn’t really a small thing like buying groceries, so you should probably be careful in every single thing related to your new home. To make it easier for you I have made a list of things you should do before your final decision.
First thing first – Be prepared
If you are buying a house, you will probably visit few of them before you decide which one you will buy. And it can be very hard for you to memorize all of good and bad things you saw in each house. So my advice is – take a pen so you can write down your impressions and thoughts, and a camera or a camcorder so you can watch it later at your home and see everything all over again. Who knows, maybe you’ve missed something while you were there.
Decide what are you really searching for
Try to be as specific as you can. First, look at your budget and stick to it. Don’t waste your time looking at houses that you know you can not afford. Than, decide what kind of house do you want, with two, three or more floors, how many bathrooms, bed rooms, guest rooms, how big they should be, do you want a bathroom/shower connected to your bedroom etc. You get the point. And then, if you already have some particular place or city where you would like to live, start your search there.
Location - Where, how, who?
This is one of the most important things when buying a house. Where is your new house located? Is it close to your workplace, school, hospital, kinder garden, park or supermarket? Or to whatever place that matters to you? How is your home situated, is it easy to access, is it loud, is there a lot of traffic etc. And finally, who are your neighbors? If you are buying a house you are going to live there at least for few years so check your neighbors. They don’t have to perfect, but try to meet them and see if they are at least O.K. You don’t want to make the same mistake like Arlo from the Moving movie did.
Outside the house
The first thing before entering a house is a front yard (if one has one), that’s the first thing you will notice and look at it carefully. But again, you have to decide what you want. Is the front yard big enough? Does the house have a back yard and do you need it? Can you grow grass or anything else on that soil (if there is a soil)? Check the fence and the gates, if there is a swimming pool check the pumps... Just look the whole thing and look at every corner to see if everything is in good shape.
Entering the house
Now we are entering the horror zone which means open your eyes widely, watch everything in every direction and be extremely cautious. O.K. maybe I’m exaggerating, but still, be careful, it could be your home for life and you probably want it to be perfect, right? Watch these things…
How are the pressure, performance and drainage? Is water filthy or clean, is the taste fine (taste it), is the hot water system big enough for your needs, are there any leaks or rust?
- Heating and cooling
Check out the heating in every room and try to figure out how much will all that heating cost you a year. Also, check the insulation, cause good insulation can save you hundreds on cooling and heating bills. If the house has an air condition, check how old is it and does it function properly.
Of course you need electricity in every room so see if everything works fine. If there are old switches that could mean that the wiring is old too. And make sure that there are enough power points and that they are at your preferred height and position.
Are there major cracks in the walls? Do you like the wall colors? All this things can cost you money if you don’t like it and decide to repair or change it later. Be extra cautious if the house (the walls) has been recently painted, it could be masking some serious problems. Feel the walls and look for signs of peeling or bubbling paint. Watermarks are a dead giveaway, as is mould. Also, look for some obvious structural defects and tap the wall to do a preliminary termite check.
- Floors, furniture and doors/windows
In old houses check for holes in floorboards and cracks that can let vermin and cockroaches in. And if there is a carpet on the floor, check if there are old floorboards under it and in what condition are they. And last, check out the floor covering. Will you need to replace them and if yes, how long will they last?
Make sure your furniture fits in the rooms and measure the space in your kitchen and bathroom to make sure your appliances like refrigerators, washing machines and dish washers will fit.
Check all the windows and doors. Do they open and slide easily? Do they have cracking paint? That could be a sign of rot. A little trick, press your finger into the wood, if it’s soft, it’s rotten.
- Bathrooms, kitchen and bedrooms
Kitchen and bathrooms are the most expensive rooms in the house to renovate so pay close attention to the age and quality of cupboards, benches, plumbing fittings and tilling. Bathroom often have mould and mould can be easily painted over so be careful. Check that the toilet is on the same level as the bedrooms. If it is a two-storey house, it is nice to have toilet on both levels. Check the location of the bedrooms, parents often wants to be on the same level as their kids.
- Other things
Check if you have internet access.
I hope my guide lines helped you. These are not all things you should pay attention to, but it’s a good start. Good luck in finding your new home.