10 Crucial Considerations When Buying a Home
Buying a new home is an exciting and important process. For many of us, it will be the largest investment we make. When shopping for the perfect house, there are many factors to consider in order to make sure you find the best fit for your needs. If you're considering moving to Boise, Idaho, there are some key things that you should look out for during viewings of potential homes so that you can make an informed purchase decision and get the most value from your money. Here are 10 key things you should look out for when viewing homes with your real estate agent before committing to making an offer.
General Exterior Condition of the Home
Look for signs of age or neglect such as peeling paint, cracks in the foundation or walls, and water damage. Be sure to walk around the entire property and check out the foundation, windows, doors, and fencing for any problems or areas of concern. Additionally, pay attention to the landscaping and outdoor features such as a deck or shed to make sure they are in good condition. Peek behind shrubs or vines that are nestled close to the home, as these areas may be predisposed to water accumulation and insect infiltration.
Condition of Roof
The roof is something many first-time home buyers do not think about yet it is one of the most essential components. Look at the tiles, shingles, and other materials to check for any signs of damage or wear and tear. Additionally, inspect any flashing, seals, and gutters to ensure they are in good working order. If the roof is older, there may be patches that need attention or even full replacement.
Quality of Construction and Materials Used
When assessing the quality of construction and materials used for a potential property, be sure to check for sturdiness and structural integrity. Look closely at components like door frames, window sills, and baseboards to get an idea of the material’s quality. Additionally, assess the age of any major installations such as drainage systems, HVAC units, water heaters, or electrical wiring to make sure they are in good condition. Major systems like the furnace often have stickers on them showing the manufacturing date and date it was last serviced by a professional.
Insulation and Energy Efficient Features
Another feature many home buyers may not think about is how well-insulated and energy-efficient the home is. We suggest checking for any air leaks from doors or windows, as this will decrease the energy efficiency of the property. Additionally, look for any double or triple-pane windows that can reduce heat flow and guarantee a draft-free environment. All these measures will help you lower your energy bills in the long run. Another way to check the home's energy efficiency it requesting a copy of the utility bills from the seller. If the utilities tend to run high compared to a similar home this could be an indication of a problem.
Electrical Systems, Plumbing, and Ventilation
Check whether the power outlets are up to date, as aged wiring can cause potential hazards. Look at the plumbing fixtures to make sure they are operational, and inspect the pipes for any signs of corrosion or damage. Check that all bathrooms and kitchens have sufficient ventilation and use a dehumidifier to reduce condensation if necessary.
Structural Integrity of the Home
Before purchasing a property, inspect its structural integrity to make sure it is safe and secure. Check the foundations and walls for any cracks or signs of wear. Also check for any signs of water damage or mold on the walls and ceiling, as this could be indicative of a structural issue.
Do not forget about the drainage systems for both surface water and groundwater. Surface water should be directed away from buildings, while groundwater should be diverted with proper drainage systems to ensure adequate protection against flooding. Inspect any existing drainage systems to make sure they are properly maintained and free of blockages or damage. Also, look out for any signs of standing water on your property as this can indicate underlying issues with the drainage system.
Ensure that the seller has installed smoke detectors and that they are functioning properly. Carbon monoxide detectors should be placed near sleeping areas, in the kitchen, and any other room with a fuel-burning appliance. Make sure GFCI outlets are in areas prone to water contact such as kitchens, bathrooms, and basements. GFCI outlets provide extra safety by detecting any sudden changes in electrical current and automatically shutting off the power before an electric shock can occur.
If you are in the market for a new home, you have probably come across the term "CCRs" which is short for covenants, codes, and restrictions. They address issues such as building architecture and maintenance, landscaping requirements, and the types of activities that can be conducted within a community. Read our blog on CCRs to understand in more detail how they can affect your purchase.
Closeness to Amenities and Transportation
The closeness to amenities and transportation is important to consider when evaluating a property. Being near shopping, restaurants, and entertainment can be a huge plus for potential buyers. Additionally, look at the transportation options around the property such as proximity to public transportation or access to major roads. Having easy access to transportation can add value to any property and make it more attractive for potential buyers.
Overview on Key Things to Look For When Viewing a Property
If this list seems overwhelming, do not stress. There are professionals who can dive deeper into the inspection of the home for you to help identify any issues. Investing in a reputable home inspector, whether for existing or new construction homes, is an incredibly wise decision. Request your agent to provide you with a list of reputable vendors and professionals who are well-versed in their respective fields. For example, getting an accurate quote from a roofer could help save you thousands of dollars over time. Keep in mind that any necessary repairs or renovations may require additional costs which should be factored into your budget.
Another great resource to review is the seller's property condition disclosure form which your real estate agent should have access to or can request from the listing agent. Reading through this document before viewing the home in person may save you time and headaches, as potential issues with the home may be disclosed in advance on this form.
We know that viewing a property in person is not always possible, especially if you are relocating to Boise, Idaho from another state. Read our blog about Virtual Home Buying and our tools to assist you through that process.
All in all, it is important to pay attention to the details when viewing homes. Sometimes staging or stunning photography can distract us from these important home characteristics. Ultimately, going through this checklist will help you get the most value out of your investment while ensuring that you are buying a safe home for yourself and your family.
IDX information is provided exclusively for consumers' personal, non-commercial use, and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties consumers may be interested in purchasing. IMLS does not assume any liability for missing or inaccurate data. Information provided by IMLS is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. All listings provided by IMLS are marked with the official IMLS IDX logo.