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10 Things to Look for When Buying a House

Buying a house elicits some of the same emotions as planning a wedding. You feel excitement and nervousness—and you’ll have plenty of sleepless nights leading up to the big day. Before you decide to buy a house, it’s important to give it as thorough an inspection as you would give a future spouse. Here are 10 things to look for when buying a house to ensure you’ve made the best possible choice.

1. Good Structural Integrity

When you first step foot inside a promising property, focus on the structural stuff, not just the color of the paint on the walls or the dressed up décor. The walls themselves should be stable enough to last well beyond the lifespan of the paint or furniture.

2. Quality Heating and Cooling Equipment

After your mortgage, your second most costly monthly expense is the utility bill. A new, high-efficiency furnace and air conditioner are major selling points. Unless the seller is willing to cut the asking price down, rickety HVAC equipment is a sign you should move on because that can be incredibly costly to repair or replace in the future.

3. Good Insulation

Check the attic, exposed ductwork and plumbing for sufficient insulation, which reduces utility bills and helps you stay more comfortable. High-efficiency windows and doors are also helpful for blocking drafts and outdoor noises.

4. Reliable Plumbing

When touring the bathroom and kitchen, don’t stop at eye level. Open the under-sink cabinets and examine the exposed plumbing. If you see leaks, water stains, or mold growth, this is a good sign the rest of the plumbing could be in jeopardy as well.

5. A Sweet Smell

Unless you fit this description yourself, you don’t want to deal with the residue left behind by a smoker or pet owner. It’s impossible to hide the smell during a walkthrough, though sellers may still try using candles and perfumes. Beware of homes that smell strongly one way or the other, since overwhelming air fresheners could be an attempt to hide something foul.

6. Functional Fixtures

Test everything to make sure it works. Flip light switches, turn on the oven, open windows and doors, flush toilets, even taste the water. Find any problems early so you can discuss possible solutions with the seller.

7. Pleasing Details

Don’t “settle” when buying a home. Find your dream home by paying attention to the details. Crown molding, hand-laid mosaic tiles, new kitchen appliances, bamboo kitchen flooring, and other details may not make or break the deal, but they help ensure your complete satisfaction if you decide this house is “the one.”

8. A Roof in Good Condition

Once you think a particular house is right for you, don’t forget to check out the roof. Find out when the roof was installed and what it’s made of. Newer roofs made of durable materials are better able to withstand future storms.

9. Good Location

Finding the right house is as much about the property as the house itself. Are the fences sturdy and erect? Does the landscape slope away from the house to encourage proper draining? What’s the condition of concrete pathways around the house? Don’t ignore these important exterior considerations.

10. A Reliable Real Estate Agent

A good agent is there to help you keep your head out of the clouds during the important decision-making process. You may fall in love with the curb appeal of a quaint little bungalow, but if you don’t uncover the above qualities when scrutinizing the house, a real estate agent can help you realize when it’s time to move on.

To work with a realtor who is there for you through the entire process, contact us online or by calling 301-340-8700 and schedule an appointment today.