Today we have a comprehensive list of things to consider when buying a house. I don’t mean budgeting, mortgages or anything like that. We have covered that in your first apartment checklist. This list carries on from that in a way, giving a deeper look into how and where homes can (and will) go wrong.
In this article we are going to be talking about everything that you need to check before you make a decision about a house. In fact, I would also used this checklist even if you are renting a house. Why bother getting yourself into something that is going to be a massive hassle?
So without further ado, let’s get on with it.
Things To Consider When Buying A House
- Check gutters. All attached correctly, not leaking and not overflowing with leaves.
- Sidings on house. Wood sidings will need painting every 5 – 10 years. Metal will last a lot longer with a lot less maintenance.
- Roof. Check that all the shingles are there and in a good state of repair. If you can see any bowing in the roof, it could mean a section needs to be replaced very soon.
- Check neighbours roofs. Most of the houses will have been built around the same time. If they all have newer roofs and your house doesn’t………… I think you get the picture.
- Is there any trees? Are they near or on top of sewer or service lines? The roots could destroy them. Also, if the tree is large and close to the house, the roots could cause massive headaches down the line.
- Check your property line and what lies just outside it. Tree’s get bigger, fields are not always maintained and awful houses will always look like that.
- Bad neighbours. Unkempt gardens, house in disarray, bits of cars or broken old cars in the street etc
- Train tracks, airports etc Noise levels from these can be very distracting.
- Is there undeveloped land nearby? It could become another housing development, school etc. Would that spoil your view and would you be ok with it?
- If the house has had staged furniture brought in to make it look good, check the size. Some companies use smaller furniture to make the rooms look bigger than they actually are.
- Make sure you are aware of what rooms surround the one you are in. If the laundry room backs onto the master bedroom, the noise ain’t going to be fun. Same if the garage is under your bedroom.
- Leading on from that, which rooms face the front and how noisy is it out there?
- Check where outlets and windows are placed. In older buildings especially they can be in odd places, leading to difficulties placing beds, tvs etc in the right place.
- If one of the rooms is a converted garage, make sure it has been done correctly. Otherwise it can be cold and noisy (due to hard concrete floors) and draughty (due to there once being a massive hole in one of the walls!).
- Does the house have any businesses around it? How about schools or churches? If so, you will get increased traffic at times around your property.
- Be aware of the direction your house faces. South facing rooms will have sun all day. North facing will not and will be colder because of it.
Crawlspace / Basement
- Standing water is extremely worrying. It means that there is a leak or damp.
- Rotten timber. Very expensive repairs are on the horizon. Walk away.
- Sump Pump and / or a perimeter channel. The house has had multiple times where there has been water in the basement and it is prone to flooding.
- Is there power in it?
- Is the floor painted and has it been done recently? This could be covering up the fact that the floor has cracked and has structural damage.
- Is the floor even? If not, it’s been done badly.
- How big is the garage? If you need space for a car and storage, a one car garage is not going to cut it.
- Check taps and shower for low pressure.
- Fill sinks and let them drain. Flush toilets and do the same. Slow drainage means there might be a blockage somewhere along the pipes.
- Check the hot water tank. If it’s old, it could be a big bill soon. Also, it its small or has a low BTU rating, you’re going to run out of hot water often.
- Have a water well? Run a tap until you hear a click then turn off the tap. Wait for another click. This indicates the well replenishing the tank. Slower = worse.
- If you can, check how old the pipes are supplying water to the house. Older than 1980 could mean pipes with lead in them.
- Have a septic tank? Check the leach field around it. If the ground is wet or swampy then it’s going to cost 1000’s to fix.
- Check the drains under air conditioning and the water heater. Leaks can be expensive to fix.
- Are there smoke detectors and are they hard-wired into the mains or are you going to have to change batteries every six months?
- Check the circuit breaker. Make sure everything is labelled properly and in the correct position. Also see if there is any room for expansion there, in case you ever remodel or upgrade.
- Check all the outlets are secured properly. If not, it will be a bill for an electrician in your near future.
- Are your outlets two prong? If so, it’s a sign of older wiring and could cause problems down the line.
Heating & Cooling
- How old is the furnace and the air conditioning units? If they are old, check that they have been well maintained and that they have no obvious signs of corrosion.
- Is it a gas,electric or propane water heater? Gas heaters are easier and cheaper to look after. Propane and other oils will need constant maintenance and re-filling.
- Are the windows double pane? Look at them side on and you should be able to see an outer and inner piece of glass. Double pane is much more efficient and better at holding the heat in.
- Which rooms are wired up with co-axial cables? Are you going to have to pay to get more rooms done?
- Check which internet providers are able to service the house and what speeds you can realistically expect.
- Look for where the ethernet connection comes in. Does the wi-fi have decent range all through the house or are there dead spots?
- Cell phone signal. Dropped calls are a pain in the ass.
- Make sure to ask if appliances are staying or not. If they are new (ish) and in good condition, it could be a significant saving. However, older appliances will probably not last very long and might be more of a pain than anything else.
- Is the home part of an HOA and if so, what are the rules in place?
- Foggy windows? Need replacing.
- Mold or black spots on any of the walls can destroy a house quicker than you think. Costs a lot to put a new damp course in.
- Make sure all the windows are square and not leaning. If they are not, it could be a sign of major structural damage to the frame of the house.
- If the ceilings are rough (usually in much older homes) they could contain asbestos and will be a fortune to have remedied.
- Has the ceiling recently been painted but not the rest of the room? Could be a sign of recent water damage.
- How much are your bills going to be? Ask the owner about recent utility bills and how much they have had to spend on general upkeep.
- What’s your commute going to be like?
- What are the schools like nearby. A bad school can kill resale value. You can check local schools on Zillow.
- Same deal with rentals. Lots of rentals nearby can mean more issues with bad neighbours. Like above, you can check rentals on Zillow.
- Try to meet the neighbours. After all, you are going to have to live near to them…….