buying a home is a complex process. there are so many factors to take into account on the early stages. i’ve compiled a list of the most important things that you should check out firsthand before buying a house.
1. Find out why the property is being sold
oftentimes, the reason for selling the property is explained as due to the factors not related to the living conditions, for example moving to another city, buying a more suitable housing or the cash need.
unfortunately, this does not always depict the full picture. when buying a property, it is important to know in advance about any pitfalls including the ones you are not told by owners. after all, if some reasons force the previous owners to sell their house and move to another locality, it is very likely it is going to be a problem for you too.
of course, the hardest task is to assess the possible shortcomings of the newly built house. that’s why you should seek the opinion of neighbors so they can tell you more about life in this area, infrastructure development, cost of living, etc.
if you are thinking of buying an older home, ask the family about their experience of living in the property. if there are no clear answers to a number of questions, this may be the true reason for the sale: difficult neighbors, poor-quality heat insulation, adverse social conditions in the area, etc.
2. The first impression might not be objective
while buying the property, it is important not to trust your emotions too much. even if you liked the friendly hosts and the cozy courtyard when you first viewed the house the first time, do not forget about the rational factors:
– viewing should be arranged in spring. melting snow and groundwater will immediately show whether the waterproofing of the basement is sufficient. if the corners of the basement are damp, chances are you will have problems later on;
– examine the attic and the roof. even the quickest examination can help you notice the shortcomings in the roof and drainage system;
– check the doors and windows. if they creak, the house has an incorrect shrinkage;
– ask to turn on everything: electricity, central heating, water, etc.;
– explore whether the tiles are properly laid (especially in the bathroom). if the property has white tiles, check out if they were properly maintained.
3) Find out all about energy consumption
an important factor impacting daily living in the house is the efficient energy use. this stands true for any climate. the energy system must to maintain a comfortable temperature in the house in any weather without excessive expenses on central heating and air conditioning.
pay attention to the energy equipment’s capacity and ask the owners of the property if it is possible to see the heating bills for the past few seasons.
also, pay attention to the layout of the house – which rooms overlook the sunny side and which are facing the north and think whether it will be convenient for your lifestyle.
4) The number and size of the rooms
having viewed the property for the first time, it is difficult to immediately understand the layout of the premise. be sure to ask the sellers for a copy of the floor plan where you can view the dimensions for each room.
take a good look at the floor plan and evaluate if the planning is going to fit your family, what can be left in its current state and what will require reconstruction to meet your needs. for a more in-depth examination, contact professional architects who will help you go through the documentation, unless your realtor has already done this for you.
5) Pricing: how much the sellers asks and what it really costs
the cost of a property is always an individual estimation. it is difficult to calculate some general formula that would allow one to evaluate the price put forward by the seller. to compare prices, you can only focus on two factors:
– the price of similar properties in the local real estate market;
– the price of properties located nearby the one you are thinking of buying.
also, it is important to take additional costs into account. almost any property will require renovation and additional investments to make it more comfortable for you. but the amount of additional expense should be estimated early on before committing yourself to the purchase. you have a freedom to choose between several properties and compare the final cost for each one so make sure to use this opportunity to the fullest.
in order to not get confused with the real cost of the housing, put together a list of renovations for each property you are considering and how much it will cost you.