The average homebuyer takes about 8 weeks to find a home, and that can be a very long 8 weeks for some.
From open houses to multiple offers and inspections, it’s no wonder that home shoppers often desire to make quick decisions about property purchases to cease the search and move in as soon as possible.
Sometimes, if a home looks great on the surface, seems to be in a good neighborhood, and isn’t too far from work, offers start pouring in. And there are homebuyers will look at homes solely online. While the Seller’s Disclosure is an immensely important source of information for you as a buyer, don’t gloss over the advantages of seeing certain facets of the home up close and personal with your own eyes.
It pays to look deeper. A home will likely be the most important purchase you can make, so rushing may be a big mistake. The next time you look at a property, be sure to take the time to look out for the following.
- Check out the Roof
Replacing an entire roof is a major expense that unfortunately, some homebuyers learn too late they need to take care of before they move in. Be sure to check for any signs of wear, damage, or evidence of multiple patches or several layers of roofing. From the sidewalk or driveway you can see if there is any waviness on the surface of the roof – this can be a sign of warped truss beams and plywood. This is not only a warning sign that a major repair is warranted, but it could also indicate poor air flow in the attic, which would become another fix to address.
Some companies may not grant you homeowners insurance if your roof is in a state of disrepair or is too old. While patches can cost a few hundred dollars, total replacement often goes as high as $20,000.
Be sure to ask about the roof’s age as well or when the most recent repair was made.
- Look for Signs of Water Damage
Water damage can indicate that a house either has some major structural issues, is in a flood plain, or was impacted by a natural disaster. When touring a home, look for ceilings and walls with watermarks, if there’s a moldy smell indicating dampness, or if the plaster is flaking off in sections.
- Check the Plumbing
Plumbing can be a major issue in older homes – and one of the most expensive fixes for homebuyers. Check the water pressure and ask if there is insulation on the pipes and the pipe material (certain outdated materials you’ll want to replace).
It’s also worth asking the age of the boiler, looking at the hot water tank, and determining if the radiators are in good working condition.
- Figure Out How Well the Home Has Been Maintained Overall
There can be many different signs that a previous owner or renter was less-than-responsible with the home’s maintenance, including faded paint, cheap replacement tiles, and mismatched fixtures.
If the home’s HVAC system seems aged prematurely and not running smoothly, it may mean that it wasn’t cleaned yearly or that it’s on its last legs. All this evidence points to the likely possibility of expensive updates and repairs you’ll need to make.
- Look Outside of the Home
You can discover a lot about whether a home is right for you without stepping foot inside. Look for poor grading, swampy spots in the yard, and the condition of sheds or any outbuildings.
Walk around the neighborhood, check out businesses close by, get a feel for the road noise at different hours, and see how strict the HOA is if there is one.
Remember that while the Seller’s Disclosure tells you about conditions the current homeowner is aware of, it won’t cover all qualitative considerations you might have for your dream home. Furthermore, it’s subject to that person’s level of diligence and memory and is no substitute for your own poking about.