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What to Look for When House Hunting

Prepare to look at a lot of houses

House hunting is no walk in the park. Walking through house after house can wear on you. Don't get discouraged! The more you look, the more things you’ll identify that you’ll want in the house you buy. Talk to your real estate agent often. The more they know about what you want and don’t want, the more effectively they can help you narrow your search.

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When evaluating a house, there are two considerations: the quality of the construction and the location. After years of working with homebuyers, real estate and construction professionals, we can say that even if you don’t know much about construction, there are some key areas to look at and ask questions about.

LOOK AT THE FOUNDATION

Look for cracks and other damage. Look at the floors to see if there are any low spots or high spots, where jacks have been placed.

CHECK HOW THE DOORS OPEN AND SHUT

Doors that rub when opening or won’t shut (especially in an old house) are indicators that the house has settled. In a new house, these symptoms might indicate poor construction.

LOOK IN THE ATTIC

Look to see if the roof framing is braced properly. Look for sag in the rafters.

ASK ABOUT THE FURNACE

An older furnace is a risk. It’s hard to determine how long one might last; older furnaces are expensive to replace, but they are also far more inefficient than new models. An older furnace might be a topic for negotiation at the offer stage.

CHECK FOR TERMITE DAMAGE AND SIGNS OF MOLD

Most houses built before 1950 will have some termite damage, but you are looking for active infestations. Mold issues can make the house unhealthy.

ASK ABOUT THE WIRING

Especially in an old house, ask your inspector if the wiring has been updated.

INSPECT THE ROOF

Is there weather damage? When was it installed?

IS THE HOUSE WELL INSULATED?

Are the windows, walls and doors insulated? Issues in any of these places don’t have to be a deal breaker, but they definitely should be part of your evaluation. Some can be expensive to fix and too many issues should probably be a red flag that the house will be expensive to own.

To learn more about the home buying process, click the button below to download our First Time Home Buyer's Guide. 

Download First Time Home Buyer's Guide E-book



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