Buying a new house can be an exciting, yet stressful event. There are lots of things to consider when buying a home, and that can seem overwhelming – especially for first-time home buyers. Everyone wants to find the perfect fit and when you think you’ve found that fit it’s tempting to close the deal as soon as possible. First-time home buyers need to be especially careful to look for features that may need additional work or repair before buying to avoid getting caught up in what could be a money pit.
Look at the roof. Before you even step into the home you’re considering, take a careful look at the roof. Is there any damage? Does the roof look like it’s caving in? Does it have any holes? Roof damage is costly to fix, so purchasing a home with a damaged roof is ill-advised. Not only that but having a new roof or a roof that is made of sturdy materials can actually save you money in the long run. A newer roof can mean a lower homeowners insurance rate, and sturdier roofs withstand hail and wind better – meaning they will last longer!
Don’t get distracted by looks. While a fresh coat of paint and nice décor can dress up anything, it doesn’t make up for poor structure. Check out how well the appliances have aged, if there are any loose wires, or if the foundation isn’t great. These are the things that matter in the long run.
Heating and cooling needs. Heating and cooling systems are expensive to repair or replace, and systems that don’t work efficiently can drain your wallet, too. Make sure your furnace and AC units are up to date and in good condition.
Decide on deal breakers. Think about what you hope to use your home for. Think about your lifestyle and what you need in your home to match that lifestyle. Do you need space to store a lot of books, or a backyard to host a regular cookouts in? Do you need spare bedrooms for future children or frequent guests? Once you know your ‘must haves’, you can more easily decide if that home will make the cut.
Check out the plumbing. Don’t just look at the surface of things. In the kitchen and bathroom, stoop to look at the piping and check its condition. Look for leaks, water damage, and mold. Not only is plumbing damage yet another cost you’ll have to pay to fix, but mold can lead to health issues.
The land surrounding. You don’t need to look at just the house itself, but the land it’s on. Is the area prone to flooding or wildfires? Is your driveway shared with a neighbor? Are the fences in the area built and positioned properly? The lot the home sits on is usually included in the sale of the home so it’s just as important to walk around and inspect the grounds and surrounding structures.
Sniff around. This may seem odd – but checking the smell around your home is important as well. Smelling gas, mildew, cigarettes, or pet odors can all point to things that need to be addressed. In older homes, sometimes sewage systems get clogged or damaged – leading to a bad sewage smell. Fortunately, some plumbing companies can find and fix that damage by sending a camera down the pipes to detect the damage.
Make sure the home is well-insulated. Ensuring your home is properly insulated will save you on heating and cooling costs through the year and make sure you and your family are comfortable. Double-paned windows have the dual benefits of insulation and sound proofing your home from outside noise.
Be hands-on. Before you commit to buying, get your hands on everything. Turn faucets on and off, flick the light switches, test windows and doors, flush the toilets, and taste the water. You need to know how everything works, and this gives you the firsthand experience you need. It will also be helpful for planning repairs.
Have a home inspection done. There’s only so much you can look during a tour of a home. Hiring a professional will show you things you couldn’t check yourself – like if the foundation and wiring is up to code, if there’s lead in the paint, or if you have unwelcome guests in the form of pests and and other vermin.
If you have more questions about the particulars of home buying, you can rely on Stonebridge Mortgage Group to help guide you through the home buying process. We help get you pre-approved for a mortgage and assist with real estate loans and other mortgage solutions — both residential and commercial. We serve the greater Portland area and are located in Gresham, Oregon.