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Tips For Organized House Hunting

Finding the right house can take some time and patience, but being prepared takes a lot of the anxiety out of the equation. After you have decided on a realtor, worked through what your needs and wants for your new home are, established a budget and been prequalified for a loan, you are ready to start the hunt in earnest.

When you and your realtor visit prospective homes, be sure that you allow plenty of time to take a thorough look at each home you are considering. Despite seller disclosures and inspections you’ll have done if you enter into contract, it is smart to make an initial assessment of the general condition of the home. Walk through the home to get a feel for it, then start over and look at it through an inspector's eyes.  Armed with this checklist, along with your list of must-haves and wants, you’ll be in good shape to find your dream home!

Interior:

  • Look high and low. Check the floors, ceilings, walls, trim, windows, and even under the sinks.
  • Take time in each room to notice how much natural light there is.
  • Kitchens and bathrooms have their own set of issues. Check for stains, leaks, mold or mildew. Do sinks drain properly? Are exhaust fans noisy? How well do toilets flush?
  • Open and close doors. Do they close properly? Do the latches and locks work?
  • Know how much storage space you’ll need. Is there enough cupboard space? Is the master closet large enough? Is there extra storage space in the attic or basement?
  • Check out the systems. Are the heating and AC run on gas or electricity? Does the home have a security system?

Exterior:

  • You can do a quick check of the roof from the ground. While you’ll probably want a roof inspection if you get serious about the house, you can check for a sagging roofline or anything that doesn’t look right from ground level.
  • Take a look at the siding. Is the paint in good condition? Look for signs of bug infestation or splitting/cracking siding.
  • Check out the hardscape. Look for any visible signs of damage in the foundation, driveway, patio and pool.
  • If there is a wood deck, make sure it is stable and in good condition.
  • Are the exterior doors in good shape?
  • Don’t forget the garage. Is it big enough for your needs? Do the garage doors function? Are the garage doors tall enough for your vehicles?
  • Is the landscaping in good shape? Do the shrubs and trees look healthy? Is the lawn in good shape.

Some other things you might want to consider:

  • What is the neighborhood like? Visit it at different times of day to get a feel for the personality of area. Is it walkable, kid friendly, pet friendly? What is the traffic like? Is there a homeowner’s association? If so, what are the dues?
  • Is cell phone coverage good?
  • What choices will you have for phone, Internet, and TV services?
  • What are the current owners paying for utilities?
  • If you are looking at a condo, take some time to get a feel for the association and understand exactly what your responsibilities are vs. what the association manages.
  • If the house has been on the market for a while, don’t automatically assume that there is something wrong with it. Ask your realtor to look into it. It might be an opportunity for a good deal.

Hopefully these tips will help you get started on the house hunting part of your adventure. While nothing can take the place of professional inspections, having an idea of what you are looking for can help narrow the field.

Whether you are in the market for an Eichler home or something a little more traditional, I can help. Please give me a call at 415-EICHLER or get in touch with us using our web based contact page.

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