A First Time Homebuyer's Guide to Visiting a Potential House

Buying a house isn’t something they teach you about in school, it’s something you have to figure out for yourself – which is why sharing wisdom about the process can be so valuable.

There are many things to think about when you go to check out an intriguing place, and they aren’t all 100% intuitive. Knowing the right things to look for and the right questions to ask requires a little preparation up front.

For example, you might look past a messy owner’s failure to spring clean to a high standard, and assume instead that you will just clean it to your own levels once you move in. Of course, that’s inevitable: but rather than look past the mess you should take it as a warning sign that the present owner might not take good care of the place. It’s all the more reason to be more vigilant about other little clues.

One such clue is to find that the floor around the toilet is soft. This can indicate a leak that has not been appropriately dealt with. A leaking toilet can lead to rotting floorboards, and if it’s been going on for a long time there may be a lot of work that needs doing to put it right. 

Another clue can be rust on the furnace or HVAC. Again, these are indicators that the appliances have not been properly taken care of. You should ask for a full service history of any appliance that you don’t intend to replace – and if it looks like it needs some work, insist it is done before you sign anything (or ask for the cost to be knocked off the house price).

Try knocking on the doors of the house as you walk around it, too. Hollow doors are a cheap solution and are likely to get broken easily; another unexpected cost of which you should be aware. Hollow doors are likely to be paired with plywood floors, which are similarly cheap and similarly vulnerable. Have a look under the carpets to make sure there are decent hardwood floorboards in place, and if not, factor it into your final decision.

Musty, earthy smells are not just a sign that the owner is not the hottest housekeeper; they can indicate mold (a form of fungus) in the house. This can be difficult to get rid of, and can irritate allergies or asthma as well as just being plain unpleasant. 

The guide below explains what to look for when viewing a house. It will certainty be a useful resource to have if you’re not entirely sure what you’re doing. Forewarned is forearmed in this game: do your homework, and you’re sure to avoid any nasty surprises once you’ve paid up and moved in!

Image source: Homes.com

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