Helpful Buying Tips

Your home isn’t just a place to live. It is probably the biggest and most important investment you will ever make.

To help you we have provided a helpful list of common things to look at before you consider purchasing. Protect that investment and ensure you are buying a safe, comfortable place for your family to call home. We strongly recommend hiring a professional home inspector to further assist in this. The following list will assist you in making sure you won’t end up having to pay for a lot of expensive repairs:

Brickwork and Chimney — look at the brickwork on the outside of the chimney. If it is chipping, crumbling or, turning to powder, or if the mortar is starting to fall apart, it could be a sign of further issues like water and could be an expensive fix.

Decks and Porches — look for signs of rotting wood, even under a fresh coat of paint. Soft spots or places where the wood is splintered could be a sign of more widespread damage. Double-check local building codes for permits if required.

Electrical System — if you are buying an older home, find out what type of electrical wiring was used if the electrical panel has been upgraded. A 60 amp panel has probably not been upgraded, and may not be enough to meet the electricity needs of your family. It may not meet the requirements of local building codes or home insurance requirements. Consult with a certified electrician or qualified home inspector if you are uncertain.

Floors — what shape are the floors in? If the floors are hardwood, do they need to be sanded and refinished? Refinishing isn’t very expensive, but it is easier if done before you move in, while the rooms are still empty. Are their gaps in the flooring, unevenness or soft spots? Roll a marble to see is an easy trick. Consult your home inspector if you have any concerns.

Heating — find out how old the furnace is, and if it was installed with a permit. Look to see when the last time it was cleaned and maintained. Is the furnace owned or leased? Your real estate agent can often times help with these questions.

Insulation — insulation keeps your house warm in the winter and cool in the summer. If the house has older plaster walls, it probably has little or no insulation. Do you see icicles hanging outside, this could be a sign of heat loss or insulation issue. Hiring an insulation contractor to blow extra insulation behind the walls can be expensive, but it will save you money on your heating bills in the long run. Consult your home inspector and ask questions when checking out the attic and other parts of the home.

Parking — find out where you can park and how many parking spaces come with a property especially when purchasing a condominium. Determine if the parking is titled or assigned when purchasing there is a big difference. Your real estate agent can help with these questions.

Plumbing — the plumbing system most commonly are copper pipes with copper soldering or plastic PEX piping. Any time you come across either lead or Polybutylene piping it is best to consult with a professional plumber or qualified home inspector to discuss and have these inspected. They may require upgrading or not meet the home insurance company's standards.

Roof — is the roof in good condition? A roof is usually good for 20 to 25 years. Some signs that you may need to replace or repair the roof include leaks or water stains near the chimney and on the ceiling of the top floor inside the home. Curling shingles, ice build-up or icicles are other signs to look out for. Make sure gutters and downspouts are not clogged and are running away from the home.

Sewage and drains — hire a qualified inspector to find out if the sewer system and drains are working properly by completing a scope. This is especially important in older areas or neighborhoods with big trees. You should also find out if the sewage service has been upgraded recently. This could be a costly fix.

Windows — if you are looking at an older home that has just single panes of glass in the windows, you may need to upgrade to a new set of windows before you move in.

Before buying any home it is always a good idea to hire a professional home inspector to inspect the home before you buy. A home inspection will give you a complete understanding of the condition of the home. Check with qualified professionals for any concerns brought up in an inspection also. This is a critical stage in the home purchase and it is important you have the right people looking out for your best interest. Hiring a professional real estate agent is important to ensure your best interests are protected and covered. To learn more, please schedule a FREE home buying consultation.