When searching for a house to purchase, be careful not to fall too fast for the home that looks like “the one.” Quite often, heavily edited pictures are the first thing a person sees when home searching online for what’s available in his or her desired area. These pictures are usually accompanied by a short blurb that explains how amazing the home is or how it could be customized to perfection for whoever the buyer is after doing some work on it.
It’s essential to go with a game plan if a property wows enough to visit in-person. Arrive with questions for the seller’s agent and don’t be afraid to ask more during the tour. Give each room a detailed inspection. Write down notes of both the pros and the cons of the property. The notes will come in handy later for reference. If an offer is made, those notes of the negatives in the property could also be used as leverage in the negotiation process. The following things may not come first to mind, but are important for a prospective buyer nonetheless.
Outside of the mortgage payment, other monthly expenses associated with homeownership can drain bank accounts fast. The costs of utilities and yard maintenance are too often not considered.
On resales, some sellers may disclose the monthly utility bills for buyers to know what to expect. While utility bills may not be freely handed out, they can always be requested. Look for ways the property is saving on utility bills and look for ways where the property can save even more. In example, solar panels, drought-resistant landscaping and high-efficiency appliances and toilets can save a bundle.
A lot of older homes have two-prong electrical outlets. The problem with that is a lot of appliances and entertainment devices these days require a three-prong outlet. It would be extremely annoying to buy a house, move in, go to plug in the TV and realize it’s not possible.
Updating from two-prong outlets throughout a home can prove costly. Along that note, the entire electrical panel may need to be replaced to be able to accommodate things like electric-car charging.
Garages have many uses other than just where to park the cars. They can be used for storage, a “man cave,” a gym, a laundry room or a combination of all of those. They’re also sometimes overlooked during the home tour. Give the garage the same attention as the rest of the home. Think of how personal belongings would fit, if they’d fit at all.
A garage that’s too narrow may lead to door dings and difficulty getting in and out of vehicles. A garage with rafters gives more storage space. Some older properties have garages and driveway gates that need to be manually opened and closed, which are hassles. A driveway in front of the garage may be long enough to park the cars and leave more space in the garage for other uses. Those are just a few things to consider when checking out a garage.