What to Look at When Touring Homes for Sale

Touring homes to find the right one for your needs at the right price can be one of the most challenging steps to buy a house. If you’re a first-time buyer, it’s also one of the most exciting while being stressful at the same time.

As purchasing a home is one of the biggest financial commitments you’re likely to make, you’ll want to make the best decision possible. That means knowing what to look for as you tour each house. The saying “never judge a book by its cover” applies to home-buying too. It’s easy to fall in love with a home based on its looks or location, but it’s vital to go well beyond. Check homes for sale in West Chester PA to get ideas for different homes and their prices.

Once you’ve decided “this is it,” you’ll want to schedule a follow-up tour for a closer look. If there’s any damage or repairs that need to be made, it could cause big problems in the future. Now is the time to play investigator. Bring a camera and be ready to take notes as you go through this essential checklist.

Obvious Signs of Damage

When you first walk through a home, you might fall in love with the kitchen or a stunning master bath with a whirlpool tub. Those features can take your eyes away from problems like cracks in the walls, floors, windows, or fixtures. This time, you’ll want to give it a thorough inspection, looking for anything that could mean repairs or replacements in the near future. Cracks in the floors, for example, could even be a sign of a sinking foundation.

Look closely for stains on the floors,

damage, excess moisture, or mold. Rotting wood is a bad sign but can easily be missed. One way to check is to touch the window frames. If they feel soft or brittle, that’s a problem.

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Check for More Subtle Signs

Some things stand out like a sore thumb, but other issues may not be so obvious. Take time to sit in each room, looking around and taking note of how you feel. Are you comfortable? Is the space dark or bright? 

Mold may be present if you notice an odd odor, like a damp, musty smell. As home improvement television host Bob Vila notes, it’s essential to check around sinks, the basement, around crawl spaces and windows. Not only is mold a health concern, but it could indicate leaks and other problems. 

The Age of the Home

Just like people, being older doesn’t necessarily mean there are age-related problems. But it’s worth taking a closer look as it could have been built with materials that are now considered hazardous. When touring an older home, ask if it still has lead paint or asbestos insulation. You’ll also want to find out about the quality of the plumbing and electrical systems.

It’s possible that the current or a previous owner has already replaced any hazardous materials and updated the plumbing and the electrical. But with an older home, it’s a good idea to ask an expert to properly evaluate the quality of its features and the costs associated with replacing any that could present a problem.

The Neighbors

Your direct neighbors and the neighborhood itself are key factors in assessing whether the home is for you. Remember, it’s not just how nice the people are, but the condition of their home and property. A home that’s falling apart or has a yard overgrown with weeds next door will affect the value. If there are any structures or trees on a neighbor’s property that could pose a threat, that can be a problem too.

Unless you’re in a big city where noise is unavoidable, peace and quiet can significantly contribute to your quality of life. Visit the neighborhood at various times of the day to assess the sounds. Are their late-night parties with loud music, for example?