I see lots of homes each week as part of my job. There are homes that are vacant, homes that are lived in, and homes that are flipped. Each home has its strengths and weaknesses, and those weaknesses can bring some real problems. My job as your realtor is to help you look out for and avoid those costly issues:
Flooding doesn’t necessarily come only with the rainy season. Keep your eyes open for evidence of past flooding by checking for wet areas under the kitchen sink, in or around the refrigerator hookup, anywhere in the utility room, including around the water heater, and any patched areas of the ceiling that show mismatched paint or texture. Any of these could indicate a leaking pipe, HVAC issues, roofing issues and mold. Fresh paint anywhere in the basement can be great or it can be hiding a pre-existing water issue.
Sniff for mold. How does your throat feel when you are in the basement? That funny pressure in your sinuses may be telling you that there is mold in the house.
Even if the Seller has addressed these concerns with you verbally or written on the Seller’s Disclosure Notice, it is in your best interest to hire an independent contractor to check these areas thoroughly.
Frequently, sellers update their homes just before they put them on the market. One of the easiest (and most profitable) updates is a ‘new’ kitchen. Sometimes this means taking the room down to the studs for total replacement, but sometimes it just means updating the countertops and spreading some paint around.
One of the easiest things to look for is shoddy work done with the grout and tiling of backsplash. This might mean uneven lines at the tile edge or crooked outlets and faceplates. Others might include uneven cabinet doors that were never leveled or hinges that don’t close all the way.
You also want to watch out for cabinet “flow”. The functionality of the kitchen will make or break the room, and you want to ensure not only that the cabinets open and close without hitting other elements in the room, but that they are hung at a proper height.
People love hardwood floors. Wood floors open up a room, warm a space and make a home feel updated. But some sellers throw down new floors just before moving but they are not interested in sinking top dollar into upgraded flooring, and will oftentimes use laminate or vinyl flooring instead – a manufactured product that costs less per square foot.
When you encounter new floors, you want to check them carefully to see if they are wobbly or warped. Do they “bounce” when pressure is applied? Are tiles square with the room, or cut evenly? Look for baseboards to be over the flooring, not “there before” the flooring was done, which will leave you with a dust bunny nightmare in crooks and crannies that are impossible to maintain. And transition pieces between rooms and at doors can speak volumes about the owner’s attention to detail.
Is it Square?
It’s amazing how people can accommodate themselves to crazy schemes – but you don’t have to do the same thing. Closet rods too close to the wall mean you can’t hang a full sized hanger. Doors that won’t latch easily mean you’ll hear slams until the issue is resolved. Or a modern glass framed shower door that hits the toilet when the door is opened, with only a foot width to enter and exit. How is the functionality of the home, and does it feel solid?
Are the floors level? Is there a bump in the floors. Do you think that the front half of the house has settled in a different direction from the back of the house?
As your representative, I take it upon myself to be on the lookout for these and more. Buying a house can be emotional, and your goal is to find the home that “feels” right and offers the lifestyle you want. My goal is to ensure that that lifestyle isn’t compromised by poor handiwork and cheap upgrades that could cost you more to cure in the long run.
Attention to detail is a reflection of how a home has been taken care of. If there are visible issues with home, or items that could be chalked up to blatant negligence, it gives me concern about the unseen components – ductwork, insulation and electrical wiring. When buying a product, you don’t want something that is used and abused. You deserve a home that works as well as it looks.
If you want to have a Realtor on your side during the home search process you definitely should contact the Lise Howe Group at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 240-401-5577