Unless you’re a real estate expert, there are plenty of issues that can sneak up on new homebuyers. This can range from unexpected and out-of-sight defects within the home, to maintenance costs that could surprise you a few months after the purchase. Being aware of common pitfalls that exist when buying a home can better prepare you for making one of the most important decisions of your life, so take a look below to see our list of things to look out for when buying a home!
1. Check the Bathrooms – A good practice to get into when viewing a home is to inspect the bathrooms thoroughly. Look for things like mould and water stains – these issues can be taken care of, but the cost of getting them repaired professionally can be an unwelcome surprise. And if mould has formed there already, there is always a risk that a structural issue is causing it, and will cause it again.
2. Consider the Storage Space – Depending on how many belongings you have, you may need quite a bit of storage space in the home. When initially viewing a home storage space is often overlooked, so make sure there is enough of it to avoid paying for external space to store your things.
3. Feel Around for Drafts – A drafty house is a costly house to heat, so feeling around windows, vents and exterior doors is a good way to get an idea of what winters may feel like if the cold air was blowing in. Newer windows (ENERGY STAR® in particular) are generally great at preventing drafts, but if drafts do exist, you may find yourself having to invest in a window kit or caulking to seal up those cracks.
4. Ask About the Roof – Having a roof over your head is important, but not all roofs are created equal. A well-built, well-maintained roof can last for up to 30 years, whereas an old or shoddy roof can mean a hefty investment shortly after purchasing a new home. New homebuyers can often fall in love with the idea of a “fixer-upper”, but be weary of homes with old roofs – they can be very difficult and expensive to repair. Make sure to ask how old the roof is on any home you’re considering buying.
5. Know the Area – Moving into a home can be exciting, but the excitement might quickly wear off when you hear your neighbours’ rowdy house-parties every Friday night, or that low-flying plane passing over and waking you up at 5:00 AM every morning. It’s also useful to know about the location of nearby convenience stores – a quick walk to pick up basic household items is much more convenient than having to drive!
6. What’s Included? – Does the home come with appliances? If so, are the appliances new and energy efficient or are they old energy-eaters? Initially, you may feel great about not having to invest in appliances for your new home, but consider the fact that older, non-efficient appliances can drive your power bill through the roof and you may not find yourself feeling great for long. Don’t be afraid to ask for the details regarding appliances included in the deal.
7. Insulation is Key – The benefits to having properly installed quality insulation are immense. Make sure to probe the person you’re having a walkthrough with for details about the insulation in the home. A well insulated home can save you money, help to soundproof your home, and keep you cozy in the winter months.
And perhaps the most important tip of all: get an inspection. This list may have taught you a few things you didn’t know, but it isn’t exhaustive, so getting a home inspection before you buy is the best way to make sure the home you’re looking to buy is up to snuff. Some defects in the home may be obvious to you as you go on the walkthrough, but others are hidden to the untrained eye. Getting a professional inspection is part of your due diligence when making a purchase as important as a new home.