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what to look for when touring a house

What to Look for When Touring a House: Essential Checklist

As a first time homebuyer it’s wise to learn what to look for when touring a house. Key to a successful house search is having a clear idea of what you’re looking for. Once you’re out viewing properties, it’s important to thoroughly examine each one. Don’t hesitate to scrutinize every feature and neighborhood it’s your right as a potential buyer.

Touring a house is not just a casual stroll through a property; it’s an opportunity to assess if a house truly fits your needs and lifestyle. To make the most of your home tours, here’s a comprehensive guide on what to look for, especially if you’re a first-time home buyer.

Key Takeaways

  • Approach home tours with a clear understanding of your requirements.
  • Inspect each property thoroughly and feel free to assess every detail.
  • Ask comprehensive questions throughout the home buying process to ensure clarity.

Touring a House: Your Options

Open House, Private and Virtual Tours

  • Open House: A relaxed, scheduled event where multiple interested parties can view a property for sale.
    • Pros: Casual browsing, open invitation, usually hosted on weekends.
    • Cons: Less detailed exploration due to the collective format.
  • Private Home Tour: An exclusive showing arranged by your a real estate agent.
    • Pros: In-depth assessment, direct interaction with the agent, detailed inspection potential.
    • Cons: Requires scheduling, often needing a buyer’s agent.
  • Virtual Tour: Your realtor tours the home on your behalf, typically through a Facetime phone call or personal video.

Recommended Read: Pre-qualification v.s. Pre-approva

What To Look For When Touring a House

Discover The Neighborhood

  • Parking: Something that is often overlooked is the parking, so it is wise to ask how the parking looks like during the week.
  • Loud neighbors: Is the neighborhood safe and quite? is there heavy traffic where your kids will play?
  • Smells: Let you senses take over, is there odd smells in the area, what’s causing those smells?

Structural Integrity

  • Foundation: Look for cracks or signs of shifting.
  • Roof Condition: Check for missing shingles or signs of damage.
  • Walls and Ceilings: Look for cracks, water stains, or uneven surfaces.

Mechanical Systems

  • Heating and Cooling: Test the HVAC system and inquire about its age and maintenance.
  • Plumbing: Check for leaks, water pressure, and the age of plumbing fixtures.
  • Electrical: Inspect outlets, switches, and the electrical panel.
  • Water Heater: How old and has it been maintained.

Exterior Features

  • Landscaping: Assess the condition of the yard, trees, and any potential drainage issues.
  • Windows and Doors: Ensure they open and close smoothly and check for drafts.
  • Fencing: Make sure fencing is secured and structurally sound.

Interior Details

  • Kitchen: Look at the condition of appliances, cabinets, and countertops.
  • Bathrooms: Check for leaks, water damage, and the condition of fixtures.
  • Storage Space: Assess closets and storage areas for adequacy.

Questions to Ask When Touring A House

During the tour, don’t hesitate to ask the listing agent or seller relevant questions, here are some common questions to ask when you are touring a house:

  1. How old is the roof, HVAC system, and other major components?
  2. Are there any known issues with the property, such as past water damage or structural problems?
  3. What are the average utility costs for this home, including heating, cooling, and electricity?
  4. Why are the sellers moving from the home?
  5. How is the neighborhood and noise level?
  6. Are there any parking enforcements for visiting guest?
  7. How old is the water heater and has it been flushed recently?

Frequently Asked Questions

What should first-time home buyers prioritize during a house tour?

First-time buyers should focus on the home’s condition, ensuring it meets their needs in terms of size, location, and potential for future growth.

How can I ensure I’m not missing any important details during a home tour?

Using a comprehensive checklist, like the one provided here, can help you stay organized and cover all essential aspects of the property.

What are some red flags to watch out for during a house tour?

Watch out for signs of water damage, structural issues, outdated mechanical systems, and poorly maintained exteriors.


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