Buying a New Home? Use These 9 Tips to Avoid Unexpected Surprises

Buying a new home can be an exciting experience. You can start afresh, and if you're buying your first home, you'll finally have that place of your own. But relocating can have its ups and downs, and sometimes, new homes can hold unexpected surprises.

To minimize the number of unpleasant developments, be sure to use the following nine tips when looking at a potential new home.

1. Don't Be Fooled By the Décor

As a buyer, it can be difficult to see past stylish furniture and appealing artwork. When a home is dressed its best, it can distract you from some of the underlying issues, and nice furnishings can show you just how attractive the home can be. Remember the home will be empty when you arrive, so you'll want to check for damage or unattractive features in the floorplan, regardless of what it currently looks like.

On the other hand, if you don't like the home's current decor, you may quickly dismiss the house. The furnishings and wall decorations can easily be changed, so focus on the bones of the home before you make a final decision. You can always repaint the walls when you move in.

2. Look at the Plumbing

You may not be able to check all of the plumbing, but you can look under sinks and in bathrooms. Check for any leaks, mold, mildew, or dampness, and look for any water stains. Also, look for signs of water damage around the house, as that could indicate plumbing problems.

3. Pay Attention to Any Foul Smells

If the home smells musty or like mildew, you may have plumbing or other issues on your hands. And if you smell wet dog or the unmistakable scent of pet urine, you may have to invest a little to get rid of it. Some pet smells can seep into the pads of the carpet or the wood underneath, so a simple carpet clean may not always do the trick.

4. Check the Roof

Replacing roof shingles or other materials can be an expensive and extensive investment. Be sure to check the roof to ensure it's in decent condition before you buy. Look for curled, damaged, or missing shingles, and ask the current homeowner when it was last maintained.

5. Examine the Electrical Work

When you move into a new home, the last thing you want to do is rewire the whole house. Take a look at the fuse board. If it looks old, it most likely is and may need to be replaced soon. In the house, if you see switches for lighting or other electrical features, test them to ensure everything works properly.

6. Listen for Excessive Noise

If you're fond of quiet and peace, be sure you listen for any disruptive or distracting noises. Listen carefully to see if you can easily hear your neighbors or any activity outside; not all houses are perfectly soundproof.

You may also want to look for any noisy areas or establishments around the house. Freeways, airports, and train tracks can all produce unwanted noise, depending on how close you are to each.

7. Take a Peek at the Heating and Cooling Systems

If you get the chance, look at the heating and cooling systems. Most of the time, if they look outdated, then they probably are and could need replacement. You may also want to listen for any odd or concerning noises, such as clanking or grinding in the outdoor air conditioning unit. And don't be afraid to ask the current owners about how old the cooling and heating systems are.

8. Check for Insulation

Proper insulation is imperative for an efficient, comfortable home. Without it, winters would be chilly, and summers would be unbearable. So, make sure the attic, heating ducts, and pipes are adequately insulated, and ask about any missing or insufficient insulation.

You'll also want to ensure the home has double-paned windows to keep cool or warm air inside.

9. Look at the Entire Property

While the interior of your home is very important, it's best not to neglect the outdoors. Be sure the driveway is large enough for your liking and that the front door is conveniently placed. Are there any areas that may be hazardous for your children or pets? Is the house nicely positioned on a quiet street? Make sure you're satisfied with the exterior property and that there aren't any potential issues.

 

When touring a home, it's important to look at everything. Touch what you can, and check hidden areas for problems. When you've narrowed down your choices, hire a professional inspector to take a look at the home. They can check for hazards or necessary repairs so you'll be more informed when you decide to buy or move along.

If you're looking for a new home, having a realtor on your side can also be advantageous. They can provide detailed information about the home, and they can point out some of the better features. When you're searching for a new residence in Chester County, turn to the Kathy Gagnon Team for help. We can help you find your next home and contact homeowners and realtors on your behalf.

Kathy Gagnon
Kathy Gagnon
Realtor