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What to look for while searching for your home - New York State Home Inspections

What to look for while searching for your home

Look at the home as a whole – Before you enter the home, take a step back and look at the property as a whole. Does it look like its tipping or leaning, are there large dangerous trees or limbs hanging over the home? Does the electrical line concern you? Does anything jump out at you either problematic or beautiful? Does the roof or house cover appear aged or damaged? These items can be costly to fix.

Don’t be misled by a freshly painted surface – When you enter your prospective home, focus on things out of place. A freshly painted wall or upscale décor may be pleasant to look at but they can also distract you from what you should be looking at. The foundation is what holds the home up and should be standing long after the paint has started chipping away.

Take note of what the weather is like and your indoor temperature – When you’re viewing a potential home it’s important to be aware of your surroundings. It’s very easy to miss the details when you are overwhelmed with the decision at hand. keep in mind: if it is 40 degrees outside and it feels the same inside you may have a heating issue. Heating and cooling systems are expensive to fix and replace, and inefficient ones can increase your utility bill or decrease its own lifespan. Make sure the furnace is up to date and maintained at least annually.

You make a list of must haves, decide on your deal breakers before you view a home – Remember aesthetic items can always be changed, like counter tops paint color, and flooring type. Think about the purpose of your home and the requirements for your lifestyle, like storage for all of your belongings, a garage or a big backyard for entertainment. You may also want a home with an extra bedroom if you’re planning on expanding your family or entertaining guests.

Know what type of plumbing is there – Be sure to know what kind of plumbing is used in your home. Do you have city/town water or a private well? Knowing these things helps you to identify if you NEED to have the water tested or if you’d like to. Check
underneath the sink and examine those pipes do they leak when water is running? Check for leaks, water damage, and mold sound like a no brainers but it is commonly missed by home owners and sometimes even an inspector.

Do your due diligence on the area you are looking to purchase – Do your research ask yourself is this a safe area? If you have children, is it a quality school district? If there are fences, have they been built and positioned properly on the correct property? Are you looking in an area with elevated radon? Is the potential home in a flood zone? It’s a lot of information to take in. When you buy a house it’s possibly the biggest purchase you will ever make. Carefully do your homework.

Use the senses you have, smell – Do you smell sewage outside? This may indicate a failing septic system. If you smell gas this is when you leave because you are in potential danger. Do you think you smell mildew? This is just a polite way to say mold. If there’s mold, there’s water collecting somewhere in that area. Also worth noting: pet odors, cigarettes, and mildew all are difficult smells to get rid of. Not only is mold unsightly and foul-smelling, but it can also cause health problems. If you live with a baby, an elderly person, or someone with asthma, you’ll want to be especially careful before moving in with mold.

Insulation is a good investment – You want your home to be comfortable. The attic may not seem like a place of interest but it is a very telling area in the home. It’s where you can see the framing, insulation, electrical, etc. Don’t skip seeing an area just because it isn’t living space. Proper insulation can reduce heating and cooling costs and keep you comfortable in summer and winter.

Again use your senses, touch – I mean that literally. Be sure to check every faucet and light switch, open every window and door, flush the toilets, even taste the water. Remember this is going to be your home if you choose so. Buying a home is a big step
probably the biggest and you need to know how everything works firsthand. That way, you can address problem areas and see if there’s a cost-effective solution.

Don’t skip the home inspection – There’s only so much you can do with your own 5 senses. You’ll also want to enlist a professional to ensure the foundation is solid and the wiring is safe. Home inspectors can even check for lead paint, radon levels, bacteria in water and more. Every house old or new construction has some sort of flaw. It may be minor and never noticed or it could be catastrophic. Most things will be obvious to you, and the vast majority will be fixable, but it’s best to know before you buy. It can allow you to try to negotiate a lower price, but it will also prepare and budget for any necessary repair costs.