Buying A House: Viewing Potential Properties With A Critical Eye

If you're in the market for a new home, you will spend some time viewing different houses for sale to decide which house is the best fit for you. Unfortunately, sometimes people (especially first-time buyers) miss some critical features in homes they view and only find out after the sale that the home isn't as great a fit as they thought. Here's your guide to viewing properties for sale with a critical eye. 

Ignore the Cosmetics, and Look at the Unchangeables

When you first step into a home, you see the cosmetic features it offers. There might be ugly tile in the entryway, a too-bright color on the wall, and dated cabinets in the kitchen. However, too many buyers turn away from good homes because of cosmetic features, choosing a house that shows well but is actually less suited for their needs.

Instead of judging based on just appearance, look at unchangeable features or things that are very costly to alter. For example, the kitchen cabinets might be a bad color, but the counter space and pantry storage might be optimal. Your assessment should include things like the size of bedrooms, the number of closets, the layout of plumbing and windows, the useability of the kitchen, and whether the dining room can accommodate a table large enough for your family. Don't let sparkly cosmetic finishes make the choice for you. 

Look at Conditions of Seldom-Used or -Seen Features

When viewing potential properties, don't forget to look at features that go beyond the number of bedrooms or the cabinets in the kitchen. Check the utility room to see the age and condition of the furnace. Look outside to check the condition of the shingles on the roof and to see if the gutters are in good condition. Look for depressions around the foundation that can indicate poor soil drainage. Check the air conditioning compressor to see if it is clean. Turn on the heat, the air conditioning, and other systems to make sure they work. Run the water to check for good water pressure. 

Review Room Specifics Like Lighting and Outlets

Look up to see how a room is lit, especially if you are viewing a home during the day. Nighttime is a different story for lighting, and you need to make sure there is enough — if there isn't, increased lighting might have to be in your home improvement budget. Count outlets in each room, especially in high-use rooms like home office areas or kitchens. 

Keep these things in mind as you look at properties for sale